Rage Against The Machine, Zapatismo and the aesthetics of anger

Andrew Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the ways in which anger may travel across different musical and extra-musical contexts, looking in particular at the rap metal band Rage Against The Machine (RATM). Focusing on this band's appropriation of expressions of anger found in a documentary film about the Zapatistas in Mexico, it suggests that RATM can be read as a politico-emotional project, channelling anger towards political resistance which is then performed through, and upon, the body. Just as performances of anger need discourse to be sustainable, so music can simultaneously entrain the listener into a certain modality of feeling and expressing, and embed this modality in a discursive rationale. However, anger is a deeply ambiguous emotion, and cannot be easily focused; it may transcend the constraints some seek to place on it, and travel quickly between discursive contexts. Such slippages mark the limits of anger, as well as its power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-407
Number of pages18
JournalPopular Music
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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