Chop Suey! (song)

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"Chop Suey!"
ChopSueyEurope.jpg
Single by System of a Down
from the album Toxicity
B-side "Johnny"
Released August 13, 2001 (2001-08-13)[1]
Format
Recorded February 2001 (2001-02) – March 2001 (2001-03) (Cello Studios, Hollywood, California, US)
Genre
Length 3:30
Label American
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
System of a Down singles chronology
"Spiders"
(1999)
"Chop Suey!"
(2001)
"Toxicity"
(2002)
"Spiders"
(1999)
"Chop Suey!"
(2001)
"Toxicity"
(2002)
UK Import CD 1
UK Import CD 1 single cover of "Chop Suey!"
UK Import CD 1 single cover of "Chop Suey!"
UK Import CD 2
UK Import CD 2 single cover of "Chop Suey!"
UK Import CD 2 single cover of "Chop Suey!"
Promo CD
Promo cover
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 August 2001 and earned the band its first Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Metal Performance. Loudwire included the song in its list of The Best Hard Rock Songs Of The 21st Century, where it was ranked at number-one.[4] "Chop Suey!" is often seen as the band's signature song.

Overview[edit]

In an interview,[5] 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 commend 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."

Song title[edit]

The song was originally titled "Suicide" but the band decided to change it because they wanted to make it radio-friendly.[6][7] The song title is therefore a wordplay from Self-righteous suicide to "Self-right-Chop Suey-cide" that replaces provocation by absurdity. The band members claim this change was not caused by pressure from their record company. Noteworthy, certain pressings of the album include an intro to the track where the comment We're rolling 'Suicide' can still be heard faintly before the guitar starts.

Music video[edit]

The music video was the band's first collaboration with the acclaimed director Marcos Siega, and is set in the car park of the Oak Tree Inn motel in Los Angeles, hometown of the band. The 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, an effect similar to one used in the Red Hot Chili Peppers video "Around the World". 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 more than 600 million views on YouTube as of September 2017.

Controversy[edit]

"Chop Suey!" is the first single of Toxicity, an album that was number one on the charts during the week of the September 11, 2001 attacks. A controversy surrounding the popular single, especially the line 'I don't think you trust in my self-righteous suicide', 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.[8]

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. Casey Shea recorded a cover for Engine Room Recordings' compilation album Guilt by Association Vol. 1, which was released in September 2007.[9]

In 2017, Anthony Vincent, the vocalist behind YouTube series Ten Seconds Songs, re-interpreted "Chop Suey!" in 20 different styles.[10]

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

Chart positions[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 due to the fact it was taken off the radio for its political lyrics. On the Modern Rock Tracks, "Chop Suey!" peaked at No. 7, becoming the band's first top ten single.[11] In the UK Singles Chart, it debuted and peaked at No. 17.

Chart (2001–02) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[12] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[14] 46
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 25
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 17
US Billboard Hot 100 76
US Hot Modern Rock Tracks 7
US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 12

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wiederhorn, Jonn (August 13, 2001). "System Of A Down’s Schizophrenia Aggravated On Toxicity". MTV. Retrieved April 15, 2015. The first single from Toxicity is “Chop Suey,” which starts with a guitar strum and a tribal beat and segues to a serrated stop-start punk verse before drifting into an ethereal chorus colored by a bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument. 
  2. ^ Evans, James (April 17, 2013). "Crashing the Party". Not so long ago, I was frequenting an exclusive South Leamington cocktail bar. Compelled by housemates proffering a certain glowing green beverage, I was giving a passionate rendition of System of a Down’s alternative metal anthem, ‘Chop Suey’. 
  3. ^ Chesler, Josh (May 18, 2015). "10 Nu-metal Songs That Actually Don't Suck". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ http://loudwire.com/system-of-a-down-chop-suey-top-21st-century-hard-rock-songs/
  5. ^ "System of a Down 'chop suey'". www.nme.com. The Forum Inglewood. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "What Do The Lyrics Of The Song Chop Suey! mean?". Quora. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ "SongFacts - Chop Suey by System of a Down". SongFacts. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ It's the End of the World as Clear Channel Knows It Slate
  9. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (August 30, 2007). "Guilt by Association". Pitchfork. 
  10. ^ Majzoub, Hamzeh (24 February 2017). "Hear System of a Down's 'Chop Suey!' Sung in 20 Different Styles". rollinstone. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Toxicity — System of a Down — Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  12. ^ "Australian-charts.com – System of a Down – Chop Suey!". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – System of a Down – Chop Suey!" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ "Chart Track: Week 47, 2001". Irish Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – System of a Down – Chop Suey!" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ "Archive Chart: 2001-12-01" UK Singles Chart.

External links[edit]