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Rage Against the Machine up for Christmas No.1 in the UK
December 18, 2009 1:14 AM   Subscribe

Rage Again against the Machine's Killing in the name is up for Christmas No.1 chart song in the UK due to a Facebook Campaign In a campaign against the usual reality show X-Factor Christmas No.1, a group on Facebook has managed to persuade people in the UK to buy Killing in the Name by Rage against the Machine this week. So far they have managed to hold onto the the top spot.
posted by amil (122 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Rage against which machine exactly?
posted by litleozy at 1:25 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apparently people will do what people on Facebook tell them.
posted by Kattullus at 1:30 AM on December 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yay, um, Sony?

You know, it would have been nice to have picked something a bit more Christmasy or at least something that evokes a bit more that The Matrix (1999) OST. Hell, even Rammstein would have been better.
posted by Artw at 1:30 AM on December 18, 2009


As endorsed by Class War's some time 'Most Dangerous Man in Britain' Ian Bone, so must be the subversive act of the festive season. Though the commenters there reckon single mum and chippy worker Stacey Solomon is the true class-conscious choice. It's a dilemma for the movement of a kind not seen since the syndicalist revolt. Or not.
posted by Abiezer at 1:36 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

But really, nobody wins from this. Cute idea, but they're not going to "save music" or something.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 1:36 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, that brings back memories of high school.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:40 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Rage Against the Beating of a Dead Horse.
posted by molecicco at 1:46 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


If people really want to make a protest they should buy no music that week. None at all.
The only message the record industry can get from this is "controversy = profit".
posted by dickasso at 1:50 AM on December 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


Dickasso - that's the best suggestion I've heard. Buy no music, but go to a gig in a bar.
posted by DanCall at 1:53 AM on December 18, 2009


In related news, BBC Radio 2 got RATM on to play their single live on the morning show. They asked RATM not to sing the swears. He did anyway. What did they expect?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:53 AM on December 18, 2009


If people really want to make a protest they should buy no music that week. None at all.

I've been doing that each week the past eight years. Haven't made much of a difference (well, apart from my wallet), but it makes it a bit difficult to join in.
posted by DreamerFi at 2:01 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


In related news, BBC Radio 2 got RATM on to play their single live on the morning show. They asked RATM not to sing the swears. He did anyway. What did they expect?

Yes, one would have thought that the lyric "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" would indicate his intention, to, indeed, not do what they told him.

I liike dickasso's suggestion. Alternatively, Anal C**t doing a new version of 'Rancid Sucks' (something like 'Cowell sucks/and Rage suck too') would be something I could get behind.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:10 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really like dickasso's suggestion as well, the people profiting from is the music industry either way.
posted by amil at 2:16 AM on December 18, 2009


They asked RATM not to sing the swears. He did anyway. What did they expect?

In the UK, if a radio guest swears live on-air the presenter has to apologise immediately. The presenter did so in this case, following it up with (paraphrased) "Sorry, that's not what we were expecting to happen. Well, actually, that's exactly what we expected to happen, but we did ask him not to."

One thing does lift this out of purely "music-industry-enriching flashmob" territory - the organisers are using the Facebook group to promote a fundraising campaign for homeless charity Shelter. At the time of writing, it's raised over £48,000.
posted by ZsigE at 2:31 AM on December 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


I shall be buying a few today. Apparently you can get up to 9, if you go past this they annul your contribution to the charts. You can still contribute to Shelter though, which is more important I would say (and I am sure RATM would agree).
As they say in this interview, the important lesson from this is that people can club together to affect change, even if it is for something as trivial as the Christmas number one.
Admittedly the thing that is motivating a lot of people is the puerile wish to have a song with the lyric 'fuck you I wont do what you tell me' in it at number one at Christmas. I can't say I don't share this feeling.
posted by asok at 2:35 AM on December 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


nthing dickasso. This is not hurting Simon Cowell one little bit. Next year X-Factor will probably include a new feature where people can vote on their favourite 'Stop the X-Factor single' single. Which lucky band will be the one to battle it out in the head-to-head post-X-Factor X-Factor?
posted by Phanx at 2:50 AM on December 18, 2009


"Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

Rage Against Your Mom
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:07 AM on December 18, 2009 [15 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:11 AM on December 18, 2009


Did anybody else cringe the first time they heard this song? I remember my friend's older sister showing it to us right after it came out and singing along like it was the coolest shit, and I remember thinking "Yeah, alright, cool... well.... wait, but if you sing along, then aren't you just doing what he tells you to do? Isn't that kind of stupid?" And yet here we are, over 15 years later.
posted by molecicco at 3:26 AM on December 18, 2009


X Factor sings Killing in the Name of.
posted by fire&wings at 3:34 AM on December 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh hey, you're doing what RATM/facebook/social group tells you- how ironic!

That's a stupid argument. This song is about resistance, not the mere fact of people grouping together. Do you think RATM are against solidarity?? Grass roots motivated self-organisation is at the heart of even strong anarchism.
posted by leibniz at 3:49 AM on December 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Well I'll support any action this side of germ warfare that is undertaken in an attempts to thwart the designs of those precious smarmy "talent show" infomercials. The sole purpose of those shows is to make money which is fine. The side effect of moving people, especially younger ones, further toward becoming fully fledged attention-whores whose aspirations are doomed by simple math to almost certain failure is something I think is unhealthy. (I say here to a large audience, heh.) I continue my own protest by continuously not watching those shows.
If this is for the benefit of homeless people why in the world didn't they choose No Shelter for their song?
posted by vapidave at 4:06 AM on December 18, 2009


But does Cowell have a rider as extensive as this? You've gotta stay hydrated when you're disseminating agit prop.
posted by jonesor at 4:11 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this is for the benefit of homeless people why in the world didn't they choose No Shelter for their song?

If this is for the benefit of people wanting to listen to a good song, why in the world didn't they choose Gimme Shelter for their song?
posted by explosion at 4:13 AM on December 18, 2009


Yeah, the "OMFG! They are doing what they're told! LOL!" pile-on is intellectually lazy and boring. You all sound like frat-boys picking on Goths, and are adding about as much substance to the debate. Also, your favorite band sucks.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:16 AM on December 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


If this is for the benefit of people wanting to listen to a good song, why in the world didn't they choose Gimme Shelter for their song?

What, so we can give a another load of moneygrabbers the cash?
posted by Acey at 4:25 AM on December 18, 2009


RAtM seems to have their heart in the right place, and lord knows they've done more (visible) ragin' than I have, but they always depressed the shit out of me.

They're the Revolution As Brought To You By Pepsi Core States Visa Mastercard Spectrum Dome.

Now purging this earworm with a Steady Diet of Nothing.
posted by chronkite at 4:39 AM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the "OMFG! They are doing what they're told! LOL!" pile-on is intellectually lazy and boring. You all sound like frat-boys picking on Goths, and are adding about as much substance to the debate. Also, your favorite band sucks.

Weird. To me, Rage is a boring and intellectually lazy jock band.
posted by molecicco at 4:39 AM on December 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


Weird. To me, Rage is a boring and intellectually lazy jock band.

Amen.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:43 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's more likely the jocks who are the intellectually lazy ones, not the band. This song is hardly a paradigm of a well thought out and cogently argued dissection of the corporate takeover of America, but then again, the clue's in the name.
posted by patricio at 4:52 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


In other (and somewhat more serious) UK activism news, who else has been really saddened to hear of Peter Tatchell's health problems? Have the odd political difference with the man, but what a bastion of integrity and courage he's been. Get well soon, matey.
posted by Abiezer at 4:58 AM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


The BBC Radio 5 interview & sweary performance.

To me, Rage is a boring and intellectually lazy jock band.
Say boring & intellectually lazy nerds..?
posted by i_cola at 5:06 AM on December 18, 2009


"Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

Rage Against Your Mom


Oh, come on. We all started somewhere, and "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" is as good a place as any.
posted by mediareport at 5:16 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this the right place to post Weird Al's really rather awesome RAtM parody I'll Sue Ya?
posted by ZsigE at 5:19 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was not impressed by this as it doesn't fundamentally affect any true change and seems to be serving one cause and one cause alone: make the voters feel better about themselves. It's like Buy Nothing Day: you feel better for not being a consumer for a single day and then spend the next 364 days consuming with a slightly elevated sense of superiority. If anything, this 'protest' will just create a deliberate effort from Sony to provide an alternative next year. 'Alternative X Factor... of ROCK!' or something equally edgy. Of course, it'll be about as alternative as Hot Topic and Sony will continue to laugh all the way to the bank.

I'd just skip buying a CD part and go to a gig. That way the band actually makes some money and you can vote with your wallet to keep a band you like making music. Being No. 1 on the charts doesn't encourage anyone financially struggling to keep making music: it encourages record companies to keep investing money into generic pop bands and artists that are guaranteed to make money every year. People obviously do have a desire for something new and different, but all they could muster up this year was decade old song by RATM who are signed up to a big record label.

But, as people have mentioned above, at least a charity is getting some more donations out of all of this free press being thrown around.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:20 AM on December 18, 2009


Weird. To me, Rage is a boring and intellectually lazy jock band.

I agree that buying RATM music doesn't have much of an impact on the world other than giving more money to the record companies, but there are worse things than a mainstream band that has politically left leaning lyrics and publicly supports progressive causes. It's not as if most other mainstream bands write intellectually rigorous music.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:20 AM on December 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


I appreciate the prank. As far as RATM goes, you can't rage against any machines when your branded merchandise is sold at Wal-Mart. I thought they were full of shit from the first time I heard them. Trying Too Hard. Zach De La Rocha used to be in a pretty good youth crew band I forget the name of, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:27 AM on December 18, 2009


jonesor: But does Cowell have a rider as extensive as this? You've gotta stay hydrated when you're disseminating agit prop.^^

Ahahah. I almost missed that. But come on man, at least they specify that they want ORGANIC macadamia nuts along with their Coke, Champagne, assorted snapple and 100s of litres of bottled water.

People, get real. Why did Rage play this show in the first place? This is a manfactured controversy of the most pathetic type. Rage knew what they were doing, the show knew what they were doing. It is just so lame. Rage got paid to make a fake kerfuffle. And they probably got some underwear out of it too.

There is decent music out there that is political and has integrity. Rage is not one of those bands though.
posted by molecicco at 5:28 AM on December 18, 2009


I agree exactly about Tatchell. I'm torn between wishing he was an MP and thinking that with the Commons being what it is these days, he'd be wasting his time there.
posted by Phanx at 5:42 AM on December 18, 2009


Culturally, a whole load of things happen all the time which are dismal and depressing, and the annual monolithic release of a terrible and ubiquitous X Factor ballad which grinds popular music even further into the dirt is one of them. I see this campaign as a small effort to respond to that with something that imbues into the charts even a little of the current technology-enabled joyous flourishing of real, accessible choice in music listening (and, by extension, music making).

So for that I applaud them, and I've bought a copy. It's not a perfect campaign but it's practically possible for it to succeed, and it's not really important what the track is.
posted by thoughtless at 5:44 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


"You know, it would have been nice to have picked something a bit more Christmasy"
Yeah, I spend enough time being angry without having an angry song at no 1 for Christmas. (So Tim Minchin gets my vote)
posted by edd at 5:50 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can I just say, the campaign made me realise that I always meant to give money to Shelter this year and hadn't - so in 5 mins I went to the website and donated. I may not be the only one now shaken from his laziness - they've almost reached 50,000 pounds...if I can also cancel the smirk from Simon C#*%ell's face, well, so much the better, that will just be a bonus.
posted by MessageInABottle at 5:52 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


X Factor sings Killing in the Name of.
posted by fire&wings


yes! that is fantastic.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 6:00 AM on December 18, 2009


Weird. To me, Rage is a boring and intellectually lazy jock band.

Amen. With a moniker like that, they've effectively pidgeonholed themselves as flaccid corporate protest rock for teenagers before they so much as play a single note.

Rage Against Rage Against The Machine.

Having said that, I kind of like "Guerrilla Radio," having been exposed to it a jillion times back when I was playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:14 AM on December 18, 2009


A lot of my teenage peers loved RATM. I didn't. As a gateway drug to musical activists who actually put their money where their mouths are (e.g., by running indie labels, booking their own lives, etc.), though, you could do worse.
posted by box at 6:23 AM on December 18, 2009


It took me four passes to parse this FPP. Is grammar one of the things you're raging against?
posted by rocket88 at 6:31 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Quoth Tom Morello:

"When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels. Would Noam Chomsky object to his works being sold at Barnes & Noble? No, because that's where people buy their books. We're not interested in preaching to just the converted. It's great to play abandoned squats run by anarchists, but it's also great to be able to reach people with a revolutionary message, people from Granada Hills to Stuttgart."
posted by TheNewWazoo at 6:32 AM on December 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Wait, this Shelter?
posted by josher71 at 6:36 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the band Zack de la Rocha was in before RATM was Inside Out.
posted by josher71 at 6:38 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh, I thought it was funny.
posted by Theta States at 6:48 AM on December 18, 2009


Rage Again against the Machine's Killing in the name is up for Christmas No.1 chart song in the UK due to a Facebook Campaign

News so pressing it merits, nay, demands an unreadable FPP sentence.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:50 AM on December 18, 2009


This seems like an excellent time to introduce Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine!
posted by jbickers at 6:59 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I totally predicted that a half-Kenyan, Harvard graduate becoming president would herald a steep, unexpected rise in Tom Morello stock.

My new, equally awesome prediction is that Killing in the Name will one day be a traditional Christmas song on par with Little Drummer Boy and Jingle Bell Rock. Also, by 2015, a Thomas Nast-like visionary will re-imagine Santa Claus as Mumia Abu Jamal with snow white dreadlocks.
posted by dgaicun at 7:04 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Killing in the name of, you say?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:10 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


We play for Sony
But we're not phony
We're millionaires who don't get the i-rony

Some jackass in a Che Guevara t-shirt
Some jackass in a Che Guevara t-shirt
Some jackass in a Che Guevara t-shirt
Some jackass in a Che Guevara t-shirt
BLEEEAAAAAHHHHHRRRRGGGHHH!!!

Screech-a screech-a screechity-scrit-scrit screeaaacch!

posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:15 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


People not buying anything at all is what's got us into this mess in the first place. It leaves the field wide open for Simon Cowell.

I was hungoverly watching the top selling christmas hits of the noughties on Viva, or 4 music, or somewhere, last weekend, and just about every friggin' one was an X Factor song, and every friggin' one was almost exactly the same. And it killed me inside. This is pop music?

Just what are we doing to our kids?

There's no Smash Hits any more. There's no Top of the Pops.

This at least stirs things up a bit.
posted by Helga-woo at 7:19 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


It is so depressing to see the majority of comments in this thread shitting on Rage.

RATM didn't start this.
RATM is donating the lion's share of proceeds.
RATM is not responsible for your lame impression that it's jock music.
RATM has already addressed the fact that their music is bought and sold:

When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels. Would Noam Chomsky object to his works being sold at Barnes & Noble? No, because that's where people buy their books. We're not interested in preaching to just the converted. It's great to play abandoned squats run by anarchists, but it's also great to be able to reach people with a revolutionary message, people from Granada Hills to Stuttgart.


Go on being cooler than Rage. I'm certain your disdain has reached more young people, funded more charities, and inspired more artists.
posted by fake at 7:22 AM on December 18, 2009 [24 favorites]


We'll know "Killing in the Name" has become a Christmas standard once Mannheim Steamroller releases its Fresh Aire arrangement (complete with tubular bells and Casio flugelhorn).
posted by nicepersonality at 7:27 AM on December 18, 2009


I would pay $0.25 to hear a Mannheim Steamroller version of Rage Against the Machine.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:30 AM on December 18, 2009


It is so depressing to see the majority of comments in this thread shitting on Rage.

Hey, I think it's great that they are activists and they donate so much of their time and money to progressive causes. Great. I do.

But the fact remains that many of us (nations of millions!) think they make terrible, terrible music. Being part of the demographic that swooningly embraced RATM at the height of their popularity, I shudder to think what it would be like to live in the UK now and have to hear that awful song again everywhere.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:30 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a bit bigger than people outside the UK probably realise.

You can dismiss this easily. It doesn't take much to find a snarky reason why this is a stupid protest, or why it doesn't work, or that evil always wins. You can say that Rage are a rubbish band, or they're liked by the wrong kind of person, or they're owned by the evil Sony & isn't that ironic.

You can also tell me what single should have been used. If only you had had the contacts and wherewithall to spark this kind of happening.

But that isn't the point. At this mark, around a quarter of a million people have bought a record as an indication that they are tired of an increasingly puerile pop-music industry. That's not something to be sniffed at. For any single to sell this quantity of copies in a week is almost unheard of.

I'm really proud to have bought my copy of Killing in the name of. It's quite a lazy way of rebelling I suppose, but it's a witty message we're sending that contains swear words. Plus it makes Cowell angry like Hulk. I like that.

Plus I like the song. Don't care if that makes me smaller in your eyes. To me, it's a good angry rebellious song.

The sad thing is though, that all indications have it that The Climb will still make it to number 1. The rebellion will be crushed. The Empire is still strong.
posted by seanyboy at 7:31 AM on December 18, 2009 [16 favorites]


The campaign has raised nearly £50,000 for Shelter and Morello and co are donating all profits to http://musicispower.youthmusic.org.uk/

I think the cynicism and snark in this thread will drown out this lone positive comment I do know the Morters... but hey. I think this vital point (CHARITY) is missing from the post.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the fact remains that many of us (nations of millions!) think they make terrible, terrible music.

Same is true of the X-Factor artist, and he does not have those positive attributes you mention.
posted by fake at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I'm at it, I'll link to this blog entry, which says more than all the typical metafilter dross posted above.

posted by chuckdarwin at 7:35 AM on December 18, 2009


Well, I have no idea what X-Factor sounds like. If The Wisdom of Facebook had chosen a British band with some bona fides to battle the soulless British pop-making machine, it would be different and I'd have no opinion to share. But Rage is an American band and this American can only state that his exposure to them has been less than satisfactory.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:37 AM on December 18, 2009


seanyboy, I don't reckon "The Climb" will win.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:39 AM on December 18, 2009


I think that focusing on the fact that it's RATM or their tune is missing the point, really. It's not about THAT SONG or THAT BAND. It's about trying to keep SC from his Christmas number one, something he believes is rightfully his.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:43 AM on December 18, 2009


My beef with RATM has nothing to do with coolness, or that I don't like their music.

I respectfully disagree with Morello's position. Both punk musicians and leftist activists have successfully maintained alternative information-distribution models (infoshops, zines, indie labels, 'abandoned squats run by anarchists,' etc.) for years. Morello's a smart guy, and he knows all this as well as I do (I think I've even seen photos of him rocking AK Press merch). It's fair to figure that he doesn't think Sony is perfect, and his feelings about multinational capitalism are pretty well-documented.

So my best guess is that he and I disagree about issues of ideological purity and following the money--whether it's appropriate to compromise one's ideological purity in order to reach a larger audience (or, if you'd prefer, whether the master's tools will ever dismantle the master's house). These kinds of issues/questions/whatnot are an enduring problem for radical subcultures. Reducing them to an oversimplified narrative, whether it's the one where RATM are unwilling dupes of the culture industries or the one where haters like me begrudge them their shelf-space at the Best Buy and placement in Tony Hawk games, neither furthers understanding nor accurately reflects a complex situation.
posted by box at 7:44 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


(Um, that mostly was in response to fake's comment above.)
posted by box at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2009


Yeah, I don't care a whit about RATM, but to drop a comment about how much more revolutionary I am than they are is completely missing the point here. Didn't you see the pics in the link? How could you not root for RATM here compared to that goofy tool pop bobblehead guy?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 AM on December 18, 2009


"Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

I prefer Rachel Stamp's version of that line (possibly awful lyrics site, apologies in advance; I can find no video of the song online).

I'm all up for the charidy angle though, and annoying Simon Cowell even just a little bit.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:10 AM on December 18, 2009


Yeah, box, I hear you. Here's the thing, we've had many thousands of punk bands run down the road of purity, with some success. But at this point, we've almost never seen a band go down the other road like Rage -- if nothing else, they provide a hell of a test case for what could be an endless argument.
posted by fake at 8:14 AM on December 18, 2009


To kind of expand on what seanyboy and chuckdarwin were saying above ...

It doesn't really matter what song was chosen for this campaign – I'd be much happier if they'd gone for Fat Lad Exam Failure by Bogshed, mind, but you can't have everything – but there's something pleasing in it being this song in particular. It's petulant, snotty, not very sophisticated and pretty much the sonic equivalent of a teenager slamming his bedroom door after a fight with his parents, which makes it the perfect vehicle for a campaign designed to provoke sputtering rage from someone like Cowell. (I say that as someone who enjoyed its vigorous swearing as a teenager, and still do, in a nostalgic way.)

Cowell knows that he doesn't have much to fear from most of the other people aiming for the number one slot; he's got so much clout that if you're another record company, spending untold marketing dollars going up against the X-Factor juggernaut would be money much better spent on coke and hookers down the drain.

So what's the only option left for the public, sick of another hackneyed bit of anodyne shite by someone who, if they're lucky, will be starring in panto in Filey for the rest of their days? Throw a tantrum.

And what better way to throw a tantrum than by not doing what Cowell tells them, and screaming "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me!"

It's kind of genius, really.
posted by Len at 8:25 AM on December 18, 2009


jbickers: Dammit, I was going to post the same thing, more or less. I've been listening to "People = Shit" on loop as I do my Christmas shopping.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:48 AM on December 18, 2009


Too much blah, blah, blah, not enough listen ...

I'll admit it. Politics aside, I like RATM's music. I even like their cheesy cover album. I even like their Bambaata cover. Blasphemy! (Though the original cannot be beat.)

I loathed Nu Metal, and Rage is pretty close, I guess, but I dunno. I grew up immersed in classic rock/heavy metal/progressive/guitar music (Zep, Hendrix, Floyd, Sabbath, the usuals) and also was really into rap in the '80s (Houdini, Kurtis Blow, UTFO, Public Enemy, etc.). RATM just seemed (seems) like a natural extension. And they're (more blasphemy) fun. They do sorta rock, no?

Anyway, I'm rooting for them. I'm assuming only UK sales are in play here? Non-Brits NNA?

This seems like an excellent time to introduce Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine!

So obvious (don't we all do the same thing in the shower? (Smells Like Teen Spirit is my go-to lounge cover)), and yet so good at the same time!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:19 AM on December 18, 2009


I fail to see where this is about Simon Cowell, specifically. It seems to more be a push-back against tepid pop music which is foisted upon the public, especially around Christmas time, because in Britain having the Christman No. 1 is some kind of magic which is hard to understand unless you live there. The idea that there is enough support for this idea to actually take down the (basically pre-selected) pap which was "supposed" to win means something, I think. That they chose a 17-year-old song with an angry chorus simply raises the middle finger even higher at the basic concept of the predestination of holiday singles having to be horrid.

And to whomever said they don't know what X-Factor sounds like... X-Factor is a television show much like American Idol. It's not a band, it's a genre or an attitude toward music which says that mass selected, mass marketed is always the winner.
posted by hippybear at 9:28 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The question is, why care? Why care if X-factor or whoever is at the top of the charts? If you're tired of "mainstream pap" quit listening to it.

We have the Internet now, you can read what you want, watch what you want, listen to what you want, and discuss it with who you want. There is too much music in the world to get angry over the music you don't like, when you could be spending that time listening to the music you do like.
posted by zabuni at 9:32 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


RATM needs to put out a new freakin album already... something that sounds a little less 1997.
posted by smackwich at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2009


The question is, why care?
Nobody really does to any degree of intensity. That's why this is a light-hearted FaceBook and shopping campaign with a nice charity side-line, rather than a full-dress re-enactment of the Poll Tax riots.
posted by Abiezer at 9:47 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The question is, why care? Why care if X-factor or whoever is at the top of the charts? If you're tired of "mainstream pap" quit listening to it.

I think it's possibly because that shit totally permeates every nook and cranny of our shared social culture. Coffee shops, airports, bus stops, doctor's offices, etc.

Sometimes you just get tired of feeling like the only person in the world who hates all that shit that everyone else supposedly loves, and you want to get all your friends together with their friends and their friends and their friends and their friends and shout "ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI, AND SHE WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO ME!"
posted by mrgrimm at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


zabuni: The question is, why care? Why care if X-factor or whoever is at the top of the charts? If you're tired of "mainstream pap" quit listening to it.

We have the Internet now, you can read what you want, watch what you want, listen to what you want, and discuss it with who you want. There is too much music in the world to get angry over the music you don't like, when you could be spending that time listening to the music you do like.


Well, yes. But when hippybear said "in Britain having the Christman No. 1 is some kind of magic which is hard to understand unless you live there. The idea that there is enough support for this idea to actually take down the (basically pre-selected) pap which was "supposed" to win means something, I think," he's basically spot on.

The Christmas number one is – for anyone under about the age of 45, and who has even a passing interest in British culture – so bound up with Christmas itself in a way that probably seems a bit weird to Americans (or to many other nationalities, for that matter). Maybe this is because Britain is a smaller country, with a much more centralised set of media organisations, and hence a much more strictly defined/controlled set of cultural signifiers that surround Christmas. People invest in the Christmas number one because – less so for kids now, but certainly for two or three generations of their older siblings/parents – it's part of Christmas in the same way that turkey, sneering at the Queen's speech, and falling asleep in front of another showing of The Great Escape is.

I'm not sure if there's an American equivalent; the closest thing I can think of off the cuff is the importance people in the US place on the half time performances and big new ads at the Superbowl – the latter of which, for us in the UK, probably seems as odd a cultural construct to get exicted about as the Christmas number one does to you. In both cases, it isn't about the things in themselves – the ads or the number one song – it's about the ways in which both of them are part of a shared cultural experience which has, for better or worse, helped define a country's interaction with that one event, and what that means to people.

A similar transatlantic oddity – not-so-coincidentally involving a Christmas number one: I was totally shocked to discover – on MeFi, perhaps via a comment by klangklangston – that Slade were some kind of weird cult deal in the states, when over here they were the massively famous epitome of a certain type of 1970s glam rock, and responsible for probably the most-played Christmas song of all time.
posted by Len at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Screw the haters. I fucking love Rage Against the Machine. The first time I heard the original mix of Bombtrack (which I think I still have somewhere) I was blown away. Nothing else sounded like them when they first came out.

Maybe it's because I discovered them working in a college radio station, but their music will forever speak to a younger, angrier version of myself.
posted by quin at 9:59 AM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


On not-preview:

Abiezer: That's why this is a light-hearted FaceBook and shopping campaign with a nice charity side-line, rather than a full-dress re-enactment of the Poll Tax riots.

You say that. But wait 'til you see what Jeremy Deller has lined up for this time next year.
posted by Len at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2009


I actually had that Orgreave thing in mind as I wrote that. Far better than I imagined possible on first hearing of the idea.
posted by Abiezer at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2009


On Chart Battles And Christmas
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get the RAtM hate, but then I enjoy their music. After reading this link I put in "Killing in the Name" on Pandora, and my morning music has been mostly fantastic.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:54 AM on December 18, 2009


It's not so much hate as puzzlement at why anyone would want to make Christmas all about the mid-90s.

Possibly this has a lot to do with the cut-off age for people who still buy music corresponding to people who were in university back then.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2009


Go on being cooler than Rage. I'm certain your disdain has reached more young people, funded more charities, and inspired more artists.

posted by fake at 10:22 AM on December 18 [15 favorites +] [!]


Irony so sweet and poison it feels like morphine.
posted by humannaire at 11:12 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, all the sour snottiness.

Hey, Americans, I think they are saying, 'it's a Brit thing, you wouldn't understand.'

(Just lovin' the 90's christmas spirit.)
posted by Surfurrus at 12:00 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is so depressing to see the majority of comments in this thread shitting on Rage.

You're new here, aren't you?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2009


from the rider:
UNSWEETENED KETCHUP (actually in all caps)

I think it's hilarious the BBC only mentions that the band sang the word "fuck", and not that the CHORUS OF THE SONG is "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me".
You know?

It's pretty funny.
The whole thing. It's one of those things people get high and joke about, but this is actually a pretty big deal.

And hilarious.
posted by smartypantz at 12:57 PM on December 18, 2009


and not that the CHORUS OF THE SONG is "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me".

Shortly thereafter followed by a drawn out scream of "MOTTHHEERRR FUUUCCKKEERR!!" full of anger and bitterness.

I love that. It just so perfectly captures certain moments of my life; Flat tire? Ok. But it's cold, and for whatever reason, your jack isn't in the trunk. Also, you have no gloves. [deep breath] "MOTTHHEERRR FUUUCCKKEERR!!"

Oh yeah, sometimes it's just exactly what you need.
posted by quin at 1:04 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


But the fact remains that many of us (nations of millions!) think they make terrible, terrible music.

Without taking a stance on the juvenile "RAGE SUX!" mefi war, I defy you to name a band about which the same could not be said.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:25 PM on December 18, 2009


Christman?
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 PM on December 18, 2009


I defy you to name a band about which the same could not be said.

The Beatles.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:43 PM on December 18, 2009


Slade were some kind of weird cult deal in the states

Slade were a cult band? All I know is that Slade were completely awesome.

I would be surprised if more than 10,000 people in the world would volunteer when asked that RATM made "terrible, terrible music" - a very small percentage of the world thinks they're good, a smaller percentage thinks they suck, and 99% of the world couldn't give two shits.

Let's not pretend RATM is like Creed or Nickelback or Lady Gaga or something.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:59 PM on December 18, 2009


The first time I heard RAtM, I honestly thought Eazy-E had gotten a punk band backing him. This wasn't long after Ice T got Body Count together, after all, and Zach sounded a lot like Easy-E. But then I listened to the lyrics, realized he wasn't singing about beating women, and knew it couldn't be him.

Having said that "Killing in the Name" is pretty weak. "Know Your Enemy" was a much better song. And totally Christmasy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:29 PM on December 18, 2009


The Beatles.

The original manufactured pap band. Very dull.
posted by i_cola at 3:45 PM on December 18, 2009


Boring dipshits. Not RATM, you.
posted by mr.marx at 4:32 PM on December 18, 2009


Len - that Slade were some kind of weird cult deal in the states, when over here they were the massively famous epitome of a certain type of 1970s glam rock, and responsible for probably the most-played Christmas song of all time.

In my British ex-pat household, that damned song was on constant 45rpm rotation during Christmas.
It was quite a while before I realized no one at school but me knew the words.
posted by madajb at 5:14 PM on December 18, 2009


The omnipresence of that song over Christmas irritates some folks, but when you move away and it's not there all the time you kind of miss it.

Anyway, Fairytale of New York is the best and most Christmassy song of all time, and that is that. RATM are lightweights.
posted by Artw at 5:17 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Beatles.

The original manufactured pap band. Very dull.


Let me guess: You are under 25 and completely devoid of musical talent. Amirite?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:33 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone needs an "I'm so edgy I openly piss on the Beatles" stage. It's good for the soul.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:35 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


They'll be taking a swing at the Sex Pistols next.

Manufactured bands are sometimes awesome. Hang ups about "authenticity" are for dullards.
posted by Artw at 5:43 PM on December 18, 2009


"Know Your Enemy" was a much better song. And totally Christmasy.

Not to mention the fantastic Maynard James Keenan cameo.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 12:03 AM on December 19, 2009


Surfurrus has fully understood what's actually going on, here: "Hey, Americans, I think they are saying, 'it's a Brit thing, you wouldn't understand.'"

Correct. It's a pradigm displayed here so often as to make the site unfriendly and sometimes unusable.

The culture of snotty, condescending isolationism has been going SO WELL for America, too!
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:17 AM on December 19, 2009


Rage won the #1 spot.
posted by Don't_deceive_with_belief at 11:29 AM on December 20, 2009


The last big Christmas battle on a similar scale was between the Spice Girls' Goodbye and South Park character Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls in 1998. The Spice Girls won with 380,000 to their rival's 375,000.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:33 AM on December 20, 2009


I'm glad that Rage won. I've been all in favor of this prank, and it doesn't matter to me where the money's gone. It's history-jamming, pure and simple. Some day, somebody (probably some poor schlub of a grad student) will be analyzing the Christmas chart winners, come across "Killing in the Name" and say "Huh?" It's all worth it just for that one future moment of confusion. And if it doesn't matter, and nobody ever looks at the results, then maybe we could keep that in mind and turn our collective attention to things that do make a difference instead.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:25 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The bookies were caught out too, this is an interesting chapter in the history of the internet, in the UK at least
"We were of the opinion that the X Factor was unbeatable but it looks like we will be proved wrong," said Rupert Adam, spokesman for bookmaker William Hill, said before the chart was announced.

"The industry will certainly be paying out a six figure sum, perhaps seven."
reuters news article
posted by memebake at 12:43 PM on December 20, 2009


I think it's the perfect song for Britain at the moment, what with the BNP's recent popularity and all.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:00 PM on December 20, 2009


Pretty much the same phenomena in both cases: low turnout + protest against the candidate that is "supposed" to win.
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on December 20, 2009


"They can't be serious!" he [Joe McElderry] said. "I had no idea what it sounded like. It's dreadful and I hate it. How could anyone enjoy this? Can you imagine the grandmas hearing this over Christmas lunch?
I wouldn't buy it. It's a nought out of ten from me. Simon Cowell wouldn't like it. They wouldn't get through to boot camp on The X Factor - they're just shouting."


I'm pretty sure my gran wouldn't like it much, but then I'm pretty sure she would hate Joe's single too. I might put it on when I'm doing the dishes.
posted by jonesor at 1:34 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, so I'm not particularly hip and just now heard "Killing in the Name" for the first time. Why the hell would people listen to that when they can listen to Big Black instead?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:43 PM on December 20, 2009


Let me guess: You are under 25 and completely devoid of musical talent. Amirite?

It's a joke you dimwit.
posted by i_cola at 2:35 PM on December 20, 2009


It's history-jamming, pure and simple. Some day, somebody (probably some poor schlub of a grad student) will be analyzing the Christmas chart winners, come across "Killing in the Name" and say "Huh?"

Probably not. Previous UK Christmas number one singles includes Bob The Builder and Mr Blobby.

It's not even the first song to get big Christmas sales thanks to internet campaigns. Four years ago, "JCB Song" became a Christmas number 2 hit.

This is more interesting: "it is the first single to reach the top of the charts on download sales alone and has achieved the biggest download sales total in a first week ever in the UK charts."
posted by iviken at 2:35 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, how much extra dough did Cowell pocket because of this stunt?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on December 20, 2009


Burhanistan: Ok, so I'm not particularly hip and just now heard "Killing in the Name" for the first time. Why the hell would people listen to that when they can listen to Big Black instead?

Referencing Big Black, eh? I believe you just lost the I'm Less Hip Than You game :)
posted by Kattullus at 3:17 PM on December 20, 2009


Probably not. Previous UK Christmas number one singles includes Bob The Builder and Mr Blobby.

But those make more sense, I think, since they were actually prominent parts of pop culture at the time, whereas "Killing in the Name" has essentially been dug up from the vaults just for this purpose. When "Bohemian Rhapsody" won in 1991, it was on a single with the brand new release "These Are The Days Of Our Lives," and also commemorated Freddie Mercury, who had just died.

It's not even the first song to get big Christmas sales thanks to internet campaigns. Four years ago, "JCB Song" became a Christmas number 2 hit.

Ah, but it didn't win. No, I think this is something new.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2009


I blame the demise of woolworths. Where are grannies to buy their one record of the year now?
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on December 20, 2009


Brooker - Rage Against the Machine? Raging within the machine will do for now
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


From The Guardian's Data Blog: Every Christmas Nr. 1. Includes info about how long each song stayed in the charts. I never knew that The Pet Shop Boys had bagged a Christmas #1 record.
posted by Kattullus at 12:45 AM on December 28, 2009


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