Meaning of Chop Suey! by System of a Down

The American band System of a Down was formed in 1992 and currently has four active members. The group’s albums were wildly popular and sold in millions of copies.

The meaning of the title of the song “Chop  suey!”

In the working version of the group, the single was supposed to have the name “suicide”, but for obvious reasons, the name had to be changed in order to avoid protests with such a harsh title and to promote better promotion of the track on the radio. Chop suey is an original and little-known American dish that consists of vegetables with meat and soy sauce.

The dish symbolizes the mixture of different emotions that the song evokes. And in the clip there are frames where we can see what this dish is like.

What is the song “Chop  suey!”

The single “Chop suey” was released in 2001 and immediately gained popularity. The song was nominated for two music awards for “best video” and “best performance”. Well-known critics have written that the lead singer of the group, Serj Tankian, changes the intonation of his voice so professionally while singing that in some episodes his voice sounds like a diabolical, evil genius, and in other moments it resembles a choir of innocent boys.

The song has a hard rhythm, but in some places goes into a slow structure to accentuate the meaning of the piece. The single begins with the call “Wake up!”. The authors encourage each individual listener to wake up and “put on make-up” to cover up the scars of previous years. In these lines, we feel optimism and a call to change the black streak of our life for a white one.

Also, as an option, drug addiction is considered here, from which it is time to “wake up”. The authors urge “do not leave the keys on the table”, it sounds like an allegory – do not return to a past life. Get away from the past forever, taking the keys with you. The phrase “you wanted” is repeated many times, emphasizing emotionally – a person builds his own destiny.

If someone wanted to live in the world of drugs, he blindly followed his desires. The phrase “you don’t believe in my suicide” makes it clear that even from the world of drugs there is a way out and those people who really love you do not believe until the last that this is the end. But even angels sometimes “deserve death”, what can I say about people.

Therefore, when thinking about death, the hero of the plot turns to God. He weeps and cries out to God as the father of all living things, asking why God abandoned him. He repeats the call several times with the question that God has abandoned him in “his eyes”, “his heart” and “his thoughts”. God is shown here as the last hope, to which the hero gives “his spirit”, that is, his soul.

Music and filming in “Chop  suey!”

The single is performed in the rock genre, like the rest of the group’s works. And, despite the fast pace of the song at the very beginning, with transitions to a repetitive, slow chorus with an appeal to divine powers, we feel all the tragedy that the song is saturated with.

A very unusual and interesting moment of the performance are the pauses that the soloist makes after the call “Wake up!”. Moreover, pauses include not only a verbal stop, but at the moment of pauses, the entire musical arrangement also stops in order to actively attract the listener to the calls that sound in the song.

Also original is the style of shooting, in which the camera sharply approaches or moves away, and the image itself can rotate around its axis or hover diagonally. This abrupt camera movement enhances the emotional effect. Also, the camera is sometimes attached to the actors in the clip, and the background around them is spinning.

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