Our top 10 Rise Against songs introduce us to an American band rooted in hardcore punk and melodic hardcore. The band was formed by former 88 Fingers Louie bassist Joe Principe and guitarist Dan Wleklinski in 1999. Rise Against was born from Joe and Dan’s new band, Transistor Revolt. The rejuvenation of a Transistor Revolt to Rise Against followed unsuccessful blending of members in what was described as a meeting and collision of different worlds in the music industry. Fat Mike of NOFX and founder of Fat Wreck Chords was impressed with Transistor Revolt’s self-published EP offering the band a recording contract on the condition that they change their name. Drummer Tony Tintari is credited with coming up with the band’s new name despite leaving without recording any song with the band.
A series of lineup changes have happened through the years, but the band’s breathtaking punk rock vibe has been constant. Its current lineup comprises lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, lead guitarist Zach Barnes, and former Good Riddance drummer Brandon Barnes. The band’s extensive touring helped establish a cult following, especially after signing with Dreamworks Records. Rise Against’s music has become a darling to many thanks to the band’s outspoken social commentary in most of their songs. Our top 10 Rise Against songs list brings the best of the band’s releases, most of which are characterized by melody, catchy hooks, rapid tempos, and an aggressive playstyle.
#10 – The Violence
Ushering us to the top 10 Rise Against songs is the hit “The Violence” from the band’s 2017 eighth studio album Wolves. The song’s lyrics allude to the question of whether violence is part of human nature or whether it is a choice we consciously make and can avoid. Some of the lyrics were inspired by the 2016 US Presidential election cycle while indicating the band’s fear of a third World War. The song is packed with ferocious but impressive guitar riffs and rumbling drums that complement Tim’s punchy vocals. “The Violence” peaked at number twenty-six on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart.
# 9 – Swing Life Away
“Swing Life Away” brings the best of Tim McIlrath’s songwriting skills, having him co-write the song with a former roommate Neil Hennessy. While the song is slightly off their popular hardcore vibes, this didn’t prevent the song from trending on the charts. “Swing Life Away” is an acoustic ballad from the band’s 2003 compilation album Punk Goes Acoustic about daily life and the working class. The song peaked at number seventeen on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Chart having it praised by critics for its simple but awe-inspiring lyrics and sublime guitar sounds.
# 8 – The Good Left Undone
The 2007 melodic hardcore album The Sufferer & the Witness features some of the best Rise Against songs, such as our number eight, “The Good Left Undone.” Written by Tim McIlrath, Joe Principe, Brandon Barnes, and Chris Chasse, the song is about the narrator finally landing a lady he feels special about. However, the narrator realizes after a short while that the flower is withering, and he chooses to let the lady seek happiness away from him. Sadly, the love for her never dies, and he keeps praying and waiting for her to call him and say that she is ready to try again. “The Good Left Undone” peaked at number six on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, spending over thirty weeks on the chart.
# 7 – Help is On the Way
“Help is On the Way” is an upbeat rocker from Rise Against’s 2011 album, Endgame. Written by the then band members, “Help is On the Way” alludes to the Deep Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Lead vocalist Tim McIlrath revealed that the song is about the slow response time for aid to catastrophe-stricken places. The impressive structured and equally uncompromising ballad peaked at number eighty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. You can so many of the band’s that seems to inspire the group in this one from Green Day to Blink-182 to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Metallica.
# 6 – Give It All
Number six on our top 10 Rise Against songs list is “Give It All,” the first single from the band’s album Siren Song of the Counter Culture. Written by Tim McIlrath, Chris Chasse, Brandon Barnes, Joe Principe, and Garth Richardson, “Give It All” is a magnificent hardcore punk ballad about overcoming obstacles as a punk rocker in the modern world. Thanks to its theme, the song is featured in tons of video games and soundtracks such as Need For Speed: Underground 2 and WWE Wrestlemania 21. “Give It All” peaked at number thirty-seven on the US Alternative Songs Chart.
# 5 – Satellite
“Satellite” is one of the best Rise Against songs thanks to its passionate lyrical content that received a positive reception from critics. Written by Tim McIlrath, Bill Stevenson, and Jason Livermore, “Satellite” is a melodic hardcore song filled with metaphors and paradoxes. The term “Satellite” is a fist-pounding mantra used by the band to show how they orbit and pop into our lives and play a show once in a while. “Satellite” peaked at number seven on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart.
# 4 – Make It Stop (September’s Children)
Featured as the second single in the band’s 2011 album, Endgame, “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” explicitly deals with bullying and harassment of the LGBT youth. Written by the Rise Against band members, the song is a message of hope promising the LGBT community that it gets better hence no reason to end life prematurely. The song’s message sends tear-filled emotions to the affected at an age where LGBT rights were highly violated. The world has barely found harmony on the LGBT topic, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for this community so far. The song peaked at number eight on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs.
# 3 – Hero of War
Written by Tim McIlrath, “Hero of War” is one of the best Rise Against vocal songs regarding war. Featured on the band’s 2008 album, Appeal to Reason, the song is about an Iraq war veteran looking back at the adversities he endured during the war, bringing to light a soldier’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning home. While “Hero of War” might not have been Rise Against’s fans favorite in the US, the song peaked 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 popular ballad famed for its use of a contrasting verse-chorus form. The song was a collaborative effort by the band members on the lyrics in telling the story of an immigrant who tries to make ends meet in the US. However, the refugee faces discrimination at the hands of the people and the government. Critics also praised the song for its simple yet effective lyrics helping the song peak at number seven on the US Alternative Airplay Chart.
# 1 – Savior
“Savior” slowly became the best Rise Against song and the major selling proposition of the band’s 2008 album Appeal to Reason. While most of the best Rise Against songs are based on political and social topics, “Savior” is all about forgiveness and broken relationships. The frenetic-paced ballad remains to be the band’s most commercially successful song, thanks to its striking lyrics. “Savior” peaked at number three on the US Alternative Songs and Hot Rock Songs Charts. The song holds the record for the most consecutive weeks on the US Alternative Songs Chart with sixty-five weeks.
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