Drones tells the story of a man who is brainwashed into becoming a psychopath that kills by remote control, but eventually re-takes control of his life. This song's vocals are comprised entirely of an unedited portion of a speech delivered by US president John F. Kennedy on April 27, 1961 at the American Newspaper Publishers Association where he slams the corruption of government through greed.
Matt Bellamy explained to The Sun: "It felt like it was an important thing to transfer that into a transitional point in the album, where it goes from being a person who has lost themselves, allowing them to be brainwashed by others, and suddenly saying I am going to take control of myself that point onwards."
Muse first came across the speech in the mid 2000s and used it on tour in 2006. Matt Bellamy commented to Rolling Stone: "He's addressing the American press about how to deal with the rise of communism. What's so interesting is that he never says the words 'Soviet Union' and he never says the word 'communism.' He's just talking in general terms about oppressive systems and how there are people out there who want to infiltrate and covertly control us or dominate us and create these complex bureaucratic systems that enslave humanity in one way or another."
This 55 second piece serves as an into to the next track on the album, "Defector." The two songs are also combined in the official lyric video.