"Chop Suey!" is the first single from Armenian-American alternative metal band System of a Down's second albumToxicity. The single was released in August 2001 and earned the band its first Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Metal Performance. 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 before the guitar starts. Loudwire included the song in its list of The Best Hard Rock Songs Of The 21st Century, where it was ranked at #1. "Chop Suey!" is often seen as the band's signature song.
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, 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.
The song was included on Blender magazine's "500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" list.
In an interview, 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."
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 484 million views on Youtube as of December 2016.
"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. In the UK Singles Chart, it debuted and peaked at No. 17.
^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.
^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’.