25 Songs of Rebellion

rebellion [ri-bel-yuh n] noun: 1. open, organized, and armed resistance to one’s government or ruler. 2. resistance to or defiance of any authority, control, or tradition. 3. the act of rebelling.

Or maybe it’s as simple as not eating your Brussels sprouts. Ferris Buller said, “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” Before music was made for the masses, people had to rebel in more physical ways. The French didn’t take kindly to recommendations on cake eating. The American revolutionaries didn’t savor “taxation without representation.” Though today may not be as desperate (depending on who you talk to) it’s easier to put on some Rage Against the Machine or Arctic Monkeys and release a little steam from your valve.

With the struggles our modern day: rent goes up while paychecks stay the same, smartphone batteries that don’t last a day, gluten oppression, being told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, mass shootings, a movie you’ve been looking forward to not opening up in Salt Lake, gas prices, liquor laws, pot laws, potholes, unbreathable air, sexual politics, mass incarceration,  Playboy doing away with nude pictures, sad zoo animals, the length of time between seasons of “Game of Thrones”, restless leg syndrome, people driving the wrong way around Sugarhouse Park, the new bike lanes downtown, concert tickets prices, paying a fee to pay a bill, Kardashians, people who fart in elevators and cold pizza – there’s no shortage reasons to be disgruntled.

Worked up? Good. Go to your angry place and listen to these songs. Misery loves company, but rebellion loves music.

1. Arctic Monkeys “Riot Van”

“Have you been drinking son, you don’t look old enough to me/I’m sorry officer is there a certain age you’re supposed to be?/’Cause nobody told me…” Sure, it’s a mellow track, but looking for a good time without harassment is pretty much the modern struggle and Arctic Monkeys nail the struggle in a subdued, yet effective way: don’t get caught, keep your mouth shut and what really constitutes a crime.

2. Rage Against the Machine “Sleep Now in the Fire”

In one of those Batman movie the Joker proclaims, “Victims – aren’t we all?” Prescription exploitation, the environment, business as usual – it’s all a day in the life of a capitalist globe for Zack de la Rocha and crew.

3. Guttermouth “1, 2, 3…Slam”

Parents are a flawed obstacle, right? So why not exploit, exploit, exploit.

4. The Clash “Bankrobber”

Growing old, not cutting it and fading away in a chair…if it’s where we are to end up, why not do what you want now?

5. Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen”

We don’t all have a queen, but it’s nice that Johnny Rotten could get this jingle prepared for the Queen’s jubilee.

6. T. Rex “Children of the Revolution”

Distraction is easy. Hell, this list is probably one, but T. Rex worked in repetiion to let it be known the children of the revolution won’t be fooled.

7. Nine Inch Nails “Capital G”

George W. inpired so many things: comedy, partisanship and many, many songs (see #17 and #19 for further proof).

8. U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

Hands down one of U2’s biggest songs about an incident in Northern Ireland where troops opened fire on civilians.

9. Bad Religion “Fuck You”

Sometimes, you don’t want to change anything. You just want some simple satisfaction as recommended here, “Sometimes it takes no thought at all/The easiest thing to do/Is say fuck you/Pavlovian rude/A menace too/Pay homage to/Your bad attitude.” Well, there you go.

10. Rage Against the Machine “Maggie’s Farm” (Bob Dylan cover)

Rage was going to make this list twice, but you knew that. This time chanelling Bob Dylan with a song with so many meanings depending on how you read it. Is it about Bob Dylan’s move to electric? Slavery? Exploitatin in any way you feel exploited? Institutionalized opperssion? However you relate to the lyrics, Rage Against the Machine do it justice.

11. Propaghandi “Anti-Manifesto”

Does art actually mean anything? Well, I suppose that is what this entire list is about. That’s why this song was a must. It’s either a costume or it’s who you are.

12. Pearl Jam “Glorified G”

It’s an anti-gun song. According to Wikipedia, the song was inspired by Abbruzzese, Pearl Jam’s drummer, buying a couple of guns: “I told our manager that I just bought a coupla guns and he told Jeff, and at rehearsal Jeff kinda blurted it out. And Eddie went, ‘Whaaaat, you bought a GUN?’ And I said, ‘In fact, I bought two,’ which ended up as the opening line of the song. I think it’s fair to say Eddie was pretty outraged.”

13. NOFX “The Irrationality of Rationality”

Same message as Everlast’s “What It’s Like”, but 1,000 times better.

14. Suicidal Tendancies “Institutionalized”

This is going to sound a lot like something Bill Burr would say, but to me this song is about wanting what we want when we want it. Oh, and overzealous parents.

15. CIV “Can’t Wait One Minute More”

Stop talking about it and get off your ass and do it…take out the garbage.

16. The Gossip “Standing in the Way of Control”

This track was written by Beth Ditto in response to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which was passed in the United State, banning same-sex marriage. She, nor many, were not a fan. Good things those days of discrimination are behind us, right…?

17. Bright Eyes “When the President Talks to Good”

Conor Oberst was and probably is the biggest fan of George W. Bush he wrote this nice little song for him. Enjoy!

18. Pennywise “Fuck Authority”

Because, you know, fuck authority. Like the song says.

19. Green Day “Favorite Son”

Just because the apple falls far from the tree doesn’t mean it isn’t an apple. It just may not be the most desireable one.

20. The Dead Kennedys “Kill the Poor”

Always the easiest solution. Also, a good train of thought on who science really serves.

21. The Smiths “Meat is Murder”

Last time Moz came to town the video accompanying his performance had me rushing out of the venue looking for fresh air. I didn’t make it. I passed out and knocked my noggin’. Message pounded into my head, literally.

22. Beastie Boys “Sabotage”

Do I really need to explain this one?

23. The Vandals “Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)”

Order your oppression with like a super value combo. Although, I’m not sure if, “walking into a deli and urinating on the cheese” is freedom. I suppose it is anarchy.

24.Skinny Puppy “Testure”

Morrissey is not the only animal lover on this list, as any Skinny Puppy fan can attest to, though the lyrics can clarify this for the uninitiated: “Force the point of habit/Eyes burn in a rabbit/Push the pain test button/Spines cut.”

25. System of a Down “Prison Song”

5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. System of a Down had a very good crystal ball.

Hopefully, you are feeling a little better if not inspired. I know I do. If you want to enjoy this list in its entirety I’ve made this handy playlist for you.

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