This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #331: Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine.
Even if you have never heard a single song by “Rage Against the Machine”, you would probably be able to guess, just by their name, that they have not become famous by producing songs for children’s birthday parties! Lol! No, “Rage Against the Machine” are a group from Los Angeles, that formed in the early 1990s. They have made some of the loudest, most forceful, anti-authority music of any group, anywhere in the world. The band consists of lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, lead guitarist, Tom Morello, bassist, Tim Commerford and rummer, Brad Wilk. This group has formed, broken up and re-formed several times. During the hiatus periods, the trio of Morello/Commerford/Wilk formed “Audioslave” with singer, Chris Cornell, and then, when “Audioslave” broke up, they formed “Prophets of Rage” with Chuck D. from “Public Enemy”. But, no matter who they form new bands with, in the end, the band that everyone clamours for, is the original “Rage Against the Machine”.
“Rage Against the Machine” has had several big hits, including their most famous song, “Killing in the Name” (which is about police brutality and conformity), “Testify”, “Sleep Now in the Fire”, “Wake Up!” and, today’s song, “Bulls on Parade”. Their brand of music has been termed as Nu-Metal but, whatever you wish to call it, RATM play loud, muscular music that always has something pointed to say. Not surprisingly, the band has not been without its’ share of controversy due to the nature of some of the lyrics to their songs. Because they often use profanity as a way of expressing disdain for authority figures, “Rage Against The Machine” have a hard time getting played on TV shows and on the radio, without agreeing to censor their own lyrics (which the band vehemently opposes, on principle). Thus, “Rage Against the Machine” has become one of those bands that is, almost, completely driven/motivated by their fans. They write for their fanbase (which feels they have lots that needs saying), they perform for exclusively for their fans (who are among the most rabid and devoted in the world.) and they exist to give voice to those who may feel voiceless and powerless.
The song, “Bulls on Parade” is a political statement on the current situation that exists regarding the border between the US and Mexico and the number of lives that have been lost and families separated because of US immigration policies. The video you are about to see is of a free concert given by the band in appreciation for their fanbase helping to rig a UK Christmas BBC radio contest in their favour by voting, “Killing in the Name” the #1 Christmas song in the UK. This video shows the band and their fans at their finest. If you watch, please note the unique way Morello plays his guitar in order to mimic DJs scratching albums during a Hip Hop show. The crowd is insane in this video! As for the song, “Bulls on Parade” tends to be constructed more on a foundation of repeatable phrases and chants but, none the less, the message gets delivered in the most raucous way possible. So, if you have something you want to get off of your chest and don’t know quite how to go about it then, watch “Bulls on Parade”, sing, shout, jump around and I guarantee you that you will feel better for having done so. Enough talking. Here we go! “Bulls on Parade” by “Rage Against the Machine”. Enjoy!
The link to the video for the song, “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Rage Against the Machine can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for supporting great music, regardless of genre or volume! The link to their website can be found here.