Rising To The Top and ‘Making it Stop’

Formed in Chicago, IL, Rise Against has been rising to the top since 1999. The members of Rise Against have been making music for 12 years, and have created 6 albums, 15 music videos and have undergone countless tours. Their tour this past summer hit our very own Summer Fest.

Maybe you were there to see them; then again, you might not have even realized they were here. They are touring now, but the closest that they’ve come to Wisconsin is Illinois, our neighbor and and the home state of the band. Off their latest CD, Endgame, which came out last March, Make It Stop (September’s Children) won’t just make you want to keep replaying the song (because of how good it is) or look up other songs by them; it will enable you to understand, at least partially, the nature of the problems dealt with by Rise Against: bullying and suicide among LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) teens. You may think that this bullying (displayed in a particularly moving way by the “Make it Stop” video) doesn’t happen at West. Who really knows? As much as someone might think they know everyone at the school and what they are and who they are and how they feel, we never truly will know. But in the world we live in, there are people who do bully LGBT people. In the “Make it Stop” video, did those teens even know that they were going to push one girl into feeling so horrible, so low, so worthless that she would contemplate suicide? To the point where she would put a gun to her own head!? Sorry for spoiling the video if you haven’t watched it, but that particular girl was not the only victim in the video.

If you do not like to sit and watch the videos, and you just use YouTube for listening to the music, you won’t miss out. The lyrics convey the powerful emotion, with lines like “We braved these bitter storms together/Brought to his knees he cried/But on his feet he died.” To understand the lyrics, you have to do more than catch the lines; most have hidden meanings. Other lines in the song are “Bang, bang from the closet walls/The schoolhouse halls/The shotgun’s loaded,” and “too much blood has flown from the wrists/Of the children shamed for those they chose to kiss,” or “The cold river washed him away/But how could we forget?/The gatherings hold candles,/ but not their tongues.” The song is about bullying and teen suicide, so its not hard to feel the meaning of the lyrics. There is a part where they are naming kids and ages. Each of those teens was a suicide victim, not just a random name.

The video & song makes the point that its not right to bully a LGBT teen, or any teen for that matter. The song was made in collaboration with the “It Gets Better” program (itgetsbetter.org), as evidenced by when a number of voices say “It gets better” at the end of the song. As lead singer Tim Minchin, says, “A number of events were the catalyst for the creation of ‘Make It Stop,’ everything from the suicides in September 2010, to our own fans voicing their fears and insecurities from time to time.” Minchin eventually “decided to create the song as a response[to these events], and when I discovered the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign and [It Gets Better Project co-founder] Dan Savage’s commitment to such an important and concise message, I was moved. I immediately felt that if our song is the road, then the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign is the destination. I hope the synergy between the two can reach people and make a difference.”(Read here for more news)

I do hope you check out the song and the band in general. Rise Against videos and songs are pretty interesting. In one of them, “Prayer Of The Refugee,” the band members are running around like a warehouse sorta place. How much fun would that be? The videos and the songs will get you hooked.