My take on the Rage Against The Machine/Joe McElderry chart battle
by, 20th December 2009 at 03:45 PM (409 Views)
My immediate thought: HELL YES! THE INTERNET HAS SPOKEN! \m/
However, there are many questions and answers regarding this from critics of the movement to get RATM to Christmas #1 in the UK. They are:
What exactly was the campaign?
Simple. Joe McElderry won the UK talent show The X-Factor this year. What's happened since 2005 with winner Shane somethingorother is that the winner has been practically guaranteed the Christmas #1, only to fade into obscurity shortly afterwards (with the exceptions of Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke who seem to still be around).
Now, that made the charts incredibly boring around this time of year. Every year, Simon Cowell and his X-Factor brand always had Christmas #1, virtually unopposed. Ergo, this year, in 2009, rather than virtually unopposed, a campaign was started on Faccebook so that the X-Factor winner would be virtually opposed. The plan was to download as many legal copies of "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against The Machine in the final week before Christmas, so that it would beat the winner of this year's X-Factor.
But that's not fair on Joe! He worked so hard to win!
Maybe, but the campaign wasn't against Joe. The same would have happened if Olly, Stacie or even (heaven forbid) John and Edward won.
Anyway, how long did he work for? A few months. Killling in the Name was released in 1992. RatM have been working a lot longer, and so have so many other bands.
But why Killing in the Name? Wasn't this about saving the British charts?
Yes, it was. Nationality isn't a reason for counting or discounting the sale of a single. It was about sending a message to Simon Cowell that you can't have a single brand have a monopoly on the charts, especially the most prestigious chart of the year.
So if this is against Simon Cowell, isn't it hypocritical to use an act signed to a Sony label, the same as all of his? The money will go to him anyway.
No. RATM are signed to Epic Records. Simon Cowell owns the Syco label. Syco earns money for itself and Sony, Epic earns money for Epic and Sony. Syco and Epic don't earn money for each other.
Anyway, RATM are putting all the money they're making towards homeless charity Shelter. Ergo, it doesn't go the label in the first place.
Wouldn't it be better to use a Christmas song?
Name me a good Christmas protest song.
That one by John Lennon and Yoko Ono? Jonah Lewie's "Stop the Cavalry"?
Too war-specific. Rage Against the Machine, however, feature corporate greed as one of the things they oppose.
But it's not festive!
And a Miley fucking Cyrus cover is?
RATM are only doing this for the publicity and attention!
They had nothing to do with it. The song was chosen and backed by the people.
Okay, well why did you support this cause?
The pop charts aren't exactly a bastion of music that I like (I personally don't believe in such a thing as good/bad taste). However, the last Christmas #1 that wasn't a cover was back in 2002 (Girls Aloud: "Sound of the Underground) and the last that wasn't an X-Factor winner was 2004 (Band Aid 20: "Do They Know It's Christmas?"). Ergo, not only is Killing in the Name the first Christmas #1 that hasn't been by an X-Factor winner in five years, but also the first that's been an original song in seven years (and, indeed, only three overall in the noughties) and the first ever to be Christmas #1 purely due to downloads. Music history in the making. <3
There's the charity thing I mentioned earlier, which you can't say about Joe McElderry's release.
Let's not forget that I actually like the song. With all the whole "Fuck you I won't do what Cowell tells me", it's easy to overlook the fact it's actually a great song.
Finally, it proves that there are still people who care about bands who are willing to put some effort in and do something unique, as well as people who are willing to stand up against mediocrity.
So yeah, Merry Christmas. xoxo
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