Testify (Rage Against the Machine song)

"Testify" is a single by rap metal band Rage Against the Machine off their third studio album The Battle of Los Angeles.

The cover of the single was taken from the 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute. The song's lyrics notably make reference to George Orwell's novel 1984 through use of "The Party" slogan "Who controls the past (now), controls the future. Who controls the present (now), controls the past." The song is a playable track on Rock Band 2.


The song, like many Rage Against the Machine songs, is notable for Tom Morello's unorthodox use of guitar to create unusual sounds. Morello plays the sweeping sound in the song's intro and verse using a mixture of effects and techniques. First, the Digitech Whammy pedal is set to harmonize a minor seventh above the note being played, and the delay pedal is set to a short, slap-back setting that almost sounds like reverb. With both pickups set to maximum volume, Morello creates the sound by pick the open D string whilst flicking the toggle switch back and forth and using a wah-wah pedal to shift between the bass and treble frequencies.

Music Video

The music video, directed by Michael Moore, features a number of clips showing the two presidential candidates at the time (George W. Bush and Al Gore for the 2000 US Presidential Election) stating the same policies and views on important issues, and the movie aims to highlight the lack of choice in the US electoral system. This is spoofed in the video as the images of Bush and Gore are morphed together, thereby creating a "mutant" that "appears as two but speaks as one."

Other key themes in the video focus on America's reliance on oil, with several clips of the Gulf War, and lines at gas pumps accompanied by the lines "Mass graves for the pump and the price is set." Other clips display modern industrialization and the military industrial complex, juxtaposed against images of third world nations.

Other organizations, topics, and individuals displayed in the video include: Exxon, same sex relationships, Richard Nixon, Kenneth Starr, Bill Clinton, Oliver North, Monica Lewinsky, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Pope John Paul II, General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Christian Coalition, monster truck rallys, the Republican Revolution, and the corporate donations that each candidate has received.

The similarities between the two candidates are displayed through soundbites of their speeches. Among the topics that George W. Bush and Al Gore agree on, as shown in the video: support of the death penalty, prosperity through free trade, investing in the future, support of clean air, and a ban on soft money. Each candidate concludes by stating "God Bless America."

The video ends with a quote from Ralph Nader: "If you're not turned onto politics, politics will turn on you."

Track listing

  1. "Testify" (album version) - 3:31
  2. "Testify" (Testifly Mix) - 3:50
  3. "Testify" (Rowena Projects Mix) - 4:23
  4. "Guerrilla Radio" (live version) - 3:35
  5. "Freedom" (live version) - 8:39


External links

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