This dystopian synth-rocker finds Muse's Matt Bellamy singing about living in an oppressive society. He sings of powerful entities trying to entice compliance from the vulnerable with promises of safety and reassurance.
Stay loyal to us, we'll take away the hurt
We have what you need, just reach out and touch
We can save you just give us your
"'Compliance' is about submission to authoritarian rules and reassuring untruths to be accepted to an in-group," Matt Bellamy said of the song. "Gangs, governments, demagogues, social media algorithms and religions seduce us during times of vulnerability, creating arbitrary rules and distorted ideas for us to comply with. They sell us comforting myths, telling us only they can explain reality while simultaneously diminishing our freedom, autonomy and independent thought."
"We are not just coerced, we are herded, frightened and corralled to produce a daily '2 minutes of hate' against an out-group of their choosing and to turn a blind eye to our own internal voice of reason and compassion," Bellamy continued. "They just need our Compliance."
Jeremi Durand directed the song's music video, shooting it in Poland. Inspired by the 2012 science fiction action-thriller film Looper, it follows three children wearing masks destroying their future selves in order to escape an oppressive world.
Muse have never been shy of expressing their political views. Some critics suggested "Compliance" is their attack on institutions that used the COVID-19 pandemic to tighten up on those who question their worldview. They took the video's storyline of a world that forces people to wear masks to be an anti-vax message.
The band released the song as their second single from Will of the People on March 17, 2022. Muse produced the album themselves, making it their third self-produced album and first since 2012's The 2nd Law.
Muse wrote Will of the People as a way of processing their concerns amid the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic, increased repression, and the climate crisis. "A pandemic, new wars in Europe, massive protests and riots, an attempted insurrection, Western democracy wavering, rising authoritarianism, wildfires and natural disasters and the destabilization of the global order all informed Will Of The People," said Bellamy.
"It has been a worrying and scary time for all of us as the Western empire and the natural world, which have cradled us for so long are genuinely threatened," he added. "This album is a personal navigation through those fears and preparation for what comes next."