Toxicity (song)

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"Toxicity"
Cover of the CD 2 UK Import of "Toxicity".
Single by System of a Down
from the album Toxicity
Released January 22, 2002
Format CD, Airplay
Recorded Cello Studios
Hollywood, California
Genre Nu metal[1]
Length 3:36
Label American
Writer(s) Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian
System of a Down singles chronology
"Chop Suey!"
(2001)
"Toxicity"
(2002)
"Aerials"
(2002)
Music video
"Toxicity" on YouTube

"Toxicity" is a single by Armenian American metal band System of a Down, released in 2002. It was originally released on the album of the same name.

The writing credit for the song is Malakian/Odadjian/Tankian.

It is known for its dynamic chorus, aggressive vocals, and prominent drum beat. The song is predominately in triple meter, alternating between 6/8, 12/8 and 4/4 time. The guitar during the verse plays in 6/8 using a 2+2+2 phrasing while the heavy part ("somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep") makes use of a hemiola with the guitar switching to a 3+3+3+3 pattern while the drums remain in compound duple meter until the bridge. The song was ranked #14 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs,[2] and was called a nu metal classic by Stylus Magazine.[1]

"Toxicity" is a downloadable song for the music video game series Rock Band, and is a featured track in Guitar Hero: Metallica.

Awards[edit]

  • The song made #53 on the Y2KROQ Top 200 Songs of the Century.
  • The song was sampled by Lil B on his track "I'm the Rap God" from the 2013 mixtape 05 Fuck Em.

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by Marcos Siega and Shavo Odadjian. The beginning of the video shows the streets of Los Angeles, California, then cuts to the band. Daron Malakian can be seen wearing a Los Angeles Kings jersey with his last name on the back most of the time in the video. During the verses, a projector shows homeless people lined against the streets. After the second chorus, Daron is seen playing the fast riff in fast motion while the band freezes and a crowd slowly appears. The rest of the band resumes as they all come in. The crowd sings along with the band as well as forming a circle pit both in the light and in the dark with glow-sticks. There is one scene that features the band eating seeds as in the lyrics "eating seeds is a past time activity."

Covers and samples[edit]

The song was sampled by American rapper Lil B, on his track "G.O.R. (God of Rap)" from 2013's 05 Fuck Em mixtape.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Serj Tankian. 

CD single
No. Title Music Length
1. "Toxicity"   Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:39
2. "X" (Live) Daron Malakian 3:02
3. "Suggestions" (Live) Daron Malakian 2:44
4. "Marmalade"   Daron Malakian 2:59
5. "Toxicity" (Video Version) Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:43

All lyrics written by Serj Tankian. 

Australian single
No. Title Music Length
1. "Toxicity"   Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:39
2. "X" (Live) Daron Malakian 3:05
3. "Suggestions" (Live) Daron Malakian 2:44
4. "Sugar" (Video Version) Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:28

All lyrics written by Serj Tankian. 

UK CD1
No. Title Music Length
1. "Toxicity"   Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:42
2. "X" (Live) Daron Malakian 3:05
3. "Suggestions" (Live) Daron Malakian 2:44
UK CD2
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Toxicity"   Serj Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:41
2. "Marmalade"   Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 3:02
3. "Metro" (Explicit Version) John Crawford John Crawford 3:00

All lyrics written by Serj Tankian. 

7" single
No. Title Music Length
1. "Toxicity"   Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian 3:39
2. "Storaged"   Daron Malakian 1:19

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2002) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 70
U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks 3
U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 10

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Unterberger, Andrew (September 10, 2004). "Top Ten Nu-Metal Bands". Stylus magazine. Archived from the original on October 9, 2004. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs", 1–4 May 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by VH1.com; last accessed September 10, 2006
  3. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (January 7, 2014). "Lil B - 05 Fuck Em". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 3, 2014.