Sony – 2000 – 60 minutes
Originally scheduled as a homage to their riotous forefathers, 'Renegades' became a posthumous release when Rage's shouty bloke, Zack de la Rocha, decided to walk away upon its completion. Not that you can detect any cracks in their firebrand cause here: on tunes by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, they glow with the anger of their lives. What makes 'Renegades' so essential is that, rather than take the simple covers' route, the quarter hotwire and rework the source material (history from the rap, rock, punk, new wave and folk fields) until they become their own, brand new songs. So Springsteen's campfire protest song 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad', becomes filthy, dubby rock with megaphone vocals, Dylan's 'Maggie's Farm' mutates into a bass-driven distortion epic and the Stones' 'Street Fighting Man' bounces along on a frenetic beat and manic, siren guitars.
Like Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine became a far more interesting proposition once they had survived the hype and hits of their first album. That such a political band survived so long in throwaway days is their finest epitaph. But with 'Renegades' they've – unwittingly - created the ultimate in triumphant swan songs and guaranteed their place in history in the process. Even at their last gasp, they still sound more convincing than anyone else on any block.
Tracklisting: Microphone Fiend (Eric B & Rakim) – Pistol Grip Pump (Volume 10) – Kick Out The Jams (MC 5) – Renegades Of Funk (Afrika Bambaataa) – Beautiful World (Devo) – I'm Housin' (EPMD) – In My Eyes (Minor Threat) – How I Could Just Kill A Man (Cypress Hill) – The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Bruce Springsteen) – Down On The Street (The Stooges) – Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones) – Maggie's Farm (Bob Dylan)