Analysis of the song "testify" by rage against the machine.

Essay by HeadHunter311University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2003

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Rage Against The Machine: Testify

Rage Against The Machine (Rage) consisted of four members. Lead vocalist and songwriter Zack de la Rocha and guitarist Tom Morello are the most politically active of the group. Morello's father was a member of the Mau Mau guerilla army that freed Kenya from British colonial rule, while his mother is a founding member of Parents for Rock and Rap, an anti-censorship group. De la Rocha's mother holds a Ph. D. in anthropology, while his father was a member of "Los Four," a group that depicted Chicano history through pictures. It appears that de la Rocha's father, who had a nervous breakdown, was religiously demanding, requiring that Zack embrace the Bible in all parts of his life. This may, at least in part, explain the group's apparent disdain for organized religion. The band released four separate albums, plus numerous live and specialty releases, prior to their break up.

The song I chose to study is Testify off their third LP The battle of Los Angeles. Like most of Rage Against the Machine's songs, this one talks a lot about capitalist greed. In this particular song, Zack de la Rocha is showing how capitalist greed leads to a loss of life. This can be seen in the lines "The car is our wheelchair, my witness your coughing. Oily silence mocks the leg less, now traveling in coffins."

The capitalist greed for oil and the rush for oil that has led to numerous wars is also described in the lines. "The pipeline is gushing, while here we lie in tombs," and "mass graves for the pump and the price is set." Marx himself was quite clear about the fact that capitalism breeds greed.

Rage Against the Machine also addresses the media's role in hate and warmongering...