Map of the Problematique (song)

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Muse song
Name Map of the Problematique
Length 4:18, 3:40 (Rich Costey Edit)
Alternative titles Synthy Dreams[1]
First live performance 2nd June 2006 (half-mimed), 7th June 2006 (live)
Latest live performance 6th May 2018
Recorded 2006
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer Rich Costey
Chart position 18



The title is a reference to a book called Limits to Growth (1972) and the Club of Rome think-tank who would create a "map of the problematique" detailing the "global problematique" - a set of likely challenges the world might face in the near future. Limits to Growth correctly predicted the economic crisis of 2008.[2] In addition, the opening lyric, "fear and panic in the air" may be a reference to Mars, in that the red planet's two moons are named Phobos and Deimos, who were the Greek gods of Fear and Panic. Such a connection would fit in with numerous references to Mars in the album. Possibly one of the songs mentioned in the Daily Star feature "Matt Girls Good Grief" that were inspired by Bellamy's girlfriend nagging him[3]

It bears similarity with the music of Depeche Mode,[4] especially "Enjoy the Silence", and is a rare track in musical terms as it does not use the dominant chord ever in the riff: C minor, E flat major, A flat major, F minor.[5] Part of the intro riff sounds similar to "Dead Disco" by Metric.

"Map of the Problematique" was used in trailers for Children of Men (2006)[2] and The Tourist (2010)[6]. Also used in the commercial for Prison Break. A short clip of the song was also used during the BBC's coverage of Rugby Sevens World Series. Also occasionally played at Madison Square Garden before player introductions at New York Knicks' home games.


"Map of the Problematique" originated from rehearsals before the recording of Black Holes and Revelations, and was one of the later songs the band started work on.[7] It was originally played on synthesisers before being transferred to guitar, giving it a much darker sound,[8] although initially the intention was to keep it as keyboard-orientated as possible.[7] The rhythm section was recorded after the guitar tracks. This was different to anything the band had done before, according to Chris, "because the whole theme of the song was based more on the sound and creation of this sound".[7]


After the release Black Holes and Revelations, "Map of the Problematique" appeared in almost all set lists, with the riff from "Maggie's Farm" most often used as the outro. A live recording from Wembley Stadium was released initially as the B-side to the 2007 Wembley Souvenir "Map of the Problematique" single, with a second mix of the same recording appearing on H.A.A.R.P. in 2008.

More here

Alternative versions

A mix of the song edited by Rich Costey featured as the lead track on the exclusive version of the "Map of the Problematique" single. A remix of the song by Does It Offend You, Yeah? was the B-side to the standard download single.


Fear and panic in the air

I want to be free From desolation and despair And I feel like everything I sow Is being swept away Well I refuse to let you go

I can't get it right Get it right Since I met you

Loneliness be over When will this loneliness be over

Life will flash before my eyes So scattered and lost I want to touch the other side And no one Thinks they are to blame Why can't we see That when we bleed we bleed the same

I can't get it right Get it right Since I met you

Loneliness be over When will this loneliness be over Loneliness be over When will this loneliness be over

Live alternatives

In very early live performances of the song, Bellamy replaced the first three lines of the second verse with the following:

See a future on the run

Running away And our judgement has begun

For performances of the song during the Resistance Tour, Bellamy slightly adjusted the lyrics again. Instead of the second instance of:

Since I met you

Bellamy now sings:

Since I lost you

This is likely due to the fact that Matt and Gaia Polloni broke up during the tour.


  1. US Black Holes and Revelations untitled CD-R. Warner. [verify]
  2. a b Jeff Hecht. Prophesy of economic collapse 'coming true'. Retrieved 2008-11-17 from Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "uaclub" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Matt Girls Good Grief (2006-05-15). Daily Star. [verify]
  4. Adam Mamo. (2007-12-03). Tales of the Tracks. Rip It Up. [verify]
  5. Map of the Problematique tablature. Faber Music Ltd. [verify]
  6. The Tourist:TV Spot. Retrieved 2011-02-08 from
  7. a b c Adam Mamo. (2007-12-03). Tales of the Tracks. Rip It Up. [verify]
  8. Jeff Touzeau. (2007-03). An Evening with Rich Costey. EQ. [verify]

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