Label Warner Bros. Helium-3
|B-side "Crying Shame" (7", CD)|
Format 7" CD DVD digital download
Genre Alternative rock funk rock dance-rock
"Supermassive Black Hole" is a song by English band Muse, featured on their fourth studio album Black Holes and Revelations. It was written by Muse lead singer and principal songwriter Matthew Bellamy. It was released as the lead single from the album on 12 June 2006, backed with "Crying Shame".
The song charted at number four on the UK Singles Chart, the highest singles chart position the band has achieved to date in the United Kingdom. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 74 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years". It was nominated for the Kerrang! Award for Best Single.
Bellamy said that the song was "the most different to anything we've ever done." Influences included bands such as The Beatles, Millionaire, dEUS, Evil Superstars and Soulwax. Bellamy said that "these groups were the first to mix R&B rhythms with alternative guitar. We've added a bit of Prince and Kanye West. The drumbeat isn't rocky, with Rage Against the Machine riffs underneath. We’ve mixed a lot of things in this track, with a bit of electronica; it’s different, slow, quite funky."
In an interview with NME, Bellamy said "I was going out dancing in clubs around New York. That helped create tracks like 'Supermassive Black Hole'. Franz Ferdinand would have done it very well, with that dance type beat going on mixed with alternative guitar and I've always wanted to find that."
The single's accompanying music video shows the band playing in a small furniture shop, clad in masks. This is intercut with images of dancers in Zentai suits which are then unzipped at the end to reveal beings made of space. The video was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who has directed videos for alternative bands such as Marilyn Manson, The White Stripes, Interpol, Incubus and The Cure. Sigismondi described the video as replicating a recurring dream she has experienced, in which dancers wearing masks of their own faces or mirrors and full body suits fill a dark mirrored room. There are also flashes of a black circle, a depiction of a supermassive black hole.
Usage in media
On 8 May 2008, the song was released as downloadable content for the rhythm game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, along with "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Exo-Politics". The song was also used in the 2008 movie Twilight in the baseball game sequence, and subsequently was used in the soundtrack. A version of the song was also featured on the soundtrack for the video game FIFA 07, by EA Sports. In 2006, it featured in the Supernatural episode "Hunted". It was also featured at the beginning of the Series 6 Doctor Who episode "The Rebel Flesh". It was used on a trailer for the television series Castle. It was also used as a wake-up for Space Shuttle Atlantis astronauts on the vessel's presumed final day in space, 26 May 2010. It also appeared in The Sopranos episode "Walk Like a Man", while Tony was talking with two boys at the Bada-Bing. The song is available to play on Rocksmith 2014 as part of a Muse 5-song pack. The song was covered by UK progressive metal band Threshold on their 2007 album Dead Reckoning, as a bonus track. In 2013, the instrumental group 2CELLOS performed a cover of the song for their album In2ition, with Naya Rivera performing guest vocals.
NME gave the song a score of 8.5 out of 10, describing it as "dirty funk guitars rub[bing] saucily against a Prince-ish falsetto over a pink leather couchette". A reviewer on Blogcritics commented that the song has "a bit of a 'disco' feel that some fans may not be expecting". Andrew Perry of The Observer wrote that the song "thunderingly mixes Automatic-era Jesus and Mary Chain with a Prince-like funk, and boasts lyrics like, 'Oo, baby, I'm a fool for you' - not the doings of a gothy navel-gazer."
The song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2015.
"Supermassive Black Hole" was the first single released from Black Holes and Revelations available on vinyl, CD, DVD and digital download formats. It peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart, making it their most popular single released in the UK to date. In the US it was the third single to be released, on 23 April 2007. The single reached #6 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, making it the eighth highest-charting Muse single in the U.S. behind "Madness", "Starlight", "Uprising", "Resistance", "Panic Station", "Undisclosed Desires", and "Dead Inside".
The single's B-side, "Crying Shame", was first performed on 19 December 2004 at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The key was changed during the 2005 tour, and the studio track omits the riff found in the earlier live version. The lyrics also appear to have changed, and this is the first studio release in which lead singer Bellamy uses profanity.
All tracks written by Matthew Bellamy.