Rage Against the Machine vs Simon Cowell

Rage-Against-The-Machine-Killing-In-The-NameThe X Factor winner has been announced and Joe McElderry is likely to follow the trend of the last few years by achieving the No 1 single this Christmas. It’s a bummer, especially when McElderry’s song is not even original. The Climb, owned by Sony Music Entertainment, is a country pop song performed by American recording artist and actress Miley Cyrus for the 2009 film Hannah Montana: The Movie. Lameness personified. One of the biggest criticisms of X Factor is the karaoke nature of the show, in which contestants perform renditions of songs by successful pop artists. And a karaoke Christmas single merely confirms this view. That is why, this year, a facebook campaign has been launched by Tracy and Jon Morter, entitled “Rage Against the Machine for Christmas No 1”.

The facebook group encourages members to get Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In The Name to the number one spot by purchasing a download of the song, also owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Rage Against the Machine is a band that openly challenges ‘the system’ and conformity achieved through indoctrination and propaganda. Although it seems apt for this type of band to challenge Simon Cowell’s music empire, members of the public have noted the irony of the use of an orchestrated campaign to assert independence: ‘the many’ being conditioned by ‘the few’ to buy a preselected song. Perhaps in this case the means justify the end, irrespective of the ideological consistencies. The thought of having a Rage song as the Christmas No. 1 is just too juicy.

Thus far, the facebook group has 818, 791 members. According to Guardian.co.uk, last year’s No 1, Alexandra Burke’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, sold 576,000 copies in its opening week. Leon Jackson, who won the competition in 2007, achieved the Christmas No 1 after selling 275,000 copies of his single When You Believe in its opening week. If all facebook members do indeed purchase Killing In The Name there is a chance that the 1992 song could clinch the No 1 title. Guardian.co.uk reports that Rage Against the Machine is leading the way but that the Official Chart Company said the “gap had closed considerably” since Wednesday morning, when McElderry trailed behind Rage Against the Machine by approximately 60,000 sales. Bookies still favour the X Factor winner to top the charts.

In an interview with BBC6 earlier this week, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello said of the campaign: “I think people are fed up of being spoon-fed some sugary ballad that sits on top of the charts. It’s a little dose of anarchy.” Morello also said some of the proceeds from the sale of Killing in the Name would go to a UK-based charity called Youth Music, which provides children with access to music education and training. He also said that the homeless charity Shelter would receive some of the profits. Rage Against the Machine singer Zack de la Rocha told Radio 5 Live that the campaign was: “a wonderful statement… it says something about the real tensions that people are experiencing all over the UK and US as well, as people would love to experience something which reflects this.”

Up with Rage! Up with protest!