Reviewed by Hannah Bastow, Socialist Party
In 2010, Rise Against’s lead singer Tim McIlrath said the band’s motivation to tour almost continuously for the past eleven years was to influence the social conscience. This motivation is apparent in their latest album, Endgame.
Rise Against’s fan base may have grown beyond the disenfranchised youth and politically aware but they have not lost the cutting lyrics that make their message so powerful.
‘Help is on the Way’ is based on the devastating Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Many people were forgotten about by the government and promised help which never arrived, summed up by the lyrics “Can nobody save us, will anyone try?” This song highlights the devaluing of human life, especially in the poorer states.
‘Disparity by Design’ incorporates the tempo and spirit of punk rock but every word is resonant with the inequalities in society. McIlrath sings: “In which access depends on who you know or where you came from, whose daughter are you? Whose fortunate son?”
‘Make It stop (September’s Children)’ confronts homophobia. Sadly, the song was influenced by a wave of suicides of young people who were bullied because of their sexuality. Chillingly it asks “too much blood has flown from the wrists of the children shamed for those they chose to kiss, who will rise to stop the blood?”
The song also contains a positive message to those in this situation, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn, so stay awake with me let’s prove them wrong”.
The band’s willingness to bring issues neglected by the mainstream media to their audience shows that McIlrath’s claims of motivation are true. For Rise Against, the message is important.