Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Rage Against The Machine songs that are protest anthems for socio-political change

It doesn't get any better than rap, funk metal music to fuel your rage against racial discrimination and police brutality

                            Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Rage Against The Machine songs that are protest anthems for socio-political change
Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello (Getty Images)

We're back, music lovers! We hope you've been staying safe, calm and particularly woke these past few weeks.

In the wake of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, it's clear that inclusion, awareness and systemic change is needed to end police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States. After the tragic deaths of George Floyd on Memorial Day and more recently, Rayshard Brooks, it's sadly evident that the threat of violence wielded on the masses by the people in power can have devastating effects. 

Tom Morello, the outspoken guitarist of the American rock band, Rage Against The Machine – that never shies away from stating their revolutionary political views – expressed his strong opinions by posting a photoshopped picture of the infamous 'Dukes of Hazzard' car with its Confederate flag roof replaced by the Gay Pride flag. June is Pride Month 2020 and in celebration of everything Morello is doing to help bring about a positive change in the community, let honor the legendary musician by giving these Top 5 Rage Against The Machine songs a listen. As far as political anthems go, it doesn't get any better than rap, funk metal music to help get you into the mood for sociopolitical reform.

Pandemic Playlist: Rage Against The Machine Edition

'Know Your Enemy'



This track from Rage Against The Machine's eponymous 1992 album, names after the band, was an immediate fan favorite, carrying a fiery message of defiance in the face of totalitarian authority. The lyrics talk about how the American government contradicts itself, claiming to be the land of the free while still being run by an elite enterprise who threaten our civil liberties and tell us what to believe. The furious lyrics mouthed by Zack de la Rocha are still as timely as ever: "Action must be taken / We don't need the key, we'll break in / Something must be done / About vengeance, a badge and a gun." The fact that Tool's vocalist Maynard James Keenan makes a guest appearance on this track is another reason why it's at the top of our list. 




This politically charged track from 2000 was another livid call to arms by Rage Against The Machine. The song talks about how injustices are happening "right outside your door" and how the government and mainstream media attempts to distract and pacify us with their manipulative agenda. The lyrics during the bridge are a reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel '1984', stating, "Who controls the past now, controls the future / Who controls the present now, controls the past." The brilliant music video also contains a quote from Ralph Nader, who says "If you're not turned on politics, politics will turn on you."

'Calm Like A Bomb'



"Feel the funk blast!" This incendiary track from 2000 has become a favorite thanks to its innovative use of a whammy pedal and top-notch opening lines like, "I be walkin' God like a dog / My narrative fearless." The lyrics talk about social inequalities and even reference Emiliano Zapata, who was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution. Some of the best lyrics by singer Zack de la Rocha also feature in this number, including the chilling, "And the riot be the rhyme of the unheard." 'Calm Like A Bomb' created waves by being included in the OST of 'The Matrix' film franchise in 2003, making both the song and the band pop culture icons. 

'Bulls On Parade'



This groovy song first appeared on Rage Against The Machine's second studio album, 'Evil Empire' in 1996. It's probably one of the best-known songs by the band thanks to a genius guitar solo by Morello where he imitates DJ turntable scratches by toggling his pickups in tandem with his pedals. Speaking about the song's subject matter, Zack de la Rocha revealed, "The (Berlin) wall that Germany (built) fell and the US government was busy building another one between the border of the US and Mexico. Since 1986, as a result of a lot of the hate talk and hysteria that the government of the United States has been speaking, 1,500 bodies have been found on the border. We wrote this song in response to it."

'Killing In The Name' 



This 1992 classic is without question one of Rage Against The Machine's most iconic songs, and for good reason. The explosive track has been adopted as an unofficial political protest anthem in recent times, with everyone from Machine Gun Kelly to Limp Bizkit making their own ferocious versions of this signature song. The lyrics may be minimalist, but they convey a powerful message, shining a light on police brutality, white supremacists, and the military-industrial complex. It was even voted as the Christmas No. 1 in 2009, after an online campaign was started to prevent an 'X Factor' winner's song from grabbing the top spot. And who can forget about that immortal ending, where Zack de la Rocha flips the bird to authoritarian governments everywhere by repeatedly chanting, "F*** you, I won't do what you tell me." This is one song that will never get old, and its thought-provoking lyrics are still as relevant as ever.


Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!

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