Absolution is the third studio album by English alternative rock band Muse. It was released on September 21, 2003 in the UK and on March 23, 2004 in the U.S. by Taste Music Limited. The album yielded the band's first big American hits - "Time Is Running Out" and "Hysteria", the former becoming their first UK Top 10 single. Recently it was voted the 21st best British album ever. Writing and composition: The band spent much of 2002 recording Absolution with producer Rich Costey. The album was recorded in studios in both Los Angeles and London. Bellamy said that the band made a "conscious decision" to "get together in a room and make music", setting aside time to record the album, as with previous albums recording sessions were 'hastily arranged' and rushed. The album incorporates themes of fear, mistrust, personal achievement and joy. Bellamy said that the beginning of the Iraq War had an effect on their songwriting. Stockholm Syndrome, The Small Print, Time is Running Out and Ruled by Secrecy can all be perceived as having political undertones. The former contains lyrics such as "This is the last time I'll/ Forget you/ I wish I could" that alludes to methods of control used by totalitarian states such as Hitler's / Stalin's Cult of the Personality, which force people to form a "bond" with their dictator. However it could also be interpreted as a critical view of the way the West democracies (US and UK) after 9/11 sacrificed civil rights in the name of "the war on terror". The title "Stockholm Syndrome" (a psychological phenomenon where victims become strangely infatuated with their kidnappers) suggests that citizens of the West have become hijacked and victims of war mongering politicians by lies (the case for Iraq War). Ruled by Secrecy may also refer to Judgement Day. The Small Print was initially titled "Action Faust", Faust being a character in a play who sold his soul to the Devil in return for the Devil's service in life. This may refer to the Biblical figure of the Antichrist or simply be a metaphor- in an effort to survive, people might resort to terrible actions. However "Small Print" can be also viewed as a scream against the policies of record labels and the position of the artist. As lyrics go: "For 15 pound per year / but just the good days" can be interpreted as an exploitation of the artist, because the record label buys only what they think is good (the good days), ignoring the artists troubles (the bad days). In fact as if the artist was a machine, and when the machine doesn't have good days anymore - it gets axed (perhaps a reflection of the dispute about the "Origin of Symmetry" album and its release in the US with the record label). The album also considers how people may react to the end of the world depending on their religion or lack of it. Sing for Absolution appears to show the viewpoint of a person comforted by their love for another and perhaps their religion. Thoughts of a Dying Atheist, meanwhile offer a parallel- a person "Trapped beneath my pillow" unable to comprehend what is happening or find even a futile hope - "It scares the hell out of me/ And the end is all I can see." The track "Blackout" featured an 18 - piece orchestra. Personnel: * Matthew Bellamy – lead vocals, guitars, piano, synthesizers, mandolin on "Blackout" * Chris Wolstenholme – backing vocals, bass guitar, synthesizers on "Hysteria" and "Time Is Running Out" * Dominic Howard – drums, percussion * Paul Reeve – backing vocals, vocal samples User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.