Top 15 Rise Against Songs: Part 3 of 3

(Looking for parts 1 and 2? Over here and over here.)

I would’ve had this post up sooner, but the internet at my place decided to up and die on me. Because I’m completely useless with technology, it’s taken me until now to post this. Apologies.

Also, I realise that Black Market has been out for almost a week, and I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty damn solid. It’s got some crap songs, for sure (“Sudden Life”, anyone?) but songs like “The Eco-Terrorist In Me”, “People Live Here” and “Zero Visibility” would likely make this list if I actually took the time to do a little hard work and go back to update it. However, it’s unreasonable to assume that somebody who, as a kid, once spent an entire afternoon trying to determine if he could get high off of snorting “Sour Patch Kids” sugar would actually show initiative of any sort. Also, when I say “as a kid”, I actually mean “Last Friday”.

 

5. “Help Is On the Way ” 

Album: Endgame (2011) (Single)

Genres: Melodic hardcore

Written by: Tim McIlrath

An  intense, pounding melodic  punk song, “Help Is On the Way” not only has one of my favourite opening lines in music history (” I have my mother’s dreams/I have my father’s eyes/You can’t take that from me/Just go ahead and try”), but is also the band’s most commercially successful single, reaching as high as 2 on the Billboard Rock and Alternative Charts, and 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. Can you say “indie cred lost?”

 

“Maybe. Can you say: “gold-plated private jet?””- Rise Against

4. “Audience of One”

Album: Appeal to Reason (2008) (Single)

Genre: Alternative Rock

Written by: Tim McIlrath

I know it’s not exactly cool to like a song that is about as punk as James Cameron is subtle, but I guess I’ll just have to take up with my crust punk friends.

Or, realistically, I’ll just timidly agree with anything they have to say.

“Audience of One is pretty much a straight mainstream rock song, but it’s anthemic and really damn catchy. Elitists may roll their eyes at it, but it’s still the best thing to come out of what was kind of a mediocre album.

 

3. “Give it All” 

Album: The Sufferer and the Witness (2006) (Single)

Genre: Hardcore punk, melodic hardcore

Written by: Tim McIlrath

WE GIVE IT AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!

NOW THERE’S A REEEEEASSOOONNN WHYYYYY II SIIIIIIIIIIINNNG!!!!!

SO GIVE IT AAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!

AND IT’S THESE REASONS THAT BELONG TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

2. “Swing Life Away” 

 Album: Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004)

Genre: Acoustic rock

Written by: Tim McIlrath

An introspective acoustic song (The only one on SSOtCC), “Swing Life Away” is just a really sweet, optimistic (How about that?) tune about reminiscing about the past while keeping an eager eye towards the future.  Fun fact: It’s the only Rise Against song to ever chart in the Billboard Pop Chart, at 95.

 

1.  “Prayer of the Refugee” 

Album: Appeal to Reason (2008) (Single)

Genre: Melodic hardcore

Writer: Tim McIlrath

Instantly recognizable thanks to its opening guitar rhythm and Tim McIlrath’s melancholy singing, “Prayer of the Refugee” is a fiery, fist-pump inducing call to arms for the downtrodden and the oppressed, and a furious denouncement of capitalism,  being the conversation between a refugee and his son, with the father recounting tales of the past prosperity of his people, their current misery, and finally encouraging his son to rebel against the oppressors and change the world for the better.

I may get into why this song means so much to me later, but the short version is this: My dad is a refugee from El Salvador who came to Canada fleeing a tin-pot military dictatorship (The default setting for Latin American countries). Being a highly opinionated political activist, who has always encouraged me to remember my roots and fight for my beliefs and for what’s right, in general. So when Tim is singing about “Singing through the day/Of the lives that we’ve lost/And the lives we’ve reclaimed” it kind of feels like my dad’s recounting tales about his home country and instilling hope in my cynical, jaded, know-it all mind.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Sour Patch Kids to inhale.

To be continued…