Chop Suey! (song)

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"Chop Suey!"
Single by System of a Down
from the album Toxicity
Released August 13, 2001
Format CD, vinyl
Recorded February — March 2001
Cello Studios
Hollywood, California
Genre Alternative metal[1]
Length 3:30
Label American
Writer(s) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian
System of a Down singles chronology
"Sugar"
(1999)
"Chop Suey!"
(2001)
"Toxicity"
(2002)
UK Import CD 1
UK Import CD 1 single cover of "Chop Suey!".
UK Import CD 2
UK Import CD 2 single cover of "Chop Suey!".
Promo CD
Promo cover.
Music video
"Chop Suey!" on YouTube

"Chop Suey!" is the first single from Armenian American alternative metal band System of a Down's second album Toxicity. The single was released in September 2001 and earned the band its first Grammy nomination. The song's working title was "Suicide"; the band members claim the change was not caused by pressure from their record company. Certain pressings of the album include an intro to the track where the comment "We're rolling 'Suicide'" can still be heard faintly. The song is included as a playable track in the music video games: Rock Band 2, Rock Revolution, and Rock Band Unplugged. It is often seen as the band's signature song, the video has received over 178 million hits on YouTube as of February 2014.

Overview[edit]

The album Toxicity was number one on the charts during the week of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the controversy surrounding the popular single at the time led to Clear Channel Radio placing the song on a list of post-9/11 inappropriate titles. Although it was never actually banned completely from the air, Clear Channel Radio stations were advised against playing any of the songs on the list.

The song was included on Blender magazine's "500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" list.

In an interview,[2] Daron Malakian explained, "The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ' 'I cry when angels deserve to die'. The lyric passages 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit' and 'why have you forsaken me?' are a reference to Jesus' death on the cross, as, according to the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while dying."

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by the acclaimed Marcos Siega, is set in the parking lot of a motel in Los Angeles, hometown of the band. The band members are performing the song on stage, surrounded by approximately 1,000 fans. Editing devices are used to create the effect of the band members "walking through" one another and teleporting on and off the stage. One scene briefly shows Tankian eating chop suey with some fans, the only reference to the title dish in either the song or the video. The video makes use of the SnorriCam technique, in which an actor will have a camera attached to them with a harness, making it appear as though the background is moving and the actor is stationary. In the middle of the video the Armenian flag can be seen. The video has over 184 million views on YouTube, as of December 13th, 2013.

Covers and parodies[edit]

The song has been parodied and covered several times. Tenacious D covered the song in live performances, with Jack Black singing gibberish lyrics. "Weird Al" Yankovic included the song in the "Angry White Boy Polka" medley on his album Poodle Hat. Richard Cheese parodied the song in his 2002 album Tuxicity (which itself is a take-off on the album's name). ApologetiX parodied the song as "Downer of a Sister" on their album Adam Up. Filipino band Parokya ni Edgar also parodied this song, along with "Toxicity", another of System of a Down's songs, and amalgamated it as "The Ordertaker" in their album Halina sa Parokya, about an angry customer at a restaurant that has a menu but sells nothing.

Chart performance[edit]

"Chop Suey!" was a moderate success on the charts around the world. In Australia, after hitting No. 3 on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2001, with virtually no airplay on commercial radio, it debuted and peaked at No. 14 in February 2002. It is System of a Down's highest charting single in Australia. In the United States, the song peaked at No. 76, making it the band's lowest peaking song on the Hot 100. On the Modern Rock Tracks, "Chop Suey!" peaked at No. 7, becoming the band's first top ten single.[3] In the UK Singles Chart, it debuted and peaked at No. 17.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2001-2002) Position
UK Singles Chart 17
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 76
U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks 7
U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 12

Track listing[edit]

CD single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Chop Suey!"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:30
2. "Johnny"   Serj Tankian Serj Tankian 2:08
3. "Sugar" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 2:23
4. "War?" (Live) Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 2:47
UK CD1 • Australian single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Chop Suey!"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:30
2. "Johnny"   Serj Tankian Serj Tankian 2:08
3. "Know" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian 3:04
UK CD2
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Chop Suey!"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:31
2. "Sugar" (Live) Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 2:27
3. "War?" (Live) Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 2:47
4. "Chop Suey!" (Video) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:27
7" single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Chop Suey!"   Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian Daron Malakian 3:30
2. "Johnny"   Serj Tankian Serj Tankian 2:08

References[edit]

External links[edit]