Bulls on Parade Analytical Essay

Topics: Rage Against the Machine, Bulls on Parade, Saturday Night Live Pages: 5 (781 words) Published: April 26, 2007
Jordan Friedlander-Tapia

Composition II

Mrs Frogatt

Rage against the Machine: Bulls On Parade

Bulls on Parade is a famous song created by Rage Against The Machine in 1996 which

brought their second album "Evil Empire" to sixth on the all time billboard record sales. Although

one can try to name the main themes in this song, its not necessarily on any one subject. This song is

has extremely complex lyrics that one has to "dig" into. Although one may think there is no political

message behind the song upon hearing it for the first time, One will clearly see that the lead singer

who wrote the song is talking about the American Structure of force.

"This song deals with what is commonly referred to as "military industrial complex" which

is the tendency of the arms industry to encourage military action in order to gain military contracts

and obviously increase profits" according to Zach DeLa Rocha the lead singer of rage against the

Machine (Vasher 65). This fact was made apparent by the lyrics: "Weapons; not food, not

homes, not need, just feed the war cannibal-animal," and "what we don't know keeps the contracts

alive and moving, they don't have to burn the books they just remove em." These are just a couple

of examples of the several allusions to the military- industrial notion throughout the song. Rage

against the machine have always had a political agenda with their songs. One can even remember

the famous Saturday Night Live episode (Alluc.org) where a presidential candidate was guest

starring and during their set they hung an upside down banner of the American flag because of his

backing towards such groups as Haliburton and foreign intervention on our part into other countries.

In Bulls of Parade the notion that the government uses fear of terrorism to manipulate the

American population into supporting fraudulent actions is an extremely accurate accusation and something that our countries government shoves under the table. For instance the words: "Terror

reigns, drenching, quenching the thirst of the power dons" is essentially criticizing the American

military as their war turns the higher in command into a higher social class due to their riches. Even

the term Terror reigns could be interpreted as a double entendre where the terror is not only from our

government invading but the rebels possibly taking their possessions as well. Even with the term

"The rotten sore on mother earth gets bigger, the triggers could empty its purse." describes the

downside of war on our planet and that by emptying its purse, it empties out human beings.

The song also mentions the idea that education is an important factor in a countries society

and that militaries often burn the national libraries down thus depriving its people of the joys of

books; and instead turns them into cemeteries. "I walk to the corner the rubble that used to be a

library. Line up the mind cemetery. What we don't know keeps the contract alive and moving they

don't gotta burn the books they just remove them. While arms warehouses fill as quick as the cells,

rally round the family pocket full of shells."One can find these lyrics extraordinarily close to the

truth especially when linking these lyrics to such invasions as the Iraqi invasion and the enforcement

of troops in Panama. One thing this songs imagery does convey is death.

Out of all the lyrics in this song, the shameless coldheartedness that the listener may feel

while the words "Rally round your family with a pocket full of shells" is being repeated and shouted

constantly throughout the song. One's mind is probably wandering off thinking of the south

American casualties that have been killed during military invasions. Constant imagery is being

poured in peoples mind; which is one of the reasons why this song has topped billboard charts during


Cited: Rolling Stone Magazine page 48-52 August issue 2006; Top 10 guitar solos ever played
Nate Vasher, Rolling Stone magazine page 64-69 January issue 2007; "Why wont RATM
just reunite."
www.Alluc.org ( Saturday night live performance of rage against the Machine Archive)
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