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Map of the Problematique

"Map of the Problematique"
Single by Muse
from the album Black Holes and Revelations
Released 18 June 2007
Format Digital download
Genre Alternative rock, electronic rock, new prog, space rock
Length 4:18
Label Warner Bros., Helium-3
Writer(s) Matthew Bellamy
Producer(s) Rich Costey, Muse
Muse singles chronology
"Map of the Problematique"
Black Holes and Revelations track listing
"Supermassive Black Hole"
"Map of the Problematique"
"Soldier's Poem"

HAARP track listing
"Supermassive Black Hole"
"Map of the Problematique"
"Butterflies and Hurricanes"

"Map of the Problematique" is a song by English alternative rock band Muse, released as the fifth single from their fourth studio album Black Holes and Revelations on 18 June 2007 as a digital download only.[1] The release date followed the two concerts Muse performed at Wembley Stadium on 16 June and 17 June.[2]


  • Description 1
  • Composition 2
  • Recording 3
  • Track listing 4
  • Chart performance 5
  • Charts 6
    • Weekly charts 6.1
  • In popular culture 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The title is a reference to the book The Limits to Growth (1972) and the Club of Rome think-tank who would create a "map of the problematique" detailing the "global problematique" - a set of likely challenges the world might face in the near future. In addition, the opening lyric, "fear and panic in the air" may be a reference to Mars, in that the red planet's two moons are named Phobos and Deimos, who were the Greek gods of Fear and Panic. Such a connection would fit in with numerous references to Mars in the album.

"Map of the Problematique" was used in trailers for Children of Men (2006) and The Tourist (2010), and the commercial for Prison Break. The song was used in whole in the ICRC's short film 'Our world, our challenges'. A short clip of the song was also used during the BBC's coverage of Rugby Sevens World Series. The song was also used as the "countdown" theme at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.


"Map of the Problematique" is an electronic rock song featuring heavy use of synthesizers, distortion, flanging and octave shifting. Written in the key of C minor, it moves in common time at a moderately fast tempo of 130 bpm. Lead singer Matthew Bellamy's displayed vocal range spans from B♭3 to C5. His vocals in the song are overdubbed to create an echo effect.

The main riff does not feature any dominant chords, which gives it a more modal sound. The chords being played are C minor, E♭ major, A♭ major, and F minor.

The song has drawn frequent comparisons to "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode due to their similar chord progression and arrangement. Bellamy has also cited Depeche Mode as inspiration for the song in interviews.[3]

The guitar is played with Drop C tuning.


Originating from rehearsals before the recording of Black Holes and Revelations, "Map of the Problematique" was one of the later songs the band started work on. It was originally played on synthesisers before being transferred to guitar, giving it a much darker sound, although initially the intention was to keep it as keyboard-orientated as possible. The rhythm section was recorded after the guitar tracks. This was different from anything the band had done before, according to Chris Wolstenholme, "because the whole theme of the song was based more on the sound and creation of this sound".

Track listing

iTunes EP[4]
No. Title Length
1. "Map of the Problematique"   4:18
2. "Map of the Problematique" (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix) 4:24
3. "Map of the Problematique" (AOL Session) 4:25 exclusive download[5]
No. Title Length
1. "Map of the Problematique"   4:18
2. "Map of the Problematique" (Live from Wembley Stadium) 5:05
3. "Map of the Problematique" (Rich Costey Edit) 3:40
4. "Map of the Problematique" (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix) 4:24
5. "Map of the Problematique" (AOL Session) 4:25

Chart performance

The song reached number 18 in the UK singles chart in its first week of release, and was more successful than "Invincible", the previous single.


Weekly charts

Chart (2007) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 18

In popular culture

The song was used in numerous television adverts through 2006 and 2007, including British science fiction television series Primeval, TV spots for the 2006 film Children of Men, and during Live Earth. It has also been featured on Top Gear during Season 8, Episode 7 and Season 10, Episode 5 and, in the UK, samples were played on golfing events either before advertisements or when it moves on to another part of the event, and was used in numerous episodes of MasterChef. "Map of the Problematique" was also used as an entry song into the last episode of Doctor Who Confidential in the fourth series, entitled "Journey's End". RAI International television of Italy also uses it as an introduction to the news programme Italia Chiama Italia. The song was rated at #82 in Q Magazine's 100 lost tracks of 2006 list. It is also in the trailer of the 2010 Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp film, The Tourist. The intro of the song was featured on 23 October episode of The X Factor. It was also featured in the introductory countdown montage for the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.


  1. ^ "Map of the Problematique release info". 8 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2007. 
  2. ^ "Muse to Release Map of the Problematique". 28 March 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "Depeche Mode Influence info". 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  4. ^ "Map of the Problematique - EP".  
  5. ^ "Map Of The Problematique ( exclusive) - MP3".  
  6. ^ "Archive Chart: 2007-03-02" UK Singles Chart.

External links

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