My Top 50 Favorite Songs: 42

42. "Know Your Enemy" by Rage Against the Machine

One of the most important bands of the last 20 years, Rage did what no one was doing yet... making hard rock music with rap-infused vocals... and they did it before it was cool to do so. Their entire self-titled debut, with De la Rocha's flow, style and passion and Morello's singular guitar-playing sound, is a masterpiece of politically fueled "rise up against those that mean to put you down" anthems that one can't help but get caught up in, but the track that always stuck out was "Know Your Enemy." The guitar riff is so infectious that, in another life, it could have been made for the dance-hall instead of the frontlines, the bass and drum groove is energetic and fun. But there's another side to the song, and De la Rocha's screaming, and the sudden halting the music takes during the bridge, drive that home. This song may sound fun, and it may be fun to listen and jam out to, but what it's about isn't really all that fun. There's a message here, and they want you to pay attention. I guess I did, because I was hooked, and have been ever since. (Plus it doesn't hurt that Maynard James Keenan makes an appearance).

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