You can call me an ex-lover-of-Rage-Against-the-Machine’s-self-titled-album.
Something like that.
Months ago, I was like most of Sputnik. I loved Rage Against the Machine
’s self titled album. I went with the crowd, saying something to the likes of “Oh my gawd the album kicks ass, if you don’t like it screw you, I love it and I’m cool for that.” I was in the dark of why I loved it so much. Yes, I did listen to it and yes, it did sound cool. I liked Zach de la Rocha’s rapping. I loved the smooth bass lines. I liked the nice sounding, yet very easy to play guitar riffs.
But the album is boring
I pulled the CD out a couple of days ago for the first time in a couple of months, looking to re-fall-in-love with it. As it started playing, I became immersed in the opening riff of Bombtrack
, then the smooth guitar and bass line with Zach yelling “Hey yo it’s just another bombtrack!” When he started rapping, I sat back, relaxed, saying “This is why I pulled this album out.” The verses went on, and I sat there admiring the strong political lyrics Zach was spitting out. The chorus came, and...what do I hear" “Burn, burn, yes you’re gonna burn!” eightfold. “Okay” I said. He repeats the same line eight times, Zach does. Yes, it's energetic, since he's yelling it over loud power chords on the guitar, seemingly to make a point. But repeating one line eight times" It gets old. But hey, it's only the first song right" The rest of the song sounds awesome. I like it.
But it wasn’t just one song. To my shock and disbelief, it was every single song. From Bombtrack
, and everything in between, all the songs are incredibly repetitive at one point or another. Worst of all, most, if not all the songs (excluding one which I will mention later) start off very strong with great lyrics. The fact that it's Zach de la Rocha spitting out great rhymes rapping the lyrics makes it all the better. Settle for Nothing
is an example of those great lyrics, such as Yes, I dwell in hell, but it’s a hell that I can grip/I tried to grip my family but I slipped
or If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face
. Bullet in Your Head
also had very good lyrics, particularly Just victims of the in-house drive-by/They say jump, you say how high"
, but this too is repeated excessivly, as is A bullet in your head!! A bullet in your head!! A bullet in your fucking head!!
. Although I do enjoy the energy Rage Against the Machine has, they just may be trying a little too hard. They're very angry politically (and I mean very)
Killing in the Name
drags the most, and on top of that, there’s hardly any rapping at all. It's my least favorite song on the album lyrically. The [url=http://www.ratm.net/lyrics/kil.html]lyrics[/url] are hardly existent. The song isn’t a short minute and a half filler, yet there are only two verses and the rest of the song is six different lines repeated many, many times. However, it is very strong musically, with a very groovy bass line, with the matching guitar riff. But as I mentioned, the lyrics are weak, making the song drag a bit.
Consequentially, my favorite song is Know Your Enemy
, a song with minimal repetitveness and maximum good [url= http://www.ratm.net/lyrics/kno.html]lyrics[/url] and rapping, once again. There’s a good guitar riff, also, and on top of the great lyric writing and rapping, there is hardly anything to hold this back from being the best song on the album. And bonus points! In the bridge of (yes I’m a Tool fan) , Maynard James Keenan of Tool and (former") project A Perfect Circle makes the song that much more enjoyable, with I've got no patience now/So sick of complacence now
, kinda rapping it. It's something to look forward to, since it's so unexpected.
I have already mentioned the guitars a bit. They're not that much more than power chords, with an occasional solo. Fistful of Steel
has a great opening riff, with the palm muting and I don’t even know what they do after that. However, the whining guitar note that goes from one ear to the next is extremely annoying, and the riff towards the end gets annoying too. There’s a cool little solo, which makes the song a little better. There’s also a fun little solo in Township Rebellion
and a great riff in the bridge of Freedom
. A couple of other songs with a enjoyable guitar parts are Bombtrack
, or Take the Power Back
. While it's true that guitar riffs are generally gonna be repeated throughout the song, they have to be enjoyable. Rage Against the Machine has several enjoyable ones, already mentioned, but unfortunately there are a couple of poor ones, such as in Settle for Nothing
, to name a few.
Besides the lyrics and rapping, the thing I enjoy most on the album is the basslines. They give the songs a groovy feel, especially in songs like Take the Power Back
, or Wake Up
. It gives the songs and ultimately the entire album a much more enjoyable atmosphere, making the listener more relaxed while listening to Zach rap angrily about politics. It's a very interesting concept because it's pretty hard to be relaxed while listening to the rapping. However, it's somehow done. The drums, well, are just there. The drum set is a big metronome, not very creative or important, just keeping the beat, with hardly a show of talent to be heard.
There was hardly anything to hold back my disappointment when I listened to the album for the first time in several months, hearing one section of a song making the whole thing mediocre. Of course there are great songs, the ones that are not repetitive (Know Your Enemy comes to mind), but there are some very poor repetitive tracks such as Killing in the Name. It’s enjoyable, yes, with the rapping and bass lines, but only to a certain extent.
Overall Album Rating: 3/5