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Muse: Arena-Sized Entropy On 'The 2nd Law'

Muse's Matthew Bellamy includes the heartbeat of his son in utero on the song, "Follow Me." (AFP/Getty Images)

Known for its huge performances, the British band Muse has twice sold out London's Wembley Stadium — the second largest stadium in Europe. Muse has sold more than 15 million records worldwide to date, and was even chosen to write the official song for the 2012 London Olympics, called "Survival." The track is featured on Muse's new album, The 2nd Law, which is out now.

Muse straddles several styles of music, ranging from theatrical rock and pop to dance.

"We've kind of experimented with three quite different genres," says Matt Bellamy, the group's lead singer, guitarist and keyboardist. "Mainly, classic rock sounds, but also electro-pop sounds and also orchestral music. And I feel like this album is really the first album that kind of has those three distinct styles coexisting at once."

Bellamy says he's a bit of a science nerd: He's the one who came up with the title The 2nd Law, after the second law of thermodynamics. He's taken with the idea of entropy, or the tendency toward increasing disorder.

"I'm a bit of a geek," he says. "I read a lot of the Popular Science magazines and that sort of stuff. I just feel like music should reflect the kind of thing you're interested in, so I put in some of that stuff. And there's some more personal songs, as well."

Here, Bellamy talks to NPR's David Greene about the group's newest project and breaks down "Follow Me," which features his son's heartbeat in utero.

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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're hearing music from the British band Muse. Muse is just three people but it's known for huge performances. The band has sold more than 15 million records worldwide and sold out London's 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium twice. More recently, Muse wrote the official song for the 2012 London Olympics, "Survival."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SURVIVAL")

MUSE: (Singing) Win, life's race, that I'm gonna win, yes, I'm gonna win...

INSKEEP: That same song is also on Muse's new album now out. It features music ranging from dance tunes to theatrical pop.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

MUSE: (Singing) I, I can't get these memories out of my mind...

INSKEEP: The lead singer, guitarist and keyboardist is Matt Bellamy.

MATT BELLAMY: We've kind of experimented with three quite different genres, I'd say - mainly classic rock sounds but also electro-pop sounds and also orchestral music. And I kind of feel like this album is the first album that really has those three distinct styles kind of coexisting at once.

INSKEEP: Coexisting - think of that mixture as a kind of science experiment because Bellamy found inspiration in science. He titled the album "The Second Law," after the second law of thermodynamics. And he's taken with the idea of entropy or the tendency toward increasing disorder.

BELLAMY: I'm a bit of a - you know, bit of a geek, you know, whatever. I'm sort of into, like, I read like all these popular science magazines. I'm into all that kind of stuff. You know, the music, you know, I just feel like music should reflect the kind of things you're interested in. So you know, I put in some of that stuff. And obviously that's - on this album there's some more personal songs as well.

INSKEEP: As personal as you could ever want, maybe more. This song began with a recording of Matt Bellamy's son in utero.

BELLAMY: I remember the first time I heard the sound of the heartbeat just before he was born. I happened to have my iPhone on me and I recorded it just on the little voice memo thing, you know. A couple of months later I sort of put it into the studio setup and started writing this orchestration around it and ended up just building up a song kind of around this tempo, his heartbeat tempo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

MUSE: (Singing) (Unintelligible) I'll keep you safe...

INSKEEP: We do not know if Mr. Bellamy's son will receive royalties for the song, but we do know he was a sort of muse for Muse. Its new album, "The Second Law," is out now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

MUSE: (Singing) (Unintelligible) I won't let them hurt, hurt you...

INSKEEP: This is NPR Muse. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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