Viva la Rage Against the Machine

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Friday, November 8th, 2019 at 11:08 AM

Rage Against the Machine are reuniting for a tour in 2020 that’s set to wrap up in the spring before the presidential election, which many are already having electoral anxiety over.

The Molotov cocktail of a rock band has resonated with Gen X-ers since the ’90s, and thanks to this reunion tour, they will have yet another opportunity to reach a new generation of disenfranchised, angry, young Americans. With their explosive lyrics calling out issues that still exist in our society — such as police brutality, suffering brought upon the American people by the cronyism of our politicians and corporations, and government lies and cover-ups — their empowering anarchism is more than welcome in these troubling times.

It’s a shame this reunion means a dissolution of the Prophets of Rage supergroup, which features Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, as well as members of Rage (minus vocalist Zack De La Rocha). It had to be put on hold after a brief tenure (the band came together in 2016), but hopefully this reunion can give dissenters young and old something to unite upon.

So far, tour dates are few and far between. There is a stretch at the end of March 2020 consisting of El Paso, Texas on March 26, Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 28, and Phoenix, Arizona on March 30. Rage will also be playing Coachella on April 10 and April 17, according to the band’s Instagram.

The 20-year anniversary of their performance at the 2000 Democratic National Convention approaches next year, and perhaps unannounced appearances at both the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, as well as the Republican National Convention in Charlotte would be a welcome surprise.

Both the right and left on a micro level are growing increasingly distant from their bases’ macro-level candidates for the presidential seat in 2020. Although Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are currently duking it out in the polls, many Democrats and Liberals, especially the younger generation, are questioning why Bernie Sanders is perpetually ignored by the DNC and how these two are the only way to “beat Trump.” For Republicans and Conservatives, many are not interested in Trump’s policies nor rhetoric and find party pressure to support him to be pushing them away even more.

As these frustrations become exacerbated, Rage Against The Machine’s rancor toward the two-party system and its limitations continue to reverberate. You’d think people would welcome music willing to address these frustrations, but some critics think otherwise.

Stereogum’s 2018 article, “9 Music Trends That Need To Die In 2019,” included a section titled: “Hamfisted Political Statements.” The author then proceeded to call out artists like Miley Cyrus and The 1975 for including politically inspired clips and themes in their music and associated videos.

However, that kind of attitude has no place in our currently chaotic society. Music has always been inherently political — from the first African American slave hymnals, to the influx of hippie-spurned Vietnam War protest songs — and American music will remain political as long as the U.S. remains somewhat united.

Music uplifts and comforts, gives a voice to the oppressed, and can unite us through a better-informed lens of experience. To believe that there should be a separatism of music and politics is an oppressive and disillusioned ideal. In addition, freedom of speech should and will always apply to music (I’m looking at you, Tipper Gore.)

As explained in “Take the Power Back,” we can only rely on ourselves, “To expose and close the doors on those who try to strangle and mangle the truth / ‘Cause the circle of hatred continues unless we react, we gotta take the power back!”

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