Whether you’re fighting a revolution or just really hate doing homework, we’ve got a playlist perfect for your authority-challenging needs.
Public Enemy, "Fight the Power" (1989)
Commissioned specifically for Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing, "Fight The Power" is about as straightforward a call to rebel as you can get. Also, nothing says “rebel” like giant clock chains.
Rebellious Line: "Got to give what we want/Gotta give us what we need/Our freedom of speech is freedom or death"
Beastie Boys, "Fight For Your Right" (1987)
Actually a parody of shitty party anthems, "Fight For Your Right" was ironic way before being ironic was cool. So, really, this is for the super cool rebels rebelling against other rebels who are just poser rebels. Got it?
Rebellious Line: "Your pop caught you smoking and he said no way!/That hypocrite smokes two packs a day"
Malvina Reynolds, "Little Boxes" (1962)
Rebellious songs don’t have to be power rock songs with more screaming than sense. If you recognize this song from Showtime’s Weeds, congratulations – you watch TV! Reynolds hoped to address American conformity with this ironically upbeat song. Since like the third Google search for this song is “Malvina Reynolds Little Boxes Meaning” we’ll just go ahead and explain: She’s saying everyone is a boring, shithead.
Rebellious Line: "And the people in the houses/All went to the university/Where they were put in boxes/And they came out all the same"
The Clash, "White Riot" (1977)
We’ve all been there – pulled over by the police just because we were young, black, and rich. Sigh.
Rebellious Line: "And I heard 'Son do you know why I’m stopping you for?'/Cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low?/Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don’t know"
Rage Against The Machine, "Killing in the Name" (1993)
This song is kind of a dick move making fun of the angry kid who believes in something and bashes his head against the system, but it might be sung from the point of view of the same kid when he’s older, and a bitter jerk. So, yeah. There’s that. Maybe.
Rebellious Line: "And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost/He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross/And he likes to be known as the angry young man"
Neil Young, "The Loner" (1969)
Everyone wants to think of himself as the cool loner, too awesome for people to understand, man. Even though you probably just smell and have a weird aversion to getting a haircut.
Rebellious Line: "He’s a perfect stranger/Like a cross/Of himself and a fox"
White Snake, "Here I Go Again" (1982)
This wouldn’t be much of a list of rebellious songs without Johnny Cash. A theme song for a movie, the character of Johnny Yuma hunts down the perfidious woman that killed his relative. We’re not sure what’s really rebellious about that, but hey, Cash says “rebel” 10 times in this song, so you listen to it and you like it.
Rebellious Line: "Johnny Yuma was a rebel/He roamed through the west/Did Johnny Yuma, the rebel/He wandered alone"
Bjork, "Army of Me" (1995)
There’s nothing quite like being shouted at by a tiny Icelandic woman to get the hell up and do something with your life.
Rebellious Line: "Stand up/You’ve got to manage/I won’t sympathize anymore/And if you complain once more/You’ll meet an army of me"
De La Soul, "Me, Myself and I" (1989)