The meaning of Muse's Starlight

4 September 2023, 10:13

Muse's Dominic Howard, Chris Wolstenholme and Matt Bellamy
Muse's Dominic Howard, Chris Wolstenholme and Matt Bellamy. Picture: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty

By Jenny Mensah

We mark the 17th anniversary of the iconic Muse track by delving into its story.

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Starlight by Muse is 17 years old this year.

Released on 4th September 2006 (as confirmed by the excellent Musewiki and a contemporary listing in Music Week), it was the second single to be taken from the trio's fourth studio album, Black Holes and Revelations, which came out in July the same year.

Coming after the album's lead track, Supermassive Black Hole, which was an undisputed hit, Starlight had some big shoes to fill.

Matt Bellamy and co didn't disappoint, releasing a tender, yet stirring ballad which perfectly suited the intergalactic theme of the record.

17 years on and both songs are mainstays on Muse's live setlists, but what exactly is Starlight about and what inspired the song?

Find out here.

Watch the official video for Starlight below:

Muse - Starlight [Official Music Video]

Starlight, which was written by frontman Mett Ballamy and produced by Rich Costey begins with the imagery of being taken "far away" from home on a ship.

Though it sounds rather poetic, it turns out it was quite literal as the frontman revealed he began writing the song while he was on a boat in stormy weather.

Far away
This ship is taking me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die

- Muse - Starlight

As the second verse progresses, it's clear that Starlight isn't just about the stars in the sky, but rather something that Bellamy and perhaps all entertainers chase; the spotlight- though he questions: "if it's worth it anymore".

Soon enough, it's clear that the song is about loved ones and wanting to close to them despite having to explore and chase adventure. While Bellamy's location helped him to conjure up imagery of a seafarer or an explorer, it's safe to assume he's describing the life of a touring musician.

According to Muse wiki, Bellamy confirms this. "Starlight is a more personal song about what it’s like to be on the road for a long period of time," he said. "You feel like you’re losing touch with who you are, and that kind of vibe".

Speaking about the track bassist Wolstenholme said Starlight is a "kind of a love song about missing someone, friends, family, someone you love."

Despite having some of the most heartfelt lyrics produced by the band (including the line that gave their fourth album its title) Bellamy thinks it's very "simple".

And, while it's not clear if Starlight is about any one person, it's probably safe to assume that Bellamy had his lover or girlfriend at the time in mind.

"It's a pretty simple love song really," he added. "You know, well - love song - sort of missing your girlfriend type of song, you know when you've been on the road for a while and you start to feel a bit like 'Cor blimey, where am I going?'

" It's real cheesy really, kind of like... it's from the heart. It's honest, heart-on-sleeve vibe."

Cheesy or not, Starlight has certainly stood the test of time... And, as far as songs about being on the road go, this is a pretty romantic one.

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