Muse have had huge success over the last year, with a hit album and a single that was on the radio so incessantly that, impressive though it was on the first few listens, eventually became white noise after being played to death. They are quite possibly one of the biggest bands on the scene at the moment.
It therefore comes somewhat as a surprise that "Invincible" is their new single. This is really not a song that strikes me as a radio hit - it neither makes you want to get up and dance nor distracts you from your current task by making a grand statement; and the Muse hallmark is much less prominent than in other tracks on "Black Holes and Revelations".
It is rather an 'album gem', one of those songs that blurs slightly until you're on extremely intimate terms with an album and also rarely works out of context. "Invincible" is very much a piece of the album's puzzle - hidden among the other tracks, it becomes more poignant and feels more complete. As a stand-alone track, I get the curious feeling about 3 minutes through, just prior to the solo, that it's about to go off on a glorious tangent - à la Yes - taking us through various fragments of both related and entirely unrelated ideas and keys in an epic 20 minute journey. And when it finishes at just over a minute later, I feel disappointed and even cheated that it turns out at just the right length for a pop song.
Some of the experimental guitar sounds dispersed throughout the song make me tremendously happy, as well as the occasional glimpse of the idiosyncratic bass lines of Muse, but in between it comes across as rather mediocre. Even the hook (obviously not doing its job!) doesn't grab me sufficiently to justify it being a single and only remains in my head a few minutes after listening. It then disappears in a puff of smoke along with all the other songs I frequently fail to quite bring to mind.
It ultimately feels like a lengthy introduction to some ambitious writing - a development of "Invincible" into a tapestry of musical ideas, however, would work fantastically. Extraordinary modern prog is only a few steps away.