|Single by Rage Against the Machine|
|from the album Godzilla: The Album|
|Released||12 February 1998|
|Format||CD, 7", 12"|
|Songwriter(s)||Tim Commerford, Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk|
|Rage Against the Machine singles chronology|
"No Shelter" is a song by Rage Against the Machine, released in 1998 on the Godzilla soundtrack. It can also be found as a bonus track on the Australian, Japanese and European release of The Battle of Los Angeles in 1999. The song is about how the mass media distracts the public from more important issues in the world and manipulates people's minds.
Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1991, the group consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk. Their songs express revolutionary political views. As of 2010, they had sold over 16 million records worldwide.
Godzilla is a 1998 American monster film directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich. The film is a reimagining of Toho's Godzilla franchise and is the 23rd film in the franchise and the first Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Michael Lerner, and Harry Shearer. The film is dedicated to Tomoyuki Tanaka, the co-creator and producer of various Godzilla films, who died in April 1997.
The Battle of Los Angeles is the third studio album by American rock band Rage Against the Machine, released on November 2, 1999 by Epic Records. The album was nominated at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album. The album was recognized by both Time and Rolling Stone magazines as the best album of 1999.
The song discusses consumerism and criticizes the feigned rebelliousness of teenaged consumerism, mentioning Nike and Coca-Cola particularly. Its central theme, however, is media control over public sentiment. In particular it attacks the historical inaccuracy of Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad .
Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area. It is the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of US$24.1 billion in its fiscal year 2012. As of 2012, it employed more than 44,000 people worldwide. In 2014 the brand alone was valued at $19 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses. As of 2017, the Nike brand is valued at $29.6 billion. Nike ranked No. 89 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The drink's name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves, and kola nuts. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published.
Steven Allan Spielberg is an American filmmaker. He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and producers in film history.
Despite appearing on the Godzilla soundtrack, the song contains the following line:
Godzilla, pure motherfucking filler; to get your eyes off the real killer.
"No Shelter" made its live debut on January 28, 1999, at the Continental Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. That show was a benefit show for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political activist and journalist who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He became widely known while on death row for his writings and commentary on the criminal justice system in the United States. After numerous appeals, his death penalty sentence was overturned by a Federal court. In 2011, the prosecution agreed to a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. He entered the general prison population early the following year.
Released "during the lull between Evil Empire and The Battle of Los Angeles" the band's critics held that the song's placement "in one of the biggest summer movies of 1998...reeked of selling out and hopping in bed with the enemy."In response, guitarist Tom Morello told an interviewer for Kerrang! "A lot of times a soundtrack is an opportunity to collaborate with musicians you admire. It's an opportunity to work outside of your band, or exercise -- you know, to flex your musical abilities when Rage has downtime. Out of Godzilla, we happened to get a great song in No Shelter."
Appearing at Woodstock 1999 the band opened with the song. In a piece recalling his attendance at the performance journalist David Samuels noted "The cultural contradictions involved in [RATM's] playing agitprop to a $150-a-ticket crowd are evident from the band's first song, "No Shelter," a Marcusian anthem and also the bands contribution to the soundtrack for the movie Godzilla. It is at once an angry grad-student rant, denouncing the cultural myth that "buyin' is rebellin'," and also proof of the near-infinite capacity of that culture to absorb any criticism as long as it features kick-ass guitars."
Herbert Marcuse was a German-American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Born in Berlin, Marcuse studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin and then at Freiburg, where he received his PhD. He was a prominent figure in the Frankfurt-based Institute for Social Research – what later became known as the Frankfurt School. He was married to Sophie Wertheim (1924–1951), Inge Neumann (1955–1973), and Erica Sherover (1976–1979). In his written works, he criticized capitalism, modern technology, historical materialism and entertainment culture, arguing that they represent new forms of social control.
In the Journal Studies in Popular Culture, scholar Jeffrey A. Hall examined the song in his essay "No Shelter in Popular Music: Irony and Appropriation in the Lyrical Criticism of Rage against the Machine".Hall noted "Lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha attacks the entertainment industry and Hollywood films like Rambo and Amistad, yet the most potent lyric clearly addresses the motion picture Godzilla, the film the soundtrack was to promote. ..Clearly not a typical motion picture promotion. Textual analysis of the raw and rapid-fire lyrics of No Shelter reveals a leftist political attack consistent with positions RATM advanced in concerts, lyrics, and their well maintained website. A careful reading of the lyrics will reveal potent political attacks on the entertainment industry, the entirety of their rhetorical strategy is realized in the presence of this song on the soundtrack of Godzilla. Rage lyrically appropriates the soundtrack and utilizes the streamlined functioning of the corporate promotion to advance a criticism of Godzilla and Hollywood's consumption of audiences and their cultural identity. ...The presence of Burkean irony and refraction in No Shelter demonstrates that the band acknowledges its role the circular relationship between the text and its commercial context: the song is set forth as a promotion of the film and its soundtrack, and yet it returns as an assault on that very context. Their politically and commercially savvy attack on Godzilla creates the possibility of the very mechanisms that could stifle the impact of their leftist stance to be used to magnify and refract Rage's message throughout the chain of commercial promotion."
Kenneth Duva Burke was an American literary theorist, as well as poet, essayist, and novelist, who wrote on 20th-century philosophy, aesthetics, criticism, and rhetorical theory. As a literary theorist, Burke was best known for his analyses based on the nature of knowledge. Furthermore, he was one of the first individuals to stray away from more traditional rhetoric and view literature as "symbolic action."
Billboard reviewed the song positively stating "Zack de la Rocha's word-heavy verses share the song's spotlight equally with the driving guitars, which at times pleasantly and distinctly evoke the concept--of Hendrix. The band's calculated ethos is juxtaposed with unbridled instrumental interludes that make you think that perhaps, for a moment, it could let down its guard. But tension is the act's trademark, and on No Shelter, it comes through once again."
This video has a retro, 1920s "Golden Age" theme. It resembles the Industrial Revolution with scenes of workers in assembly lines, while company owners oversee the operations. The band plays throughout the video in a room that seems to be part of an abandoned building or factory. In the "board room", executives and developers plot out a sort of "helmet" with a video screen that covers the face. They experiment by putting the helmet on a teenager who is perturbed and upset. The video screen displays a mouth smiling. The executives declare the helmet a success, and shake hands. They take the teenager away in a van, and kill him in a remote area. Because the song was released for the 1998 film Godzilla , satirical "spoofs" of the movie's phrase "Size does matter" appear on billboards in the city scenes. They are:
Interspersed throughout is a montage depicting the Scottsboro Boys and the impending execution and death by electric chair of Sacco and Vanzetti, both historical examples of unfair trials. Tom Morello's Fender Telecaster guitar can be seen sporting communist references such as the Peruvian 'Sendero Luminoso' or Shining Path in Spanish.
The song contains multiple references to popular culture, criticizing corporate advertising and capitalism. It mentions numerous products, films, brands, and other topics. Among them are Steven Spielberg, Amistad , the VCR, Fourth Reich, Americana, Coca-Cola, Rambo , Nike, and the aforementioned Godzilla series.
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