Map of the Problematique

Map of the Problematique
"Map of the Problematique"

The "Map of the Problematique" single cover.
Single by Muse
from the album Black Holes and Revelations
B-side "Map of the Problematique (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix)"
"Map of the Problematique (Rich Costey Edit)"
"Map of the Problematique (Live)"
Released 18 June 2007
Format Digital download
Genre Electro rock, new prog
Length 4:18
Label Helium 3, Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Matthew Bellamy
Producer Rich Costey
Muse singles chronology
"Map of the Problematique"
Remix Promo
The "Map of the Problematique" remix promo CD.
Black Holes and Revelations track listing
"Supermassive Black Hole"
"Map of the Problematique"
"Soldier's Poem"

"Map of the Problematique" is a song by English alternative rock band Muse, released on their 2006 fourth studio album, Black Holes and Revelations. It was released as the fifth single from the album on 18 June 2007 as a digital download only.[1] The release date followed the two concerts Muse performed at Wembley Stadium on June 16 and June 17.[2]



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. A short clip of the song was also used during the BBC's coverage of Rugby Sevens World Series.


"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 125 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 is 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]


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 to 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 listings

Digital single
  1. "Map of the Problematique"
  2. "Map of the Problematique" (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix)
UK iTunes Store exclusive
  1. "Map of the Problematique" (AOL Session) (official site) exclusive
  1. "Map of the Problematique" (Rich Costey edit)
  2. "Map of the Problematique" (Live from Wembley Stadium)
  3. Wembley Digital Souvenir Pack
Remix Promo
  1. "Map of the Problematique" (Does It Offend You, Yeah? Remix)

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.

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 the 23rd of October episode of The X Factor.


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