Special

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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Top 100

#100 The College Dropout – Kanye West (2004)

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Track Listing:

  1. Intro
  2. We Don’t Care
  3. Graduation Day
  4. All Falls Down
  5. I’ll Fly Away
  6. Spaceship
  7. Jesus Walks
  8. Never Let Me Down
  9. Get Em High
  10. Workout Plan
  11. The New Workout Plan
  12. Slow Jamz
  13. Breathe In Breathe Out
  14. School Skit 1 – Skit 1
  15. School Spirit
  16. School Skit 2 – Skit 2
  17. Lil Jimmy Skit
  18. Two Words
  19. Through The Wire
  20. Family Business
  21. Last Call

So here we go, the start of my brave new adventure. I am going to be reviewing Consequence of Sound’s top 100 albums of all time which was published in 2010.

Number 100 is The College Dropout by Kanye West, which for me is really jumping in at the deep end.

I have never listened to a hip hop album all the way through in it’s entirety. This is a confession I am ok to make. As a white working class lad from Derbyshire, England, my main love is rock music and I will listen to anything with guitars in it. But I have always said that I will listen to all albums objectively and give them all a fair review.

So, my opinion of Kanye West is that he is a rather confident young man who is extremely convinced of his own talent. I expected his debut album to be an unsure sounding record. The sound of a man trying to find his voice in a crowded musical world.

However, his delivery is bold across the album and he has a real talent for rhymes. The production is alse very strong, the tracks meld together seamlessly in places.

Musically, I enjoyed it a lot more than I though I would. In the office today I had a few of the bass loops stuck in my head and also found myself tapping my desk remembering the beats as well.

Lyrically, as you can imagine by the album title it is very anti-education. Kanye seems to forget that we are not all uber talented stars and that we rely on our educations to escape our difficult and rough neighbourhoods. I hope he hasn’t inspired too many people to ditch their schooling and embark on fruitless music careers!

I enjoyed the lyrics on ‘I’ll Fly Away’ as we can all dream of jumping in our metaphorical spaceships and escape our humdrum workaday lives. ‘The New Workout Plan’ was less enjoyable with it’s juvenile silliness.

The album did feel a little long, Kanye probably could have cut a few tracks off especially the skits, particularly towards the end. The last track ‘Last Call’ was fascinating in that it was biographical and revealing.

There were a lot of guest slots on this album and to contradict what I wrote earlier, this may show a slight lack of conviction in his talents as they were quite distracting from his vocals.

I’m not sure I completely understand the hiphop genre yet, however I am interested and curious about the albums within this top 100 that I will encounter.

I am interested to hear how Kanye’s albums have developed over time, whether his albums do indeed justify the ego.