When guitarist and rockstar activist Tom Morello teams up with Rise Against singer Tim McIlrath and System of a Down singer Serj Tankian to compose a theme song for the Occupy movement, you can trust it won’t be a sentimental acoustic guitar ballad. What they’ve come up with as their gift to the protest movement is “We are the 99 Percent” — essentially wall-to-wall Rage Against the Machine guitar riffs coupled with the gruff, strained vocal contributions of McIlrath and Tankian.
Although it may border on the cheesy side of things, the call-and-response chorus is tailor made for audience participation and works much better in a live setting than over the headphones where it can get repetitive. Still, the song is equal parts protest anthem and rock hit. Its lyrics will probably never be heard over mainstream radio but its production is solid, radio-friendly. Well worth a download.
- The almost-sweet melodic bridge containing the lyrics: “Were you born to serve your betters? Live and work on bended knee? Let the foes of justice tremble, this fight starts with me.”
- And right after that, a blazing guitar solo that displays Morello’s more bluesy fretwork.
- The stirring lyric: “We were asleep before but not anymore, so stand back. Selling stones to pay the rent, we are the 99 percent.”
- Download the Occupy theme here for the price of: your email.
- Rolling Stone article on Tom Morello’s track.