“Year of tha Boomerang” is a song by the American political rap metal musical group Rage Against the Machine. It originally appeared in the film and on the soundtrack of Higher Learning in 1994. On the back of the soundtrack, the song is called “Year of the Boomerang”. Although the track was released as a promotional radio CD single, it was never given a domestic release.
“Year of the Boomerang” made its live debut at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA on April 29, 1994.
“Tire Me” is the 6th song from the album Evil Empire by Rage Against the Machine. Although “Tire Me” never had a music video, was never released on any media formats, and had no radio airplay, the song won a Grammy Award in 1997 for the Best Metal Performance.
“Tire Me” made its live debut at Cal State in Carson, California on April 29, 1994, with slightly alternate lyrics than the final album version. At the Pinkpop Festival in 1994 before playing the song, Zack De La Rocha said it was written to celebrate the death of Richard Nixon.
“Vietnow” was the final single for Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire album. Officially it is only the third single from the album, as “Down Rodeo” was a promo release only.
The cover photograph of an elderly lady seen from the back, carrying a boombox radio and walking down a mountain was taken by the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide in the Sonoran Desert in 1979. The original photograph is called “Mujer Ángel” and has also appeared in the black-and-white photography book Canto a la Realidad: Fotografia Latinoamericana, 1860-1993 as compiled by Erika Billeter.
The song’s lyrics concern right-wing AM radio shows, hosted by people such as Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North and Michael Reagan. The verse riffs bear a resemblance to “The Wanton Song” by Led Zeppelin, whom Tom Morello has cited as a major influence.
The lyrics “is all the world jails and churches”, are perhaps influenced by the works of American novelist James Baldwin. Baldwin’s 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain includes the character Roy Grimes arguing with his mother and commenting, “You think that’s all that’s in the world is jails and churches?” At least one of James Baldwin’s books is contained on Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire liner notes.
The line “Comin down like bats from Stacey Koon” is a reference to Sgt. Stacey Koon, one of the 4 LAPD policemen videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King in 1991. He and Laurence Powell were the only two convicted of the four.
The song made its live debut during the 1996 Big Day Out festival in Australia.
The song was covered by the hardcore punk band Stray From The Path in 2012.
“The Ghost of Tom Joad” is a folk rock song written by Bruce Springsteen. It is the title track to his eleventh studio album, released in 1995. The character Tom Joad, from John Steinbeck’s classic 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, is mentioned in the title and narrative. Originally a quiet folk song, “The Ghost of Tom Joad” has also been recorded by Rage Against the Machine. Springsteen himself has performed the song in a variety of arrangements, including with the E Street Band, and a live recording featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello as guest. In 2013, Springsteen subsequently re-recorded the track with Morello for his eighteenth studio album, High Hopes (2014).
“Testify” is a single by rap metal band Rage Against the Machine off their third studio album The Battle of Los Angeles.
The cover of the single was taken from the 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute. The song’s lyrics notably make reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984 through use of “The Party” slogan “Who controls the past (now), controls the future. Who controls the present (now), controls the past.” The song is a playable track on Rock Band 2.
“Sleep Now in the Fire” is the fifth track from the 1999 album The Battle of Los Angeles by the band Rage Against the Machine. It was released as a single in 1999. The song contains lyrics about greed, such as the conquest of Native Americans, Christopher Columbus’ voyage by Niña, the Pinta, and Santa Maria and U.S. slavery in the 19th century as well as criticism of actions taken by the U.S. government in wartime, including the bombing of Hiroshima and the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.
Guitarist Tom Morello’s solo is also notable as he simply uses feedback from the amp, along with using his whammy bar to adjust the pitch of the feedback. By flicking his toggle switch on and off, he is able to create the high-pitched solo.
At the end of the song, a short sample of Korean artist Uhm Jung-hwa’s 1998 song Poison can be heard – it was accidentally captured from a local Korean radio station broadcast through Morello’s amplifier.
“People of the Sun” is the second single by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine for their 1996 album Evil Empire. The song is about the Zapatista revolution. Lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha wrote the song after a visit to Chiapas in southern Mexico. “People of the Sun” also has a music video. It was nominated for a Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy in 1998, but it lost to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “The End Is the Beginning Is the End”.
The song has a wide variety of references, most notably the destruction of the Aztec empire by the Spanish (see the article Five suns) and the Zoot Suit Riots of Los Angeles in 1943. De La Rocha also refers to the last Aztecan Emperor Cuauhtémoc, who was tortured and eventually executed by the Spaniards.
The single artwork of the corn, sickle and ammunition belt is a 1927 photograph taken by Italian photographer Tina Modotti in Mexico.
The final version of the song made its live debut on May 9, 1996, in Paris, France.
“No Shelter” is a politically charged song released by Rage Against the Machine in 1998 that was featured on the Godzilla soundtrack. It can also be found as a bonus track on the Australian and Japanese release of The Battle of Los Angeles in 1999. The song is about how the mass media distracts the public from more important issues in the world and manipulates people’s minds.
The song discusses consumerism and criticizes the feigned rebelliousness of teenaged consumerism, mentioning Nike and Coca-Cola particularly. Its central theme, however, is media control over public sentiment. In particular it attacks the historical inaccuracy of Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad.
“Know Your Enemy” is a song by the American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine. It features Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan on vocals during the bridge section. The Allmusic describes the song as “immediately memorable” and “surprisingly straightforward”, while music critic Joel McIver cited it as “a standout track” of the album.
The song is in common time. The song’s intro, in a moderate tempo of 84 BPM, makes use of Tom Morello’s toggle switch to switch between a pickup that is turned off, and one that is on, creating a tremolo effect. Morello’s effect is to imitate 70’s classic rock synthesizer sounds. This is accompanied by Tim Commerford’s slap bass, making this the only other track on the album to use the technique besides “Take the Power Back”. After this, it starts up in a faster, punk-ish riff at a tempo of 114 which has been compared to Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”, providing yet another link to classic rock. This then leads into the verse, another fast paced riff centered upon the bass. Both the main and secondary riffs were written by Timmy C on an acoustic bass. The song is in the key of F# minor. The chorus then returns to the original riff again, and then returns to the verse. Then, the song goes into a slower, 4/4 beat with palm muted guitar, background percussion by Stephen Perkins and the trance-like vocals of Maynard James Keenan performing his famous words (“I’ve got no patience now/so sick of complacence now/sick of you/time has come to pay”, 34 words including repeated lines). It was planned that Perkins’ Jane’s Addiction bandmate Perry Farrell would be doing the section but was absent leading to Maynard as his replacement on short notice. All is brought to an end by Tom Morello’s guitar solo using the DigiTech Whammy pedal and toggle switch until the tempo slows down dramatically with a false ending. The guitar chord dissolves on a sludgy note resemblant of the intro to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”. It goes back to the verse riff with Zack speaking the line “All of which are American dreams” eight times, finishing well after the band stops playing.
“Killing in The Name” is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, featured on their self-titled debut album, and was released as the lead single from the album in November 1992. In 1993, the song peaked at number 25 in the United Kingdom. Written about revolution against institutional racism and police brutality, “Killing in The Name” is widely recognized as the band’s signature song, and has been noted for its distinctive guitar riffs and heavy use of profanity.
In 2009 the song was the focus of a successful Facebook campaign to prevent The X Factor winner’s song from gaining the Christmas number one in the United Kingdom for the fifth successive year. The campaign provoked commentary from both groups and other musicians, and gained coverage in both national and international press. The song became the first single to reach the Christmas number one spot on downloads alone. The campaign also spread to Ireland, and although less successful, it helped “Killing in the Name” become the Christmas number two in the Irish Charts. The campaign made the song the group’s highest charting single in either the UK or Ireland.