The Top Ten Rage Against the Machine Songs of All Time

August 7th, 2020: Rage Against the Machine at the BB&T Center in Camden, New Jersey.

Rage is reuniting for a lengthy international tour (with Run the Jewels), and we’re lucky enough to get a local stop without having to go to New York, Washington, or some other hellhole. They’re also playing the Firefly Festival down in Dover so there’s another option for you.

In honor of the great RATM returning to a stage near us for the first time in something like a decade, I’ve put together my list of their top ten songs of all time. These are my opinions and may not necessarily reflect the tastes of Russ, Coggin, Bob, or any other members of the Crossing Broad staff who have poor taste.

#10 Vietnow

album: Evil Empire

Track number three from Evil Empire, and the album’s third single.

Vietnow didn’t get a music video, but it was considered a top 3-4 song from the disc and was a setlist staple some ten years after it was released.

#9 Know Your Enemy

album: S/T

Maynard James Keenan did guest vocals on this song, which you can hear in the bridge portion that starts around 2:40. That’s followed by a classic bit of Tom Morello guitar creativity.

#8 People of the Sun

album: Evil Empire

The second single off Evil Empire, it was nominated for a Grammy back in 1998 but lost to The Smashing Pumpkins. The lyrics deal with the Zapatista movement in southern Mexico.

#7 Take the Power Back

album: S/T

Super funky bass work on this track, which leads into the chunky chorus. Good song to play on the drums if you have a kit.

#6 Down Rodeo

album: Evil Empire

I’d chalk this is up as Rage’s most underrated song. The entire back half of Evil Empire shines, but probably got left behind since you had the big singles on the front half of the album. There really was not a bad song of the disc though, and I always loved the funky verse sound here that takes off when you hit the chorus.

#5 Snakecharmer

album: Evil Empire

Try listening to this entire song while sitting still. Won’t happen. It’s a great mover with some really heavy portions.

#4 Bombtrack

album: Evil Empire

The first song on the first album. Easy to learn on guitar. Fun to play, fun to listen to, a prototypical Rage track.

#3 Guerilla Radio

album: The Battle of Los Angeles

I only included one track from The Battle of Los Angeles, not because it’s a bad album, but just because I think Evil Empire and the self titled are that good.

Rage had three videos off this disc, one for Testify, one for Sleep Now in the Fire, and one for the best song on the disc, Guerilla Radio. The final breakdown makes me want to suplex Russ through a table.

#2 Killing in the Name

album: S/T

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

#1 Bulls on Parade

album: Evil Empire

The king.

The best Rage track of all time and the song that really made you take a step back and think, ‘these guys are going to go down in history as one of the best bands of the 90s.’ This song was all over the radio, the video was over MTV, and the CD was played so many times that it became scratched and I had to replace my copy.

Honorable mentions: Calm Like a Bomb, Tire Me, Freedom, Township Rebellion, Ashes in the Fall, No Shelter


16 Responses

  1. Rage Against The Machine supports Mumia Abu Jamal, a convicted cop killer. I can’t be a fan of them.

    1. I saw them back in the day (Spectrum maybe?). They started spouting off the Mumia nonsense and got booed lustily by the crowd. Good times.

  2. Kevin, you didn’t do what they told ya. This is the article that we didn’t know we needed. Kudos. Tom Morello rules.

  3. All bands responsible for helping to usher in nu-metal suck ass. I guess what I’m trying to say here is RAtM suck ass

  4. Wouldn’t put a cover song in a top 10, but they had two really good rap covers in “Pistol Grip Pump” and “How I Could Just K I’ll a Man”

    1. Remember when Paul Ryan tried listing RATM among his favorite bands and they all came together to tell him to fuck off and die? Good times.

  5. I would be happy if I never heard another Rage song for the rest of my life. Not because of anything other than they suck.

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