Top 10 Rise Against Songs

Rise Against Songs

Our top 10 Rise Against songs showcase an American band deeply embedded in hardcore punk and melodic hardcore. Formed in 1999 by Joe Principe, former bassist of 88 Fingers Louie, and guitarist Dan Wleklinski, Rise Against emerged from their earlier band, Transistor Revolt. This transformation from Transistor Revolt to Rise Against came after the unsuccessful integration of different musical backgrounds—a vivid clash of worlds within the music industry. Fat Mike of NOFX and founder of Fat Wreck Chords was impressed by Transistor Revolt‘s self-released EP, offering them a record deal on the condition that they change their name. Drummer Tony Tintari, though he left before recording any songs with the band, is credited with naming Rise Against.

Despite numerous changes in the lineup over the years, the band has consistently delivered a powerful punk rock sound. The current lineup includes lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, lead guitarist Zach Barnes, and former Good Riddance drummer Brandon Barnes. Extensive touring and a contract with Dreamworks Records helped Rise Against cultivate a dedicated following. The band’s music, known for its sharp social commentary, has won the hearts of many. Our top 10 list highlights Rise Against‘s best songs, noted for their melodic elements, catchy hooks, rapid tempos, and vigorous style.

# 10 – The Violence

Leading our list of the top 10 Rise Against songs is “The Violence” from the band’s 2017 eighth studio album Wolves. The lyrics of the song ponder whether violence is an inherent aspect of human nature or a deliberate choice that we can avoid. Inspired in part by the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the lyrics reflect the band’s apprehensions about the potential for a third World War. The track features fierce yet impressive guitar riffs and powerful drums that enhance Tim McIlrath’s forceful vocals. “The Violence” reached number twenty-six on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart.

# 9 – Swing Life Away

“Swing Life Away” showcases Tim McIlrath’s songwriting prowess, with co-writing credits going to his former roommate Neil Hennessy. Although the song deviates from Rise Against‘s typical hardcore sound, it still achieved chart success. This acoustic ballad appears on the band’s 2003 compilation album Punk Goes Acoustic and offers reflections on daily life and the working class. “Swing Life Away” reached number seventeen on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Chart and has been praised by critics for its straightforward yet awe-inspiring lyrics and killer guitar sounds.

# 8 – The Good Left Undone

The 2007 melodic hardcore album The Sufferer & the Witness includes some of Rise Against‘s finest tracks, such as our eighth choice, “The Good Left Undone.” The song, composed by Tim McIlrath, Joe Principe, Brandon Barnes, and Chris Chasse, narrates the story of a man who falls deeply in love with a woman he considers extraordinary. As their relationship begins to fade, he reluctantly decides to let her go so she can find happiness elsewhere. Despite their separation, his love remains undiminished, and he continues to hope that she will reach out to him, ready to rekindle their bond. “The Good Left Undone” reached number six on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, where it stayed for more than thirty weeks.

# 7 – Help is On the Way

“Help is On the Way” is an energetic rocker from Rise Against‘s 2011 album, Endgame. Composed by the band members at the time, the song references both the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Lead vocalist Tim McIlrath has expressed that the lyrics critique the delayed response to disasters. This well-structured and forceful ballad reached number eighty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. The track reflects a range of influences that have shaped the band, from Green Day to Blink-182, as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica.

# 6 – Give It All

Number six on our top 10 Rise Against songs list is “Give It All,” the lead single from the band’s album Siren Song of the Counter Culture. Written by Tim McIlrath, Chris Chasse, Brandon Barnes, Joe Principe, and producer Garth Richardson, “Give It All” is a dynamic hardcore punk anthem about navigating the challenges of being a punk rocker in today’s world. Its resonant theme has led to the song’s inclusion in numerous video game soundtracks, such as Need for Speed: Underground 2 and WWE Wrestlemania 21. “Give It All” reached number thirty-seven on the US Alternative Songs Chart.

# 5 – Satellite

“Satellite” is renowned as one of Rise Against‘s most compelling tracks, distinguished by its emotionally charged lyrics that have received widespread acclaim from critics. Crafted by Tim McIlrath, Bill Stevenson, and Jason Livermore, “Satellite” is a powerful example of melodic hardcore, woven with intricate metaphors and engaging paradoxes. In the song, the term “satellite” symbolizes the band’s sporadic yet impactful presence in the lives of their fans, akin to a celestial body that appears intermittently. This track achieved significant success, peaking at number seven on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart.

# 4 – Make It Stop (September’s Children)

Featured as the second single from Rise Against‘s 2011 album Endgame, “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” addresses the serious issues of bullying and harassment faced by LGBT youth. Written by the members of Rise Against, the song serves as a beacon of hope, assuring the LGBT community that things will improve, thereby discouraging thoughts of ending life prematurely. The song resonates deeply, evoking emotional responses during a period when LGBT rights were severely challenged. Although the world continues to grapple with issues surrounding LGBT rights, “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” highlights a growing recognition and support for this community. The track reached number eight on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart.

# 3 – Hero of War

“Hero of War,” written by Tim McIlrath, stands out as one of Rise Against‘s most poignant vocal pieces on the subject of war. Featured on the band’s 2008 album Appeal to Reason, the song tells the story of an Iraq War veteran reflecting on the hardships he faced during his service, shedding light on the struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning home. Although “Hero of War” may not have been the favorite among Rise Against fans in the US, it resonated strongly internationally, peaking at number four on the Swedish Singles Chart.

# 2 – Prayer of the Refugee

Featured on the band’s 2006 album The Sufferer & the Witness, “Prayer of the Refugee” is a celebrated ballad, notable for its effective use of contrasting verse-chorus structure. The song was a collaborative effort among the band members, who crafted the lyrics to tell the poignant story of an immigrant striving to build a life in the US. Despite their efforts, the refugee encounters discrimination from both the public and the government. Critics have lauded the song for its straightforward yet impactful lyrics, which helped it reach number seven on the US Alternative Airplay Chart.

# 1 – Savior

“Savior” gradually emerged as the standout track of Rise Against‘s 2008 album Appeal to Reason and became a significant selling point for the band. Unlike many of Rise Against‘s songs, which often tackle political and social issues, “Savior” delves into themes of forgiveness and broken relationships. This frenetically paced ballad is the band’s most commercially successful song, celebrated for its compelling lyrics. “Savior” achieved notable chart success, peaking at number three on both the US Alternative Songs and Hot Rock Songs Charts. Additionally, it set a record for the most consecutive weeks on the US Alternative Songs Chart, remaining for sixty-five weeks.

Feature Photo: PRODUCT VERSUS ART PUBLICITY !, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Update April 13, 2024

Top 10 Rise Against Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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