System of a Down's "Chop Suey!": Why This Song Sucks | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Why This Song Sucks

System of a Down's "Chop Suey!": Why This Song Sucks

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Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 8:13 AM

[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]

Song: System of a Down's "Chop Suey!"

History: "Chop Suey!" was the first single from System of a Down's 2001 album Toxicity . It's the first song that shows up you start typing the band's name into the search box on Google and YouTube so it's pretty hot shit in the world of Search Engine Optimization*.

*Google is more accurate when you type in the phrase "Chop Suey by System of a Down is AWESOME!!!" Look:

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Extra History: Super conglomerate Clear Channel Communications put "Chop Suey!" on its list of songs inappropriate to play following 9/11, and it sure as shit wasn't because it was too awesome. (Probably the references to self-righteous suicide had more to do with it.)

Atmospherics: It sounds exactly like what a bunch of kids who were trying hard not to smile in the early aughts wanted to sound like.

Scientific Analysis: I don't think anyone has ever bothered to mention this, but did you know that System of a Down's bassist Shavo Odadjian isn't human? I guess it's not "politically correct" to mention that, or blahblahblah, but he's actually a Reaper from Blade II.

click to enlarge SoaD2.jpg
In 2002, I was an undergraduate in Scientist School. During a meeting, I mentioned to one of my colleagues that this was a bad song. He retorted, "Uh-uh," and I was like, "Yeah, for realsies." But then he was like, "Dude..." so I was a like, "Go on."

He said: "This has to be a good song because if you listen to it while you're working out, you can pretty much bench press about 3,000 pounds when it hits its crescendo." He had a point. And a pretty convincing graph.

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This, it seemed, negated my original premise. Any song that could potentially superheroize someone could not responsibly be considered to suck.

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