Wake Up (Rage Against the Machine song)


Wake Up (Rage Against the Machine song)

Song infobox
Name=Wake Up


Artist=Rage Against the Machine
Album=Rage Against the Machine
Released=November 3, 1992
track_no=7
Genre=Alternative metal
Length=6:04
Writer=Zack de la Rocha
Composer=Rage Against the Machine
Label=Epic Records
Producer=Garth 'GGGarth' Richardson, Rage Against the Machine
prev="Know Your Enemy"
prev_no=6
next="Fistful of Steel"
next_no=8
"Wake Up" is a song performed by the metal/Funk/Rap band Rage Against the Machine. It is the seventh track from their self-titled debut album.

The lyrics discuss racism within the American government and the counter-intelligence programs of the FBI; a spoken portion of the song is taken from an actual FBI memo in which J. Edgar Hoover suggests targets for the suppression of the black nationalist movement. [ [http://homepages.peakpeak.com/~jking/current/current.html] ] The song also makes references to prominent black figures targeted by the government such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., and goes as far as saying that the government arranged their assassinations.

The closing lines to the song are:

"How long, not longbecause what you reap is what you sow"

These lyrics refer to a speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. called How Long, Not Long at the end of the Selma to Montgomery March on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Montgomery, Alabama. The final lines in that speech read "How long? Not long, because "you shall reap what you sow."

The song is one of the bands signature songs, despite, like Take the Power Back, never being released as a single.

The opening riffs of the song are somewhat reminiscent of the opening chords of the Led Zeppelin song "Kashmir". A shorter version of the song is memorably featured at the end of the 1999 film "The Matrix", though the version on the is listed at 6:03, just one second shorter than the original track. This is a nod to both the band's name (the main antagonists of the movie are sentient machines) as well the name of the song (in the movie, humans are kept dormant so that they can be used to produce energy for the machines). The song is notable in that it features multiple musical parts, in an almost suite-like manner, and runs over 6 minutes. Its structure is very similar in this way to that of "Freedom," another track from the album, and it is a formula Rage would use many times throughout their career. There is also heavy use of quiet-to-loud dynamics, which was common in music during the early nineties. Most recently, "Wake Up" appeared in the debut episode of the ABC series Dirty Sexy Money in 2007.

Since their early live performances Zack has frequently used the final breakdown in the song to make statement about political & social issues, much in the same way as the album recording. At the 2007 Coachella Festival De la Rocha made a speech during the song, citing a statement by Noam Chomsky regarding the Nuremberg Trials, [http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/rage/ Tom Morello interviews Noam Chomsky] , "ZMag". Accessed June 21, 2007.] as follows:

The event led to a media furor. [cite web
date=May 4, 2007
title=Rage Against Bush
work=Spin
url=http://www.spin.com/features/everybodystalkingabout/2007/05/070504_rage/
accessdate=2007-05-15
] A clip of Zack's speech found its way to the Fox News program "Hannity & Colmes". An on-screen headline read, "Rock group 'Rage Against the Machine' says Bush admin should be shot." Ann Coulter (a guest on the show) quipped, "They’re losers, their fans are losers, and there's a lot of violence coming from the left wing."

On July 28 at their performance at the Rock the Bells festival in NYC, they made another speech during Wake Up just as they had done at Coachella. During this, De La Rocha made another statement, defending the band from Fox News, who he alleged misquoted his speech at Coachella:

At the Voodoo Music Festival, during the performance of "Wake Up," De La Rocha gave a rousing speech about his experience in the 9th Ward of post-katrina New Orleans. De La Rocha stated that the United States is fighting two wars: one in Iraq and one "against the people of New Orleans," before breaking into screams of "Wake Up!" at the end of the song.

At the Big Day Out in Australia 2008, De La Rocha gave a speech discouraging globalism, as it makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer, and applauded the crowd for voting out former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, then broke into screams of "Wake Up"

References


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