Rage Against the Machine – Christmas #1?
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week or so you’ll have missed the current Internet storm which is the campaign to get Rage Against the Machine‘s track, “Killing in the Name” to #1 for Christmas in the UK. Now I’ll be up front and say that I’ve done my part, I bought the track on iTunes the other night. Now I already have the track but from my own personal perspective the fact that the winner of the X-Factor has been Christmas #1 since 2005 is, well ludicrous.
First of all not all of them have been that great. I’ve not watched every season but I’ve heard the tracks and I can’t say I’d buy them myself but then again I’ve been disillusioned by chart music for a good few years now. However my problem is it’s engineered so that it’s almost a dead cert that they’ll be number 1 at Christmas. I fondly remember in my childhood the prestige that went with being Christmas #1. It was a big deal and the uncertainty of who would be there come Sunday just added to the whole thing. However for the last 4 years you knew who’d be there as soon as the X-Factor winner was crowned.
Now I’ve read the counters to this whole campaign. I know Simon Cowell’s label is owned by Sony and that financially this won’t make a dent but at the same time its fantastic to see people make the choice to stand up and be counted. NME in one blog post points out the apparent futility and irony of the track chosen. However the counter blog post makes the point that, well, that isn’t the point. In the end the reason for the track is for the lyric and it’s not hypocritical because no-one is forced to buy it, it’s your choice, and very much about uniting in a cause against the system.
In the end though I’d settle for anyone but an X-Factor #1. Yes it’s harsh on the kid who’s won it however, fans of the X-Factor, there’s all of next year to give him a number 1. It’s just we want to free the Christmas #1 from the grapple of Mr Cowell and his X-Factor machine. Even if it’s just for one year that’s something and a wonderful show of people power.
Update: Well I still can’t quite believe it but we did it! Rage Against the Machine’s track “Killing in the Name” beat Joe McElderry’s “The Climb” by 50,000 sales. It’s also the UK’s first Christmas #1 by downloads only and for the fastest selling download single ever which just adds to the sheer amazing achievement that this was. You can be cynical all you want about the Sony/SyCo thing and that it’ll be X-Factor next year. However I’m looking on the flip side; Shelter will be on the receiving end of a nice windfall as most who backed the campaign donated money to the charity (current figures put the amount raised at £60,000+) but also I believe many will feel that change can happen if you work for it. Politics has suffered in the UK with turnouts for elections being very, very low with many citing the feeling that their vote won’t count as the reason to not vote. I know this is a small issue but it showed that if you have a choice and you choose and work with like-minded people you can change a foregone-conclusion into an upset.