The momentous news that Rage Against the Machine are set to reunite to play shows in 2020 has fans buzzing everywhere — its been more than eight long years since Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk stepped onto a stage together to perform the anthemic protest songs that catapulted them to fame and infamy throughout the 1990s. With that excitement fresh and the band once again on the readers' minds, we asked you to pick RATM's single best song — here are the top five vote-getters.
The turn of the century saw Rage nearly a decade into their career and more relevant than ever, speaking to an even wider audience and array of sociopolitical evils. This Battle of Los Angeles single rides on a stream-of-consciousness lyrical style from Zack de la Rocha and roaring riffs courtesy of Tom Morello before breaking into a punchy breakdown that'll drive almost anyone to the pit.
Less aggressively political and more self-referential, the closer to the band's self-titled album, "Freedom," saw Rage Against the Machine settle into their own and create something down-tempo and dynamic that makes for the perfect mid-set song to make waves in an undulating crowd of thousands. Of course, it also explodes in some of the greatest screams put down on tape.
What's a way to take one of the greatest Rage songs ever and make it even better? Add Tool's own Maynard James Keenan on eerie, slow-burning guest vocals and Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins on additional percussion. 1992 never sounded better or more like itself.
By 1996, RATM were well-established as a massively successful act based on the commercial breakthrough of their self-titled debut. This lead single off the band's follow-up, Evil Empire, arrived with great anticipation and more than delivered on the promise of their existing material, from its iconic wah-wah riff to Morello's DJ-scratching solo to the infectious chant-along chorus. Even if you loathe rap, rock or politics in music, you can't deny it's a fucking banger.
One of Rage's earliest hits, "Killing in the Name" is an explosive introduction to just how ferocious and fiery yet hooky and infectious the politically charged band could be. Police brutality and institutional racism were already hot-button issues of the day, but Rage brought them to the mainstream masses — even if the deeper meaning was lost on many fans for whom the song is just the ultimate "fuck you" anthem.