Aerials (song)

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"Aerials"
Single by System of a Down
from the album Toxicity
B-side "Streamline" (Alternate version)
Released June 11, 2002
Format CD, Cassette, Vinyl, Airplay
Recorded February 15, 2001
Cello Studios
Hollywood, California
Genre Progressive rock, heavy metal, hard rock
Length 3:54 (without hidden track)
6:11 (with hidden track)
Label American
Writer(s) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian
System of a Down singles chronology
"Toxicity"
(2002)
"Aerials"
(2002)
"Innervision"
(2002)
Music video
"Aerials" on YouTube

"Aerials" is a single by the Alternative metal[1] band System of a Down. It was released in 2002 from their second album Toxicity, which earned the band its second Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2003. The song hit #1 on both the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts.[2]

While the album version of "Aerials" is 6:11 minutes long, a hidden track called "Arto" starts at 3:58 seconds. "Aerials" itself ends at 3:54. "Arto" (an unofficial name for the track) features Armenian musician Arto Tunçboyacıyan, with the band playing a traditional Armenian Church hymn, "Der Voghormya" ("Lord Have Mercy").

Serj Tankian plays rhythm guitar when the song is played live.

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Shavo Odadjian and David Slade.

The video starts out in a desolate, desert-like place. The viewpoint then shifts to a circus tent. Inside, the band is getting ready, and being watched by a very abnormal looking young boy. The eyes are pulled back, and the mouth is very small, providing him with a strikingly alien appearance and separating him from everyone else. The band starts playing. It then shifts to the boy surrounded by people in an urban environment flashing gang signs while a large group around him dances. It then shifts back to the band playing inside the tent. Back outside, the boy is walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame with two women in red dresses. The scene then becomes that of the boy, two different women in red dresses similar to the first pair, and an older man, who seems to be interviewing them, or making an agreement. Exiting the building, paparazzi swarm the boy and begin photographing the boy. People begin interviewing him, but he is never seen to respond. It then cuts back to the band for a short period of time, where after it displays the boy in a photo shoot, being examined with different clothes. The scene continues to cut between the photo shoot and the band, until near the end, where it shows the boy with two women in red dresses, reaching for money that is falling from above. At the end of the song, every scene the boy has been shown in is shown briefly. He then walks to the middle of the circus tent, lies down in the middle, and closes his eyes, as the song ends.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 55
U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks 1

Cover versions[edit]

The song was recorded as a cover by melodic death metal band Amon Amarth, and was released as a bonus track to the iTunes edition of their eighth album, Surtur Rising. Alternative rock band The Pretty Reckless included the song in their live set-list during their 2012 headlining tour The Medicine Tour.

Track listing[edit]

CD single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Aerials"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:57
2. "Toxicity" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:38
3. "Sugar" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 4:10
4. "P.L.U.C.K." (Live) Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 4:09
5. "Aerials" (Live Video/DVD Version) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian  
Australian single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Aerials"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:57
2. "Toxicity" (Live Version) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:38
3. "P.L.U.C.K." (Live) Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 4:09
UK CD1
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Aerials"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:57
2. "Toxicity" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:38
3. "P.L.U.C.K." (Live) Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 4:09
4. "Aerials" (Video) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian  
UK CD2
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Aerials"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:57
2. "Streamline" (Album Version) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:38
3. "Sugar" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 4:10
7" single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Aerials"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:57
2. "Snowblind" (Album Version) Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward 4:40

References[edit]

Preceded by
"By the Way" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
October 5–19, 2002
Succeeded by
"You Know You're Right" by Nirvana
Preceded by
"By the Way" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
September 28, 2002
Succeeded by
"Never Again" by Nickelback