Hypnotize (System of a Down song)

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Single by System of a Down
from the album Hypnotize
Released October 11, 2005
Format Vinyl, CD, Airplay
Recorded The Mansion
(Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California, U.S.)
Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research Studios
(Los Angeles, California, U.S.)
Genre Hard rock
Length 3:09
Label American/Columbia
Writer(s) Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian
System of a Down singles chronology
"Lonely Day"
Music video
"Hypnotize" on YouTube

"Hypnotize" is the lead single for Armenian American rock band System of a Down's album of the same name, which was released on November 22, 2005 (see 2005 in music). The video was filmed on September 28, 2005, at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It reached number one on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart[1] and is the band's biggest international hit.

As in many Mezmerize/Hypnotize songs, guitarist Daron Malakian accompanies Serj Tankian in the vocal sections. Serj and Daron perform a harmony in the refrain before and after the instrumental bridge. The combination of the two vocalists gives the song a vocal range, with Serj handling the lower verses and Daron handling the higher verses. Musically, "Hypnotize" changes modes in several places. The opening guitar riff and early verses are an upbeat melody that switches between the I (melodic) and V (Hindu) modes of F# melodic minor. The later riffs and the outro to the song are in the more commonly heard VI (natural) mode of F# minor. This mixing of modes creates the song's characteristic psychedelic feeling.

The Eastern-themed instrumental bridge contains at least four overdubbed clean guitar tracks and a well-crafted, syncopated rhythm. The song leads up to a massive crescendo, then ends with a repeated portion of the opening riff with soft singing by Malakian.

Music video[edit]

The music video is mostly footage from one of the band's September 2005 concerts, (filmed at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan) but includes a CGI scene of painting along with the music; the audio is dubbed over with the studio track. At one point in the video, a female audience member can be seen exposing her breasts. The nudity was left uncensored when the video was aired on television.

The beginning and ending of the video show a helicopter spraying red matter across Grand Rapids (at the end forming the album's artwork). This could possibly be the pesticide referred to in the song "Attack" of the same album.

Around a minute and fifty-two seconds into the video, there is a shot of a small portion of the audience. Within this shot, there is a woman exposing her breasts. This is highly notable, as no airing of the video on Television censors this.

Subject matter[edit]

The song's lyrics in the verses refer to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and propaganda's harmful effects upon its target audiences. The opening line "Why don't you ask the kids at Tiananmen Square...was fashion the reason why they were there?" calls the nature of protest movements themselves into question, implying that for most young people involved their participation is simply to appear trendy and hip instead of actually desiring any real action. For this reason protesters can be just as "simple minded" as those who fall under the influence of regime and nation state propaganda. The chorus is unrelated to the rest of the song. In an MTV interview Daron stated that he wrote the song while he was actually sitting in his car waiting for his girlfriend. From the point of view of a listener, however, this may well be another reference to the "simple-minded". Another meaning that can be taken from the chorus is that while reality-distorting political propaganda is rampant, everyday life continues as usual.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Hypnotize"   D. Malakian, S. Tankian D. Malakian, S. Tankian 3:09
2. "Science" (Live from the Hurricane Festival – Explicit) S. Tankian D. Malakian 2:37
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Hypnotize"   D. Malakian, S. Tankian D. Malakian 3:09
2. "Mr. Jack" (Live from the Hurricane Festival – Explicit) S. Tankian, D. Malakian D. Malakian 7:14
3. "War?" (Live from the Hurricane Festival – Explicit) S. Tankian D. Malakian 3:58
7" single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Hypnotize"   D. Malakian, S. Tankian D. Malakian 3:09
2. "Forest" (Live from the Hurricane Festival – Explicit) S. Tankian D. Malakian 4:05
iTunes single
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Hypnotize"   D. Malakian, S. Tankian D. Malakian 3:09


  1. ^ "Hypnotize - System of a Down | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"DOA" by Foo Fighters
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
January 21, 2006
Succeeded by
"Perfect Situation" by Weezer