The 10 Best Rusted Root Songs of All-Time

Rusted Root came from Pittsburgh, PA. It started as a house band but became something more, as shown by how it has sold more than three million records. Strictly speaking, Rusted Root still exists. However, it has been on hiatus since the mid-2010s. Still, interested individuals have seven studio albums and other material to check out, meaning they can satisfy their curiosity without issue.

Here is our opinion of the ten best Rusted Root songs ever released:

10. “Blue Diamonds”

Some diamonds are rarer than others. Supposedly, the blue-colored ones are 1 in 10,000. Never mind the chances of finding a stone that would make good jewelry. As such, a blue diamond is suitable for representing something precious. Here, it refers to romantic love, though the exact context varies from interpretation to interpretation.

9. “Drum Trip”

It isn’t uncommon for bands to stumble on their sophomore albums. After all, music is an inexact art, meaning musicians can’t guarantee they’ll replicate their initial results. Rusted Root didn’t have that issue. Their sophomore album, When I Woke, did so well that it received a platinum certification in the United States. “Drum Trip” was the song that served as its opening track. Fittingly, it makes excellent use of percussion elements, though those are but one of the ingredients that went into its mix.

8. “Artificial Winter”

“Artificial Winter” was on Welcome to My Party. As such, it shared an album with “Blue Diamonds.” The song’s lyrics are open to interpretation. However, they seem to suggest that there’s a manufactured threat, which would make sense considering the name. Regardless, “Artificial Winter” has earned a spot on this list by being one of Rusted Root’s more memorable releases.

7. “Back to the Earth”

Given the name, interested individuals should have no problem guessing the general thoughts behind “Back to the Earth.” Reportedly, the band made it while feeling attuned to nature because of how much time they had spent in the woods.

6. “Martyr”

Unsurprisingly, Rusted Root is political. One example would be the band’s opposition to the United States’s support for the Contras in Nicaragua. Indeed, the frontman, Michael Glabicki, visited the country while the fighting was ongoing when he was still a high school student. “Martyr” took inspiration from that experience. As the story goes, Glabicki was inspired by Nicaraguans’ closeness to the Earth. Simultaneously, he was appalled by their poverty, which forced them to exploit the Earth rather than live in harmony. Something he felt responsible for because he believed that his country was contributing to the problem. There can be no doubt that “Martyr” is one of Rusted Root’s most famous tracks.

5. “Evil Ways”

Some might be surprised by how unusual “Evil Ways” seems compared to the rest of Rusted Root’s work. If so, they should know the band didn’t make the original. That was Willie Bobo back in 1967. Instead, Rusted Root did a cover for a movie called Home For the Holidays. It’s an excellent example of the band’s surprising presence in the film industry. Of course, it helped that this is one of the better versions of the song ever recorded and released.

4. “Beautiful People”

“Beautiful People” is another song from When I Woke. This single excels at stirring up emotions in the listener. It’s even more impressive because its lyrics are highly interpretable. Luckily, they stop short of being vague and nonsensical. Instead, they struck a careful balance by being just understandable enough for listeners to assign different meanings based on their experiences. Still, many believe it’s referring to drug addiction, which would explain its mention of self-destruction.

3. “Suspicious Minds”

“Suspicious Minds” is another cover strong enough to make this list. It’s named thus because it’s about a dysfunctional relationship in which the people don’t trust one another. Despite this, they’re so attached that they refuse to separate. The result is misery, which can’t be broken unless the people learn to trust one another. Rusted Root’s version differs from Elvis’s but isn’t necessarily inferior.

2. “Ecstasy”

Anyone who knows anything about Glabicki’s politics will have no problem guessing that this is another song inspired by Nicaragua. This song’s title is an ironic one. It isn’t talking about true happiness. Ecstasy means happiness but has connotations of someone not being in a normal state of mind. Never mind the party drug by that name. Here, the song’s title refers to a state of contentment based on a false consciousness. As such, its lyrics focus on rejecting what the narrator sees as mainstream complacency. “Ecstasy” is often considered an anti-war song, but its message is broad enough to be applied to other ills without much distortion.

1. “Send Me On My Way”

“Send Me On My Way” is the obvious choice for the number-one position on this list. In a sense, one could say it’s ironic. The song was released on Rusted Root’s debut album, Cruel Sun. That release is notable for featuring a picture of Mictlantecuhtli, a particularly grim god of the dead, even by the standards of that gloomy cohort. Despite this, “Send Me On My Way” is famous for being extraordinarily cheerful and upbeat. It did well enough to reach the number 72 position on the Billboard Hot 100, the only time Rusted Root has shown up on that chart. Interestingly, the song had unusual longevity because of its frequent use in movies and TV shows, so much so that it’s iconic for the 1990s. In large part, that’s because “Send Me On My Way” is so optimistic that it became an easy fit for kids’ media.

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