Rage Against the Machine: Song Analysis Word Count: 1558 (6 pages) I. Introduction The band Rage Against the Machine has some very unique tunes. "Bullet in the Head", "Year of the Boomerang", "Bulls on Parade", "Without a Face", and "Wake Up" will be analyzed, each with its own section of analysis regarding meaning…
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II. Bullet in the Head The following is the opening lyric to the song Bullet in the Head. “This time the bullet cold rocked ya/A yellow ribbon instead of a swastika…”2 What Rage is trying to convey with this lyric is that people are needlessly dying, all due to a person who is in power at the top trying to usurp money from the poorer people. If one thinks about it, think about Dick Cheney, who was the Vice President of the U.S. as well as the head of a company called Halliburton, which rebuilt Iraq. Several poor men, desperate for jobs, enlisted into the military because they thought they were fighting for ideals after 9/11. However, this was a scam. It has now been proven that the U.S. was planning to invade Iraq beginning in 2001—two years before the war in Iraq ever began. Halliburton lost millions, possibly billions, of dollars in funds that were never accounted for, in the end. Like Hitler, Cheney ruled over the an entire nation—and conducted the whole Iraq war operation, not to mention profiting quite handsomely from it. Truly, Cheney was a type of dictator—especially because he could not be prosecuted for these crimes after he left office, not to mention the fact that he ordered torture to be used on prisoners of war. That type of behavior goes against the Geneva Convention—but he got away scot-free, all because of his money-hungry power. Dick Cheney is just one example of people who made a lot of young men go to wear, and get proverbial (and sometimes real) ‘bullets’ in their heads in order so that he could become a very rich man, living on a heart pump which helps keep him alive (it’s expensive). III.Year of tha Boomerang Year of tha Boomerang is about World War II history. The lyrics from the song go like this: “It's dark now in Dachau and I'm screamin' from within/'Cause I'm cell locked in tha doctrines of tha right/Enslaved by dogma, talk about my birthrights…”3 World War II harkens back to the days when Jews were enslaved in the concentration camps, and the political right’s ideology—which included eugenics—was in control of Germany. Personally, it seems a bit wrong to bring up the Holocaust in the sense that this is definitely not a respectful use of the terminology. The singer is not physically in Dachau, nor is it believed that the singer could ever emotionally experience what was experienced by the concentration camp prisoners—and how they felt. Trying to appropriate that emotion for the sake of the song—even if any of the band members happen to be Jewish—still seems like a grossly inappropriate and wholly misuse of the imagery evoked by bringing up the concentration camp of Dachau. This minimizes the true pain of real Holocaust survivors, especially those at Dachau. How dare this band desecrate a place which is so notoriously sacred, and where real human flesh burned…not just being lyrics in a song. Rage Against the Machine may have made its point, but it really struck the wrong chord on this song—not an isolated incident. IV. Bulls on Parade RATM’s next song to be analyzed, the lyrics to Bulls on Parade, reads: “Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes/Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal/I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library/Line up to tha mind cemetary now…”4 It’s interesting that the library here is seen as a place called a ‘
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