Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s. No. 96.

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine

(- First things first, I didn’t even attempt to draw the cover of this album. I think it’s pretty obvious why – I am nowhere near talented enough at drawing to attempt recreating such a serious image. Anything I drew would look offensive, so I didn’t draw anything.)

For a teenager who was silently furious at the world (i.e. me, but also i.e. all teenagers) Rage Against the Machine were the perfect band to turn up, all jabby guitar bits and shouty politics. They blew my tiny angry mind. There were other angry bands, sure. Aren’t there always? But Rage Against the Machine spoke to me more. I think it was because they had more answers than questions. Give me an ‘overthrow the system, fuck shit up, now’ over an ‘Oh, woe, I’m such a creep loser sad guy’ any day.

For a while, I listened to Rage Against the Machine pretty much every day. The band I was in started writing political songs (Musically bobbins but with their heart in the right place. Thankfully no recordings exist today). I grew my hair long. Very long. Like down to my belt.

And then I stopped. I changed. I cut my hair. Rage Against the Machine was one of the albums that got stolen when our house was burgled and I didn’t replace it.

And then, a long time later, I saw a copy in Fopp and thought, ‘Ha, that old thing. I wonder what that sounds like.’ And I took it home expecting a chuckle at my younger self and… no… it still totally rocks. I knew every lyric, every intonation of voice, every stabby guitar solo. I had remembered it only as something that I had liked. I had forgotten that everyone else liked it too, because it was really good.

And now I listen to it every now and again. Every couple of months or so. I am very different from the me that I was as a teenager (aren’t we all) but it’s nice that we have some things in common.