Citizen Erased (song)

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Muse song
Name Citizen Erased
Length 7:21 / 7:18 (XX Anniversary RemiXX)
Alternative titles -
First live performance 12th February 2001
Latest live performance 24th February 2018
Recorded Real World Studio Wiltshire, 2000/2001
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer John Leckie
Chart position 122



Matthew Bellamy: "It's an expression of what it feels like to be questioned. I spend more time than most people being asked about purpose, and it's a strange feeling. I don't really have the answers and I have to respond on the knowledge I have obtained so far, but the problem is that it gets printed, and something else has come along that's made you completely disagree with what you said".[1]

It was written around a drum beat that Dominic Howard composed, matt said: "On Citizen Erased, Dom came in one day with this funky James Brown beat and Chris just started playing along. I then applied the chord structure that I already had and it suddenly became a full-on metal track out of nowhere. Because it was so heavy for so long we decided to add another song on to the end of it." [2]

The song could also be a reference to Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in which citizens are erased and lies control society.

When asked about The Globalist and Citizen Erased, Matt referred to them as "opposites": "I guess Citizen Erased is loosely about a person disappearing into nothing, declining to take control/power and choosing to fade from memory rather than embrace the chaos; feeling trampled and bowing away."[3]


The first live performance of Citizen Erased had the outro played on guitar rather than keyboard. The keyboard outro was introduced at least as early as the 12th April 2001 - no recording exists between the first performance and then.

A different riff replaced the guitar solo towards the middle of the song during the Absolution tour. During the 2006 tour, the vocals of the instrumental between the final chorus and final verse were removed. These returned partially by Paris-Bercy, 15th December 2006, or possibly sometime prior on the late 2006 European tour. Additional drumming was added during this interlude on the aforementioned date.

Citizen Erased is the only song where the 7 String E Guitar is used. Coincidentally, it is assumed a six-string was used to record this song, thought to be the Delorean, as a Fuzz Factory is featured in the solo, and early photos of said guitar show a bass string in place of the low E string, in order to accommodate drop A tuning. Matt owned both guitars at the time of recording, so it can't be said for sure which guitar(s) he used.

The song was played regularly during The Resistance Tour, made occasional appearances during the The 2nd Law Tour, and regularly during the Drones Tour.

More here

Citizen Erased (XX Anniversary RemiXX)

On May 19th, 2021, it was announced that Muse will be releasing a remixed and remastered version of Origin of Symmetry, titled "Origin of Symmetry (XX Anniversary RemiXX)", with Citizen Erased being the first song to be released as a single from the remixed album, on May 20th, 2021.

The remix version contains noticeably more guitar and bass distortion, and less synth is present in the main riff. The drums are also less boomy and tighter-sounding. Flanger effects have been removed from the instruments during the outro, making the strings sound notably more present and less synthy sounding. The clean guitar during the second verse and outro is also less-filtered and sounds more clear. The remix also doesn't include the closing synth noises which transition into Micro Cuts, which are present on the original album track. According to Bellamy, these "phasing sounds" were removed from the remix because they prevailed over the piano, making it harder to hear.[4]

Music trivia

For the week starting 9th July 2007, some members of and other fan-sites attempted to get Citizen Erased into the UK charts. It eventually reached position No 122. Jesting about the song's popularity three years later, Matthew Bellamy commented "[...] so we've got to change our website I think to uh— from to", before performing it within Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

During the Resistance tour in Sydney on the 9th of December, Bellamy dedicated "Citizen Arrested" to Julian Assange, the Australian WikiLeaks founder who had been arrested in Sweden regarding alleged sexual offences just days earlier before the song.


Break me in,

Teach us to cheat And to lie, and cover up What shouldn't be shared

And the truth's unwinding Scraping away at my mind Please stop asking me to describe

For one moment I wish you'd hold your stage With no feelings at all Open-minded I'm sure I used to be so free

Self-expressed Exhausting for all to see and to be What you want and what you need And the truth's unwinding Scraping away at my mind Please stop asking me to describe

For one moment I wish you'd hold your stage With no feelings at all Open-minded I'm sure I used to be so free

For one moment I wish you'd hold your stage With no feelings at all Open-minded I'm sure I used to be so free

Wash me away Clean your body of me Erase all the memories They'll only bring us pain And I've seen all I'll ever need

Alternatively, the line:

Exhausting for all to see and to be

is sometimes be changed to:

Exhausting for all to see I still want to be


  1. Rock Sound - 2001
  2. Guitarist Magazine - What all the Hullabaloo is about. [september 2002]
  3. Muse Messageboard - Muse answers your questions (2016-14-04). Muse Messageboard. Retrieved 2016-27-04 from

Go back to Origin of Symmetry