Re-Education (Through Labor)

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This article is about the song by Rise Against. For the Chinese prison system, see Re-education through labor.
"Re-Education (Through Labor)"
Cover art for the single "Re-Education (Through Labor)" by Rise Against.
Single by Rise Against
from the album Appeal to Reason
Released August 25, 2008
Recorded The Blasting Room, Fort Collins, Colorado
Genre Rock
Length 3:42
Writer(s) Rise Against
Rise Against singles chronology
"The Good Left Undone"
"Re-Education (Through Labor)"
"Audience of One"

"Re-Education (Through Labor)" is the first single from Rise Against's fifth studio album, Appeal to Reason. The single was released digitally to digital stores and radio stations on August 26, 2008.[1] A music video was released on the same day.

A limited physical version of the single was released on 7" vinyl and can be obtained exclusively by pre-ordering Appeal to Reason. This version also includes a B-side titled "Minor Threat", which is a cover of the eponymous song by Minor Threat.[2]

The single's fifth week on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart made "Re-Education (Through Labor)" Rise Against's second-highest charting single to date, hitting number five. It has since reached a peak of number three. The band's previous highest charting single on the Alternative Songs chart was "The Good Left Undone", the third single from the band's previous album, which peaked at number 6. "Re-Education (Through Labor)" is also Rise Against's first song to appear on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Recording and composition[edit]

"Re-Education (Through Labor)" was written by Rise Against, with lyrics by lead vocalist Tim McIlrath, and produced by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. Stevenson and Livermore engineered the song with Andrew Berlin, while Chris Lord-Alge assisted as the mixer. It was recorded at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado and was mastered by Ted Jensen.[3] Rise Against released the song as the Appeal to Reason's first single on August 25, 2008.[4]

"Re-Education (Through Labor)" is a rock song that opens with a heavy metal guitar riff.[5] John Hanson of Sputnikmusic commented that "Re-Education (Through Labor)" sounds similar to another Rise Against song, "Ready to Fall".[5] Lyrically, it is noted for being one of more politically motivated tracks from Appeal to Reason.[6] According to McIlrath, the lyrics are about "the 9-to-5, dog-eat-dog lifestyle, and what we are asked to do to simply make ends meet nowadays".[7] Some music journalists have also discussed the song's meaning, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic writing that the lyrics "strike out against the slow dumbing down of America",[8] while Aaron Burgess of The A.V. Club asserted that the song accuses United States President George W. Bush of fascism.[9]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Kevin Kerslake (Faith No More, Green Day), filmed in the band's home city of Chicago and features members of the Chicago branch of the Moped Army and their mopeds. McIlrath admitted to MTV News that the promo does have a slightly political theme, which practically anyone will relate to. He explained: "One of the great things about doing a video is that your imagination is the only thing that's limiting you, so you can do anything. So we have a video that's going to encompass the anger and the angst that the youth of America feel toward society at large and the things that are demanded of them."

On September 22, 2008, Rise Against released the music video for "Re-Education (Through Labor)". The video begins with a quote from President John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." It frequently switches between scenes of the band playing in the basement of an abandoned cinema and an army of moped riders. The group drives around Chicago and drops backpacks, presumably bombs, in various locations. The closing scene shows the row of moped riders watching the city burn in the night after the bombs have detonated. This links back to the J.F.K quote about violent rebellion.

There is another version of this video, with informative statistics on subjects such as deforestation, the death of children, and others. This version is called "uncensored", because the original video does not show any of this information.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Re-Education (Through Labor)"   3:42
2. "Minor Threat" (live Minor Threat cover) 1:40


Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[10] 12
Hot Canadian Digital Singles[11] 56
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[12] 22
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[12] 3
Canadian Hot 100[13] 63


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^


  1. ^ " Alternative eWeekly". AllAccess. August 19, 2008. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Pre-Order Appeal To Reason on Interpunk/Smartpunk" Geffen. Retrieved on August 22, 2008.
  3. ^ Appeal to Reason (liner notes). Rise Against. DGC Records, Interscope Records. 2008. 
  4. ^ "Re-Education (Through Labor)" (CD single) (Media notes). Rise Against. Geffen Records. 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Hanson, John (October 7, 2008). "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason Review". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Ed (October 7, 2008). "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason". IGN. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  7. ^ Harris, Chris (September 19, 2008). "Rise Against Claims There's Nothing Radical About Appeal to Reason". MTV. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason". AllMusic. 
  9. ^ Burgess, Aaron (October 6, 2008). "Rise Against: Appeal To Reason". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles - Re-Education (Through Labor)" Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  11. ^ "Hot Canadian Digital Singles - Re-Education (Through Labor)" Retrieved 2009-10-4.
  12. ^ a b "Artist Chart History - Rise Against" Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  13. ^ "Canadian Hot 100 - Re-Education (Through Labor)" Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  14. ^ "American single certifications – Rise Against – Re-Education". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]