Saturday, July 26, 2008

Zack De La Rocha and the Unnecessary Moniker Hiding His Solo Debut

I love Rage Against the Machine. They are one of the few bands I can just put all of my hate, anger, passion, frustration, and any kind of negative energy into and feel completely better afterwards. However, while I agree with a ton of what lead singer Zack De La Rocha speaks, sings, and screams in their songs, I've always found him a little too political.

No offense, I just turn to music more for escapism, not to see more of the shitty world I'm trying to distract myself from. I know that's kind of the point, especially in "Wake Up" where De La Rocha literally screams the title at the listener over and over again, but it's just my preference in music. I pay attention to what's going on, and I do what I can; I just get turned off at very interspersed moments during their songs due to De La Rocha.

After years of delays, Zack De La Rocha has finally put out a solo effort. After the breakup of RATM, he recorded two albums worth of material with collaborators like ?uestlove, DJ Shadow, and Trent Reznor, which never saw the light of day. Now he returns with ex-Mars Volta (don't even get me started on this band, I just have never, ever liked anything they've ever done, just my personal preference) drummer Jon Theodore to become One Day As a Lion; they released a self-titled EP last week. The name is a reference to a photo of a piece of graffiti art featuring the phrase "it is better to live one day as a lion, than to live a thousand years as a lamb." Sounds like De La Rocha's back to his old tricks.

One Day As a Lion - Wild International

The EP sounds like a combination of De La Rocha's work for Rage and the organ parts of songs by Wolfmother, and I mean that in a completely complimentary way. De La Rocha plays keyboards on the EP, and it suits his delivery to just have the 'boards and Theodore's drums blasting away behind him.

De La Rocha has always been more about the message than the music. Hell, he was disappointed if his albums didn't inspire radical political change, leading to his departure from Rage. I just wonder whether he'll actually stick with this project, move onto a solo one, or fulfill the once-furiously growing rumors of a new RATM album.

I doubt Tom Morello & co. will settle down from they're touring to make another record, but for those hungry for a little new taste of what the old Rage used to do so wonderfully, One Day As a Lion is there to fill the fix for the time being.


Michael said...

Read this a while ago (when you posted it) but just now got a chance to sit down and listen to the ODAAL EP. Honestly, I found it lackluster. I thought that's what your blog entry was saying, but upon re-reading it here for this comment, I'm not really sure; did you like the album or not? I thought it was not all that great. If it wasn't De La Rocha on the mic, I wouldn't even be keeping it. As is, I guess it'll just go under the "This is just all right, I don't know why I have it" tab mentally. Disappointing from a guy like De La Rocha.

esreverniuoy said...

I really like the first track, and while I do think that's really the only great song on the EP, I enjoyed it enough to wonder about the music De La Rocha will make in the future. When he left RATM I essentially wrote him off as a nutjob activist, so I considered that a step up.