Sunday, August 19, 2012

Song of the Day: Rage Against the Machine, "Know Your Enemy"

This week, VP hopeful (not Origin guitarist) Paul Ryan turned a few extra heads when he expressed an appreciation for Rage Against the Machine. It doesn't sound quite as strange when you remind yourself that Ryan was 22 when "Killing in the Name" dropped, but the ideological contrast between the most outspokenly left wing rock band on the planet and a man who claims that Ayn Rand inspired him to get into public service is still fun to look at.

"Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades," guitarist Tom Morello recently wrote in Rolling Stone. "He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage."

Morello continues, "Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta 'rage' in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions."

In honor of Paul Ryan's commendable musical taste and abhorrent policies, here is Rage Against the Machine's "Know Your Enemy." That's Tool's Maynard James Keenan singing and Jane's Addiction's Stephen Perkins drumming on the bridge.

Nobody literally puts the pedal to the metal like Tom Morello. His riffs are pretty straightforward (in fact, this one sounds a little like Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein,") but his brilliance lies in his limb-like effects. I'm also sold on Zack De La Rocha's spitfire delivery, if not his claim that hypocrisy and brutality are American dreams. But when the music is this great I can overlook disagreeable messages. Kind of like Paul Ryan.

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