Please Explain to Me ... Rage Against The Machine
It's convention time, so why not try to find some cross section between politics and music? In this case, I'm going see if anyone can convince me that Rage Against the Machine isn't one of the worst bands in the history of the world. (The band is, predictably, playing shows near both convention sites over the next couple weeks, to protest whatever it is they protest these days.) I have my doubts, but there have been some surprisingly thoughtful comments left by some people in previous editions of PETM. You have your work cut out for you this time.
First, rap-rock? Of all the terrible (dash)-rock mergers, this one is clearly the most painful. There's a reason you see the "Judgment Night" soundtrack in every single bargain bin. And it was RATM that opened the rap-rock floodgates that made the turn of the decade such a low point for popular music.
Now as for Rage as great political spokespeople, I have to laugh at that. It's revolution rock for meatheads. What is Zack de la Rocha's most famous lyric? "[Expletive] you, I won't do what you tell me." Deep, man. Deep. Let's just put "Killing in the Name Of" right up there with "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" in the pantheon of great musical/political statements.
Then there's the whole Tom Morello as guitar genius thing. I definitely need an explanation on this. J. Freedom - who by no means shares my opinion of RATM - sent along this link of Morello on "TRL" (fight the power!) showing how he makes his guitar make all sorts of wacky, non-guitar sounding sounds. Well, some of us like a guitar to sound like a guitar. So Morello can make it sound all scratchy and wicky-wicky. Who cares?
Rage has just always struck me as an extremely dumbed-down version of everything they attempted to do. Maybe that's why had such mass appeal? Because the masses are dumb. So, please explain Rage to me. Come wit it now.
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