Song of the Week: Muse’s Explosive “Won’t Stand Down”

Barrie, Years & Years, and LAUNDRY DAY also released essential tracks

Won't Stand Down Muse
Muse, photo by Nick Fancher

    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Muse provides the soundtrack for revolution.

    Music, like any other part of popular culture, is inevitably cyclical. Influence becomes interpolation when artists are, by design, mining the past to find the next great way to move into the future.

    When it comes to storytelling, too, there are some things that will always remain relevant. Muse has tapped into one such theme with their first song in four years. Frontman Matt Bellamy says “Won’t Stand Down” is “a song about standing your ground against bullies, whether that be on the playground, at work or anywhere.” The track has all the grit and defiance needed to keep the song from moving into cliche territory, pushing the historically moody and alternative group closer to metal.


    Muse’s last studio album arrived back in 2018, and we live in a different world now. This sound feels like an appropriate course-correction for the group ahead of their ninth LP. Industrial distortions provide the backdrop for the lyrics, while the music video features the gloomiest rave imaginable. With an aesthetic that wouldn’t feel out of place in Dune or Mad Max, the visuals tie the apocalyptic vibe all the way together. Things might feel grim, but Muse isn’t ready to stop fighting yet.

    — Mary Siroky
    Contributing Editor

    Honorable Mentions:

    Barrie – “Quarry”

    Indie pop artist Barrie recently announced her second LP Barbara (due March 25th), and already, the growth between her first and second album is extremely evident. “Quarry” is the latest single, and its euphoria is captivating and infectious. Written about Barrie’s wife Gabby — who appears in the music video alongside Barrie, as they shave their heads — there is an overwhelming love displayed in “Quarry.” It’s clear, sweet, and packed with just a tinge of chaos to paint a comprehensive picture of a relationship.

    Furthermore, her skill as an arranger and producer is highlighted beautifully in “Quarry,” just as it was on previous single “Frankie.” With each single, Barbara is shaping up to be a massive statement piece from the wildly talented Barrie. — Paolo Ragusa

    Aly & AJ – “Dead on the Beach”

    Sister act Aly & AJ deserve their flowers. Long gone are the days where it makes sense to write off recovered Disney kids — look at Zendaya’s trajectory, for goodness sake — and Aly & AJ have been dropping some delightfully glittery, dreamy pop for some time now. “Dead on the Beach” arrives ahead of a deluxe edition their 2021 album, a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun (a mouthful, an entire compound sentence, but it’s worth it).


    The new track is moodier and more emotional than some of the album’s offerings, centered thoughtfully on a near-death pandemic experience the sisters faced, and showcases the way that sibling acts really never go out of style.  — M.S.

    Years & Years – “Sooner Or Later”

    “Last night you slipped into my dream,” Years & Years confess on “Sooner Or Later.” It’s delivered like a secret before the song dives headfirst into a danceable anthem decrying men who mess around. It’s the perfect amount of self-indulgent, centered around shimmering synths and an anthemic chorus. Despite the frustration expressed at the game being played, it’s still a game — the chase is on. “Sooner or later, you’ll be mine.” — M.S.

    Battle Ave – “Leo”

    There’s a thoughtful easiness to the new single from the Hudson Valley-based band Battle Ave. “Leo,” which features Laura Stevenson, fits neatly with the rest of the group’s catalogue thanks to its melancholic, gentle energy. The track verges on hypnotic (especially as far as the accompanying music video is concerned), but there’s enough tension woven into the song that keeps it from becoming boring. — M.S.


    LAUNDRY DAY – “Did You Sleep Last Night?”

    It’s hard not to root for LAUNDRY DAY, a self-taught quintet in the midst of their major label debut. Their upcoming album We Switched Bodies (February 11th) enlists some heavy hitters when it comes to production, including Kevin Abstract and Romil Hemnani of BROCKHAMPTON and Springsteen collaborator Brendan O’Brien. But the plucky, neighborhood band sound remains intact on “Did You Sleep Last Night?” — and, to be clear, that’s a good thing. The group is headed into their next chapter, and the song is a perfect jumping-off point. — M.S.

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