Survival (song)

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Dom with the names Leaked
Muse song
Name Survival
Length 4:17, 5:15 (with Prelude)
Alternative titles -
First live performance 12th August 2012 (partial mime), 20th September 2012 (live)
Latest live performance 19th April 2014
Recorded 2011-2012
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer Muse



A heavily Queen-influenced track featuring a choir, piano and heavy guitar parts.

According to Matt the song is about "trying to get into that mindset of being completely determined to win, doing it against all the odds, the conviction and the truth of just wanting to win. I wanted to tune into the competitiveness of it all."[1] It's about "total conviction and pure determination to win."[2]


By error of Bellamy, Howard, Wolstenholme or Kirk, the name of the song was leaked by a photo on Twitter, until it was deleted.

On the 27th of June 2012, Survival was announced as the official song for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The song was premiered on 27th June 2012 by Zane Lowe on his BBC Radio One show at 7:30pm along with a short prelude which was followed by an interview with the band.

During The 2nd Law Tour, Survival has been a standard feature of the encore.

Matt also sings during the four solos of the end of the song, with the same notes as the guitar.

The song also shares Matt's highest recorded vocal note of A♭5 along with Showbiz and Micro Cuts. Survival has been performed live during the 2nd law tour with the A♭5 although Matt tends to perform with an E♭5 instead.


The song was initially conceived in August 2011 when Matt was approached by a "top pianist," Sir Elton John, to create a collaborative song for the 2012 London Olympics.[3] This initial conception was unfruitful and the song was left unfinished and without lyrics after Elton John got pulled out by the organisers. In 2012, when the band began to work on the sixth Muse album, Matt finished writing Survival and it was recorded.


The song received mixed reviews by professional critics, bloggers and fans. Metro, Britain's largest free newspaper, published an article entitled "Muse's 2012 anthem fails to lift their fans into orbit."[4] Editor of NME Hamish MacBain asked "Have Muse jumped the shark?", saying the song left "the unmistakeable [sic] sense of a band with nowhere left to go" and that the lyrics were "REALLY crap,"[5] while Jamie Gambino of described it as "excruciating and quite possibly aneurism inducing". [6] Ian Port, blogging on SF Weekly, implied Survival was not a song, and was instead "just a very loud aggregation of dramatic noises.[7] Forbes focused on criticising the song's lyrics for not well representing the spirit of the Olympics as it purported to, reflecting that "the truisms about competition Bellamy lazily rolls out on “Survival” feel entirely antithetical to the event the song is supposed to represent", while musically it was a "tasteless, lackluster number".[8]

"If [the fans] hate it, cool," said Dom. "At least it's provoking something. It's a pretty weird song for the Olympics to choose, but it's cool that they think the song can represent the enormity of the Olympics. It takes you back to Gladiator-style Olympics. Maybe they should bring some of those back, like fending off a tiger with a spiked metal ball."[9]

The song did receive some praise too. rated the song 9/10, saying the song left them "definitely looking forward to ‘The 2nd Law‘ album."[10] A poll by The Telegraph revealed that 81.5% of voters thought the song was "pop gold," while 18.5% described it as a "false start."[11] Digital Spy thought that it was the "right decision" to use the song for the Olympics, adding that it has "all the hallmarks of a classic British anthem".[12] The Associated Press called the song "a thundering rock anthem." NME columnist Mark Beaumont was perturbed that the band's latest track was "assimilated into something as annoying" as the Olympics. He continued that "'Survival' might be amongst the most ear-scorchingly, arse-burstingly, aneurysm-inducingly brilliant songs in Muse’s canon, but it’ll forever be deemed corny by its association with one long-past sporting event." Adam Boult of The Guardian referred to the track as "a hilarious five-minute onslaught of camp, falling somewhere between Queen, Gloria Gaynor and a Monty Python sketch. Swelling strings, battle drums, ludicrous falsetto shrieking and chugga-chugga guitar channelling the Little Engine That Could. It's as insanely overblown as the Olympics themselves."


Survival was covered by the staff of Triple J radio. A Comedy Central advertisement parodied the song in a musical clip called "Completely Apathetic".[13]


Survival is a massive stadium-rocker that made appearances at nearly every gig on The 2nd Law Tour. Despite only one promotional appearance, at the 2012 Olympics, Survival still managed to have over 115 performances during the tour. After 2014, however, it has yet to make a single appearance in a live concert. Alongside other singles Follow Me, Supremacy and Panic Station, it has rarely made an appearance since 2013. The band revealed that many songs from The 2nd Law wouldn't be performed again because of being "complicated to perform live" (this most likely refers to Survival and Follow Me). Prelude, the intro to Survival, has been performed many times on the Drones Tour, however Survival has yet to make a reappearance.

More here


("Ah, ah ah ah", repeated)

Race Life's a race That I'm gonna win Yes I'm gonna win And I'll light the fuse And I'll never lose And I choose to survive ("Told you, so I", repeated) Whatever it takes You won't pull ahead I'll keep up the pace And I'll reveal my strength To the whole human race Yes, I am prepared ("You were warned and didn't listen", repeated) To stay alive I won't forgive Vengeance is mine And I won't give in Because I choose to thrive Yes, I'm gonna win

Race ("Told you, so I", repeat) It's a race That I'm gonna win Yes I'm gonna win And I'll light the fuse And I'll never lose And I choose to survive ("You were warned and didn't listen", repeated) Whatever it takes You won't pull ahead I'll keep up the pace And I'll reveal my strength To the whole human race Yes, I'm gonna win

("Fight, fight, fight, fight, win, win, win, win")

Yes, I'm gonna win


  1. NME. (2012-06-29). Muse open up about the creation of new single 'Survival'. NME. Retrieved 2012-07-15 from
  2. NME. (2012-06-27). Muse unveil new single 'Survival' – listen. NME. Retrieved 2012-06-29 from
  3. Gordon Smart. (2011-23-08). Olympic special for Elton John. The Sun. Retrieved 2012-07-15 from
  4. Muse's 2012 anthem fails to lift their fans into orbit (2012-06-29). Metro. [verify]
  5. Hamish MacBain. (2012-06-28). Have Muse Jumped The Shark With Their Olympics Track?. NME. Retrieved 2012-06-29 from
  6. Jamie Gambino. (2012-06-28). MUSE - SURVIVAL. NME. Retrieved 2012-06-29 from
  7. Ian Port. (2012-06-28). Muse's Official Olympic Song "Survival" Is Decidedly Not a Victory for the World. SF Weekly. Retrieved 2012-06-29 from
  8. Leor Galil. (2012-06-28). The Problem With Muse's Official Olympic Song, 'Survival'. Forbes. Retrieved 2012-06-29 from
  10. Chad Childers. (2012-06-28). MUSE, ‘SURVIVAL’ – SONG REVIEW. Forbes. Retrieved 2012-06-29 from
  11. Muse song Survival unveiled as the official London 2012 Olympic theme tune (2012-06-28). Retrieved 2012-07-01 from
  12. Muse: 'Survival' - Single review (2012-07-02). Retrieved 2012-07-02 from
  13. Comedy Central: Complete Apathetic. Retrieved 2012-07-29 from

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