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Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (1992)

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Tracklist:

  1. Bombtrack
  2. Killing in the Name
  3. Take the Power Back
  4. Settle for Nothing
  5. Bullet in the Head
  6. Know Your Enemy
  7. Wake Up
  8. Fistful of Steel
  9. Township Rebellion
  10. Freedom

Probably one of the most influential albums to be released, Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut album still sounds as fresh as it has always done. This album is only really bettered in regards to it’s cultural impact by ‘Nevermind’ back in the 90’s. When listening to the album it is hard not to strut along when walking with it on and nod along to the rap metal funk infusion that this album is.

The artwork of the album is a talking point in itself a photo of the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, in Saigon in 1963 who was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion. It sets the tone for the rebellious political messages that the album contains.

The music in my opinion is absolutely incredible, as I have said before it stands the test of time so well. The compositions on this sound so organic and this is illustrated by the band’s statement on the artwork which says “”no samples, keyboards or synthesizers used in the making of this record”.

I have always been completely blown away by Tom Morello’s guitar work, some of the sounds that he gets out of six strings, a bit of wood and an amp are amazing. It is hard to believe that he hasn’t done “something” to the sound in the studio but his work is and always has been unique with that liquid note bending ability of his.

I also enjoy the rhythm section of this band, with Brad Wilk’s pounding drums but also Tim Commerford’s fantastic baselines, they are just impossible not to tap along to, if you are a fan of funk I would heartlly recommend that you pick up a copy of this and have a listen, particularly the bass on ‘Take the Power Back’ – groovy.

Bring all of the above together with Zack de la Rocha’s powerful vocal delivery with which he spits out lyrics with so much anger about injustices in the world, from his leftist angle,  but this is done with a high level of articulacy and you really do believe that he means every word.

Of course, you will all recognise ‘Killing in the Name’ which was famously UK Christmas No.1 in 2009 in protest to the monopoly that X-Factor winning contestants had with the Christmas number one’s, the royalties were given to Shelter and they held a massive thank you gig in Hyde Park the following summer. That famous refrain of “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” is legendary and one of many shout along moments on the album.

Other highlights include ‘Killing in the Name’ and that explosive outro and the riff that powers along the whole of ‘Know Your Enemy’.

If you are a fan of metal or a fan of hip hop or both, it is definitely worth listening to this, and I’m quite certain it won’t be the last time you listen to it either….

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#93 The Mothership Connection – Parliament

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Track Listing:-

  1. P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
  2. Mothership Connection (Star Child)
  3. Unfunky UFO
  4. Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication
  5. Handcuffs
  6. Give up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)
  7. Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples

This album….what can I tell you?  It’s just one big slab of funk, it is proper funktastic!

So, as you can tell, this is a funk album.  At first before I listened to it I was really unsure what to expect, but after about four or five spins I am sold on it.  I have to be honest though, I am struggling to put into words why it is so worth listening to.

The front cover alone with a man riding on the front of a spaceship by the seat of his pants is enough to pull me in.  It’s definitely an album that is very much in the vein of the cover, in that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The first track starts off very chilled out, with a spoken section which I assume is George Clinton with his deep booming voice and some geezer called the Lollipop Man. This bit is worth listening to just for the pronunciation of “David Booey” which made me snort loudly with laughter, attracting a few raised eyebrows from the man who happened to be passing by. The groove in the first track when it kicks in will certainly make you move.

The album pretty much carries on in the same vein, the second track sounds like a funky extension of the Grange Hill theme tune, at least to these untrained ears.

The third song is pretty much a 70s sounding rock riff but with a predictably funky feel to it, again it’s bloody catchy.

“Give the people what they want, when they want and they wants it all the time”, is pretty much the vocal groove that the fourth song runs on. Yes it is, too true Parliament. If this band did form a Parliament, this country would be a much more fun place to live in, that’s for sure.  I can’t imagine Theresa May going with the same mantra, she’s more likely to see this as justification for running the country the way she and her government do; don’t give the people want they want/need as they’ll only want more.  I’ll stop there as this is a music blog not a political one.

‘Handcuffs’ is probably my favourite track musically, brilliant vocal performances here, very soulful.  Although I do not condone the use of handcuffs on a lady in any way, not even a kinky way – not my bag.  The chauvinistic manner of this is addressed in the song though, so I guess I forgive them for it.

The sixth track is a long one, but the bass line is very catchy.   It was probably the first from this album to get stuck in my head, probably on the second listen. “We gotta have that funk”, we certainly do if it sounds like this all the time.

The last track is probably the most experimental of the album, with its strange sounding vocal tracks, definitely a song for grooving aliens.  I can imagine it being beamed through space to the band through a time warp of some description.

So that was my track by track review of this one, again worth a listen to anyone who appreciates something a bit different, it certainly caught my imagination.  If there is an interplanetary species who dig this then I wouldn’t mind taking them to our leader; they might even disintegrate her with a laser if we’re lucky.