Top 10 Rage Against the Machine Songs

Script written by Richard Bush. Formed in 1991 in Los Angeles, California, Rage Against the Machine made a name for themselves in the 1990s for their aggressive blend of rap and alternative metal. Added to this were their socio-politically charged lyrics and energetic live rep that follows them to this day. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Rage Against the Machine songs. Special thanks to our users iamnotrickysanchez, aldqbigsquare, Carl Licuanan, Shiela Ingram, rita luna, Philip Folta and Aricha Mahil for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Richard Bush.

They’re calm like a bomb. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Rage Against the Machine songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “No Shelter”
Godzilla: The Album (1998)

This song acts as a critique of the media’s ability to divert our attention from the planet’s more pressing issues. It also touches upon consumerism, which is highlighted in its Industrial Revolution-styled music video. Featured on the soundtrack of the 1998 “ Godzilla” movie, “No Shelter”’s sound is typical Rage, with a punchy lead riff and several crescendos followed by lead man Zack de la Rocha’s screaming vocals.

#9: “Down Rodeo”
Evil Empire (1996)

Talking poverty and discrimination, and specifically highlighting Beverly Hills’ luxurious Rodeo Drive, this rap metal number doesn’t only have some straight talking lyrics; it also has a killer riff. Arguably one of the band’s most frank songs when it comes to its socio-political themes, “Down Rodeo” is still right on the money when it comes to highlighting ever-present issues.

#8: “Bullet in the Head”
Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Comparing the general population to trapped inmates of Alcatraz prison – yep, that’s Rage for you. Focusing on the brainwashing of the public, “Bullet in the Head” doesn’t only carry heavy references to the media ruling over our thoughts; it also allows lead guitarist Tom Morello to really stamp his own unique technique on the rap metal genre. And boy, did he do it in style.

#7: “Know Your Enemy” feat. Maynard James Keenan
Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Although it carries stern political messages about the American Government, “Know Your Enemy” is also one of the band’s most eclectic tracks when it comes to musicality. Starting off with Morello’s synthesizer-esque intro for several bars and Tim Commerford’s rather laidback bass playing, it soon kicks you in the teeth with a cool breakdown that you’re just not expecting. Though de la Rocha is the track’s lead vocalist, having Tool’s Maynard James Keenan sing during the bridge is really what helps make it oh-so-memorable.

#6: “Sleep Now in the Fire”
The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)

This Battle of Los Angeles track kicks things off with some very heavy riffing. It’s also got lyrics condemning the U.S. government and highlights specific instances of greed throughout history. Meanwhile, its Michael Moore-directed music video drives the point home by having the band perform in front of the New York Stock Exchange. But what really sets the song alight is Morello’s high-pitched solo near the end as he rapidly flicks the toggle switch on his guitar.

#5: “Testify”
The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)

A fan favorite when it comes to concert performances, “Testify” is well known for its references to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.” But it’s also got a cool intro riff that’s promptly joined by De La Rocha’s narration, which makes it perfect for opening a Rage live show. Even though Morello’s made a name for himself with his unusual guitar playing methods, he takes things to a whole new level with this track. But don’t take our word for it; just take a listen to the solo for yourself!

#4: “Bombtrack”
Rage Against the Machine (1992)

The opening number from their eponymous first record, “Bombtrack” was so named because the band believed the song was just that great – and we don’t blame them! A perfect example of how Morello and Commerford can play side by side when riffing, the song’s intro is really what makes it stick in your head. Throw in a boppy chorus with quotable lyrics and boom: it really is da bomb.

#3: “Guerrilla Radio”
The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)

Who can forget the intro to this rap, funk and alternative metal track?! Even if the song didn’t appear in several video games, it’s likely that its scattered tremolo tremors and wah-wah extravaganza would now permanently ingrained in our minds. “Guerilla Radio” touches upon several important socio-political issues with Rage’s trademark funky flair and one helluva catchy chorus. It also won the band a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.

#2: “Bulls on Parade”
Evil Empire (1996)

Led by a booming riff and Morello’s wah-wah guitar-playing, “Bulls on Parade” is the second single from Rage Against the Machine’s sophomore effort. Rumored to be referencing the chauvinistically violent way in which the American military deals with its problems, the song reached top 20 status on the U.S. rock charts and multiple top 40 spots around the world. Add Morello’s vinyl scratch guitar effect, De La Rocha's passionate vocals and an explosive chorus, and you’ve got classic Rage.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Freedom” Rage Against the Machine (1992)
- “People of the Sun” Evil Empire (1996)
- “Wake Up” Rage Against the Machine (1992)
- “Renegades of Funk” Renegades (2000)
- “The Ghost of Tom Joad” Renegades (2000)

#1: “Killing in the Name”
Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Besides the fact that it helped its parent album earn massive commercial success and has garnered controversy for its lyrics, “Killing in the Name” is simply one of the most awesome guitar tracks ever. Alluding to the existence of Ku Klux Klan police officers, among other things, the alternative, rap and groove metal single has become a massive anthem for rebellion in pop culture. Its endurance was further cemented by its ability to top the UK charts 17 years after its initial release.

Do you agree with our list? What Rage song got your fist pumping the air? For more super Top Tens published daily, be sure to subscribe to WacthMojo.com.
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