Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine


Anger is a gift.

It would be interesting to see how many suburban kids learned about Che Guevara, or that the FBI targeted Martin Luther King for his opposition to the Vietnam War, from Rage Against the Machine’s first album. While other ’90s albums, like Nirvana’s Nevermind, helped bring underground styles into the mainstream, Rage brought The Weather Underground.

Like the revolutionaries, MCs, and hard rock that inspired it, Rage Against the Machine exists in all caps. Its most lasting lyrics—“Some of those that work forces/Are the same that burn crosses” (“Killing in the Name”), “Anger is a gift” (“Freedom”)—have the instant memorability of a protest chant. The immediacy isn’t just a metaphor for their message; it’s a way to spread the word and put power into the hands of the people. It’s an album you could listen to at the gym or build a syllabus around.