Chop Suey! (song)

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"Chop Suey!" redirects here. For other uses, including other songs titled "Chop Suey", see Chop suey (disambiguation).
"Chop Suey!"
Single by System of a Down
from the album Toxicity
B-side "Johnny"
Released August 13, 2001 (2001-08-13)[1]
Recorded February 2001 (2001-02) – March 2001 (2001-03) (Cello Studios, Hollywood, California, US)
Length 3:30
Label American
System of a Down singles chronology
"Chop Suey!"
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 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.[4] "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,[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."

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 520 million views on YouTube as of March 2017.

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.[6]

British band Enter Shikari also covered the song in 2015 for Rock Sound special compilation for their 200th issue.

The song was used alongside Elton John's 1972 song Crocodile Rock by comedy artist Neil Cicierega for his 2014 album Mouth Silence, creating the song "Crocodile Chop".

Spanish band Ankor also covered this song for their 2014 EP Get On The Winner Horse!

American metalcore band Motionless in White began covering the song on their recent 2017 tour with Falling in Reverse, Issues, Dangerkids, and Dead Girls Academy.

In 2017, Anthony Vincent, the vocalist behind YouTube series Ten Seconds Songs, re-interpreted "Chop Suey!" in 20 different styles.[7]

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 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.[8] In the UK Singles Chart, it debuted and peaked at No. 17.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2001–02) Position
Australia (ARIA)[9] 14
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
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
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
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


  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. ^
  5. ^ "System of a Down 'chop suey'". The Forum Inglewood. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (August 30, 2007). "Guilt by Association". Pitchfork. 
  7. ^ Majzoub, Hamzeh (24 February 2017). "Hear System of a Down's 'Chop Suey!' Sung in 20 Different Styles". rollinstone. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Toxicity — System of a Down — Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]