System of a Down’s ‘Chop Suey!’ Hits One Billion Views on YouTube

The music video for System of a Down’s legendary breakout single “Chop Suey!” has just hit one billion views on YouTube. The milestone comes only months before the iconic song marks its 20th anniversary.

Having recruited a cult following with their debut self-titled album, System of a Down were poised to become the next great cult band in the vein of Frank Zappa or Primus, but with the release of 2001’s Toxicity, the Armenian-American band blew apart those expectations and attracted monumental mainstream success. Becoming one of the most bizarre acts to garner universal acclaim, Toxicity hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, going on to be certified triple platinum by the RIAA.

“I remember when I wrote ‘Chop Suey!’ we didn’t even have a tour bus yet,” Malakian recalled during an interview with Loudwire. “We were still in an RV and I was playing my acoustic guitar in back of the RV where there was a bed. I never write on the road. That’s one of the few, very few songs that I wrote while I was on the road, I remember writing the song when the RV was on the highway. I don’t know where we were, probably [driving] to the next gig, and it all came to me just hanging out in the back of the RV playing my acoustic guitar.”

He continued, “I can always feel when I write something good and I can always tell when I write something that needs a little work. I thought it was really good, but did I think it was going to turn into this huge song that was gonna get on MTV and become a huge hit for System of a Down? No. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that it was gonna be our first [hit] single. I didn’t think it was gonna be so huge, but at the time I thought it was good. I was a fan of it.”

“Chop Suey!” — released Aug. 13, 2001 — was the first single from Toxicity. Its middle-eastern tonality and wild pacing immediately stood out from ‘90s and early 2000s nu-metal favorites, allowing System to solidify their identity as an avant-garde band, rather than just another angst-ridden clone act.

“All of a sudden I’m walking in the mall, and there are people who recognize me and know who the hell I am through the video asking for pictures, asking for autographs,” Malakian recalled. “I was a big famous rock star, yet I was still living with my parents.”

According to bassist Shavo Odadjian, “Chop Suey!” was originally title “Suicide,” the name was changed following a discussion with System’s record label. “‘Chop Suey!’ is ‘suicide’ chopped in half,” Odadjian told Loudwire. “We had to pick and choose our battles — we couldn’t battle everything. We were smart about it, we made it something cool.”

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At the end of the 2010s, “Chop Suey!” was the eighth-most watched music video on YouTube from the 2000s, accumulating more views (at the time) than Linkin Park’s “In the End” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” As of 2020, “Chop Suey!” has been certified gold or platinum in at least four countries.

By any metric, “Chop Suey!” is one of the 21st century’s definitive singles across all genres and one of the greatest metal songs of all time. Congratulations to System of a Down for reaching the incredible milestone. Watch the video for “Chop Suey!” below.

System Of A Down – Chop Suey! (Official Video)

See ‘Chop Suey!’ in the 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

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15 Years Ago: System of a Down Release ‘Hypnotize’ Album

In 2001, System of a Down reached new heights with their Toxicity album, but rather than rush into a follow-up, the band opted to release an odds and ends collection called Steal This Album in 2002. By the time 2004 rolled around, the band had plenty to say and a lot of music set to come out of them.

“The whole world’s gone crazy over the past couple of years, so that’s brought out a lot of emotions and affected our songwriting,” stated guitarist Daron Malakian to Rolling Stone. “We just want to make a great rock record, a record that will be heavy, but heavy in emotion, not just riffs.” He elaborated to Launch that war back home factored into the process, adding, “The last two or three months or whenever that happened was probably the toughest time of my whole life. Because it was like not knowing what’s going on until we got a phone call. And we get a phone call and they’re OK and we can breathe a little bit. For one month I didn’t know if a bomb dropped on my grandmother’s house or, you know what I mean? I didn’t know. It could have. It brought out a lot of good material — not necessarily political music, just emotional music, you know?”

And while System had a certain style and sound that put them on top, the band was open to not so obvious influences such as Kraftwerk, the Beach Boys and the Zombies. “We mixed a lot of styles together without making them seem like they don’t belong together,” said the guitarist. “We’re going to give everybody the System of a Down roller coaster, but don’t expect it to sound like it has before.”

The band started writing and rehearsing in North Hollywood in January of 2004, then decamped to the famous Houdini Mansion in the Laurel Canyon hills of Hollywood where producer Rick Rubin had recorded Red Hot Chili PeppersBlood Sugar Sex Magik and would later work with acts like Audioslave, Slipknot, Linkin Park and more.

As the process continued, the band realized they had more than enough material to go beyond the traditional album format and while initially expected to have a new album by the end of 2004, they pushed the timeline into 2005 with not one, but two discs. Singer Serj Tankian revealed to Billboard, “There has been a great deal of upheaval for all of us over the past year or so and that has brought fourth a lot of emotional material. There’s a good amount of social commentary in the new songs, as well as songs where we deal with love, with reminiscing, relationships, politics and funny experiences.”

Still, the idea of a double album was a little bit daunting for the band. Malakian stated, “You don’t have a bunch of kids dropping acid like they used to. You can’t just release double albums and expect people to sit there and devote their time to it. Our songs are tough to digest and I would feel really uncomfortable handing someone a CD with 25 songs staring them in the face.” Rubin agreed, telling Billboard, “Everything in today’s culture is short term and disposable. We’re living in a time when people don’t seem to even listen to one full album, so we felt the only way for it to get properly heard was to spoon feed it.”

As such, the band issued the Mezmerize portion of their double disc on May 17, 2005 with the Hypnotize portion arriving just over six months later on Nov. 22, 2005.

“Doing a two-album set never entered into our thought process,” Malakian admitted to Billboard. “But when we looked at all the songs we had and arbitrarily tried to choose ‘the best’ 14 for one album, we realized we had two album’s worth of really great songs, and that they all connected with each other.”

System of a Down, “Hypnotize”

Speaking about the new music, bassist Shavo Odadjian stated, “It’s going to be pretty revolutionary. We’re taking everything we’ve done and canning it. We’re starting fresh as a brand new band. So you’re going to hear this new music. It’s going to be System, but it’s going to be a new tip. We did what we did, and at first people were like, ‘They’re doing something no one’s done.’ Now we’re going to do something else that will get the same kind of reaction.”

Malakian added, “It’s melodic in some ways and it’s heavy, but a lot of stuff happens in between the heavy. It’s not gonna sound like any of our records. We’ve had a lot of time off, and I’ve had a lot of time to rethink our sound and make some changes. Our older riffs had more of a ‘chugga-chugga’ sound. This stuff is more notey and melodic in an Eastern type of way. So this time I’ve actually put those kinds of vibes within a lot of heavy stuff.”

Prior to the Hypnotize album release on Nov. 22, 2005, the band got the ball rolling with the album’s title track. The song featured both Tankian and Malakian sharing vocals and is notable for the references to the Tiananmen Square protests and the effects of propaganda. Interestingly, Malakian says he penned the song while sitting in his car waiting for his girlfriend, which also turned into a lyric in the track. Keeping in line with the band’s red hot momentum, the track climbed to No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, while peaking at No. 5 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It also managed to crack the Billboard Hot 100, rising as high as No. 57.

System of a Down, “Lonely Day”

Though known for their rapid fire and hard hitting sounds, the band’s next single, “Lonely Day,” would be a more somber offering. Arriving in April 2006, the Daron Malakian-penned track was initially rumored to be about a family member, but that was later debunked. However, the song was quite personal to the guitarist, who provided lead vocals on “Lonely Day.” The track would reach No. 10 on both the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts and earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

The album would produce two more songs well known within the System of a Down catalog — “Vicinity of Obscenity” and “Kill Rock ‘n’ Roll” — though neither charted at radio. Tankian had a bigger hand in “Vicinity of Obscenity,” revealing that the song was inspired by Dadaism in an online chat well after the album’s release. “Kill Rock ‘n’ Roll” may not have had the inspiration that many would suspect from the title. Malakian penned the track after reportedly running over a rabbit in his car one night. The track would go on to be a favorite in the band’s sets during touring of the album.

System of a Down, “Kill Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Like its counterpart, Hypnotize would debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. It was certified gold within a month of release and went on to become a platinum seller. But after the massive project and knocking out five releases in a seven-year span, the band decided a break was in order.

They took a hiatus from August of 2006 through November of 2010, allowing for Serj Tankian solo albums, Daron Malakian to form and release material under the Scars on Broadway moniker with drummer John Dolmayan, and Shavo Odajian to found Achozen and take part in multiple projects. Though the band toured sparingly over the last decade, new music did not surface again until 2020 when the band released a pair of songs to bring attention to the war in Artsakh.

See Where Daron Malakian Ranks Among Our Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time

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System of a Down’s Two New Songs Top Billboard’s Hard Rock Chart

The two new songs from System of a Down, the rockers’ first fresh material in 15 years, have reached the top of Billboard‘s hard rock chart.

That’s quite a feat for both “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” which debuted at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the Hot Hard Rock Songs ranking for the week ending Nov. 21.

According to Billboard, “Land” hit the top slot with a total of 2.7 million streams in the United States and 5,000 downloads sold in the seven-day period that ended on Nov. 12, per tallies from Nielsen Music/MRC Data. “Humanoidz” was right behind it, with 1.8 million streams and 5,000 downloads sold.

With those impressive numbers, the tracks also hit No. 1 and No 2, in the same order, on Billboard‘s Hard Rock Digital Songs Sales chart.

All the grander is that “Protect the Land” is the first No. 1 on either chart for System of a Down. Although, as the music industry magazine and tab keeper noted, “both lists started after the band’s most hit-packed era (Hard Rock Digital Song Sales in 2007 and Hot Hard Rock Songs earlier this year).”

That said, don’t hold your breath for more new stuff from System of a Down. Guitarist Daron Malakian recently told Guitar World he’s “not expecting to do any more with SOAD right away or immediately after this.”

After not releasing anything since the singles culled from 2005’s Hypnotize, the double A-side single of “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” emerged earlier this month. The tunes’ sole purpose was to help raise both awareness and funding for Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.

The topic undoubtedly hits home for the four members of System of a Down — Malakian plus singer Serj Tankan, bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan — all of whom share Armenian-American heritage.

And while further new songs might not be a priority for the act’s members going forward, listeners’ response to the two new System of a Down tunes clearly touched the band.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your incredible support of our campaign for the people of Artsakh, and for donating to provide for those in dire need via the Armenia Fund,” the group said in a note on their website. “Because of you, we will be able to help displaced civilians, young and old, who are affected by the hideous war crimes inflicted upon Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey.”

Watch a recent interview with the band about the cause below.

System of a Down, “Speaking Out for Artsakh” Band Interview

See System of a Down in the 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

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25 Massive Rock + Metal Bands Ranked by Spotify Monthly Listeners

Streaming continues to be a growing trend in music listenership and Spotify continues its reign as a streaming giant. Loudwire contributor Ryan J. Downey has compiled a list of over 550 rock, metal, punk and hardcore artists and their monthly streaming numbers via his Stream N’ Destroy newsletter. Below we count down the Top 25 and share their monthly streaming listenership on Spotify.

There are certain bands you expect to be there. It should come as no surprise that AC/DC rank near the top, especially given the recent anticipation for their Power Up. Likewise, the 20th anniversary of Linkin Park‘s Hybrid Theory rallied a rush of nostalgia for the hugely influential band over the course of 2020.

Meanwhile acts like Queen and Guns N’ Roses both made the Top 10 for Spotify monthly listeners, showing that fans have followed them to streaming and continued to embrace their music there even without major 2020 plans. As intriguing as that may be, there are a few acts you might expect to be in the Top 25 overall who just missed the cut.

To see the full list of over 550 acts and their monthly Spotify streaming listenership, you can subscribe to Downey’s Stream N’ Destroy newsletter here. It’s full of hard rock and metal industry news. And also be sure to check out Downey’s Speak N’ Destroy podcast at this location.

Top 25 Rock + Metal Bands Based on Spotify Monthly Listeners 

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Daron Malakian Doesn’t See SOAD Making More New Music Soon

System of a Down surprise-released two new songs a little over a week ago. Between political differences within the band and stalled sessions a few years back on a new album, no one saw it coming. However, guitarist Daron Malakian doesn’t expect the band to do anymore new music anytime soon.

Speaking with Guitar World, Malakian explained that of the two new songs, “Protect the Land” was actually written over a year and a half ago. System released the track, along with “Genocidal Humanoidz,” on Nov. 6 to raise awareness about a conflict in Artsakh, which is having a large impact on Armenia.

“We didn’t even know this was going to happen. I was on my way to releasing these songs with my other band Scars on Broadway. Then the situation in Armenia happened and we put our differences aside. And our differences are only within the band,” Malakian reasoned.

The new songs were the first release System of a Down had put out in over 15 years. And although Malakian insists that the members get along with each other just fine, they do have creative differences that are impeding them from moving forward as a unit.

“I never say never but at the same time I’m not expecting to do any more with SOAD right away or immediately after this,” the guitarist said. “It really does seem like our fans like these new songs. That’s important to me.”

“That’s kinda where we’re gonna leave it for now. If more happens later on, then we’ll talk about that, but for now I will continue doing what I’m doing and everyone else will just continue what they’re doing. It’s all cool though, I’m really pleased with the response we got,” he concluded.

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System of a Down Share Gratitude for Support of Artsakh Campaign

Earlier this month, System of a Down surprised fans releasing their first new music in 15 years. The primary reason for doing so was to raise awareness of the ongoing war in Artsakh which is affecting the hugely Armenian population. Over the last month, the band’s members have been speaking out, and they’re now sharing their gratitude for those who’ve contributed to the Armenia Fund.

In a new statement, the band offers, “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your incredible support of our campaign for the people of Artsakh, and for helping us raise over $600k in donations to provide for those in dire need via the Armenia Fund. Because of you, we will be able to help displaced civilians, young and old, who are affected by the hideous war crimes inflicted upon Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey.”

They continue, “Please take a few minutes to watch our full interview [below] to get a more intimate look and understanding into why we came together to release ‘Protect the Land’ and ‘Genocidal Humanoidz.’ To the four of us, it’s extremely important to share these truths with you. It is for our ancestors, our culture, and our nation. Help us spread the message. Watch the interview in full below.”

Within the chat, bassist Shavo Odadjian reveals that the idea to do something started with a group text from drummer John Dolmayan.

“A lot of Armenian Americans around the world were gathered doing what we can to raise funds, to spread the message, to speak to people of influence so that everyone can speak out and call for this injustice to end,” explained Serj Tankian.

Guitarist Daron Malakian, who had already been writing something with soldiers in mind for Scars on Broadway, penned the song “Protect the Land.” He adds, “I wrote a song that gave them respect at the end of the day and I feel like it’s a morale booster.”

“What we’re hoping is that what happened in 1915 and what’s happened so many times in history doesn’t repeat itself and that the world acts quickly and is responsive and doesn’t just ignore it because it’s not a financial gain for them,” says Dolmayan. “This is a moral issue. It’s a humanitarian issue and it should be broached that way.”

“As System of a Down, this has been an incredible occasion for us to come together and put everything aside and speak out for our nation, as one, as four Armenian guys,” concludes Tankian. Watch their full interview below and you can still contribute to the Armenia Fund here.

System of a Down “Speaking Out for Artsakh” Interview

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System of a Down: New Music for Armenia Is ‘Bigger Than Our Egos’

System of a Down, after going 15 years without releasing any new music, debuted a pair of new songs on Nov. 6 in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the war in Artsakh that is impacting a largely Armenian community. The band was at a creative crossroads in recent years over the direction of new material and bassist Shavo Odadjian has said these new tracks are “bigger than our egos” as they put their differences on hold.

Of Armenian descent themselves, System of a Down have long been activists and a global voice for the country. The idea to work on new material (the songs “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz”), of which all proceeds will benefit Armenia Fund, was sparked by drummer John Dolmayan, who sent the rest of the band’s members a text, proposing they lay their creative conflict aside.

“He wrote and said we need to put everything behind and do something. We need to be a part of this. We need to help any way we can. This, this is bigger than us, bigger than our emotions, bigger than our feelings, bigger than our egos. Let’s go,” Odadjian recalled in an interview with FOX 11‘s Araksya Karapetyan. “And right away, Daron [Malakian] responded with, ‘Here, I have something that could save time.'”

Despite System of a Down’s inability to make progress toward new music due to creative impasses in the recent years, Odadjian affirmed that all of the members are still friends.

“So, when we got in [the studio], at first tension was a little high because we didn’t know how everyone was going to be, but about five minutes into it, we were talking, laughing’s talking about the song, how it’s going to be, how we’re going to help and what this is going to do for our people,” added Odadjian.

“That’s the number one thing,” he continued, “was what this is going to do to work and help out… how it’s going to help our people. Because I feel like it’s kind of like a Trojan horse, you know, it’s like we’re walking in and the world’s going to listen because it’s 15 years, we haven’t done anything.”

Singer Serj Tankian commented, “It’s about raising awareness about what’s going on with the humanitarian catastrophe in Artsakh [which was] perpetrated by Azerbaijan and Turkey — and it’s about trying to raise funds. The band is donating all of its proceeds to Armenia Fund.”

“It’s a catastrophe,” Tankian said of the war. “They brought in over 2,000 mercenaries from Syria. Now, this war is going to destabilize the whole region — it already is destabilizing the whole region with Russia and Iran on the border.”

To learn more about the Armenia fund and to make a donation, head here.

System of a Down Talk New Music on FOX 11

See System of a Down in 25 Legendary Metal Albums With No Weak Songs

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System of a Down Release First New Music in 15 Years

System of a Down are back with new music, issuing the two new tracks “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” which can be heard in the players below.

While the group members were unable to reach common ground on a new album during sessions a few years back, they did unite to record two new tracks to address the current war in Artsakh that is affecting a largely Armenian community.

In their statement on the matter, the band explain:

We as System Of A Down have just released new music for the first time in 15 years. The time to do this is now, as together, the four of us have something extremely important to say as a unified voice. These two songs, “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” both speak of a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon our cultural homelands of Artsakh and Armenia.

We’re proud to share these songs with you and hope you enjoy listening to them. Further, we encourage you to read on to learn more about their origins and once you do, hope you are inspired to speak out about the horrific injustices and human rights violations occurring there now. Most importantly and urgently, we humbly implore you to donate, in sums small or large to help those adversely affected with what are ever growing accounts of crimes against humanity.

In turn, you will receive downloads of these two new songs and the feeling that you’re truly making a difference. These funds will be used to provide crucial and desperately needed aid and basic supplies for those affected by these hideous acts.

On September 27, the combined forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey (along with Isis terrorists from Syria) attacked the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which we as Armenians call Artsakh. For over the past month, civilians young and old have been awakened day and night by the frightful sights and sounds of rocket attacks, falling bombs, missiles, drones and terrorist attacks. They’ve had to find sanctuary in makeshift shelters, trying to avoid the fallout of outlawed cluster bombs raining down on their streets and homes, hospitals and places of worship. Their attackers have set their forests and endangered wildlife ablaze using white phosphorus, another banned weapon.

And Why?

Because over 30 years ago in 1988, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh (which at the time was an Autonomous Oblast within the USSR), were tired of being treated as second class citizens and decided to declare their rightful independence from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic whose borders engulfed their own. This ultimately led to a war of self determination by Armenians in Karabakh against Azerbaijan that ended in a cease fire in 1994, with Armenians retaining control of their ancestral homelands and maintaining their independence to the present day. Our people have lived there for millennia, and for most families there, it’s the only home they and their forefathers and mothers have ever known. They just want to live in peace as they have for centuries.

The current corrupt regimes of Aliyev in Azerbaijan and Erdogan in Turkey now want to not only claim these lands as their own, but are committing genocidal acts with impunity on humanity and wildlife to achieve their mission. They are banking on the world being too distracted with COVID, elections and civil unrest to call out their atrocities. They have the bankroll, the resources and have recruited massive public relations firms to spin the truth and conceal their barbaric objective of genocide. This is not the time to turn a blind eye.

There is an immediate need for global citizens to urge their respective governments to not only condemn the actions of these crooked dictators, but to also insist world leaders act with urgency to bring peace to the region and rightfully recognize Artsakh as the independent nation it is.

We realize that for many of you, there are more convenient ways you like listening to music, so please consider the opportunity to download these songs as an act of charity above all else. Think of the list price for the downloads as a minimum donation, and if you have the ability and can be more generous with your donation, every single member of System Of A Down will be even more grateful for your benevolence. Band royalties from this initiative will be donated to Armenia Fund, a US based charity organization instrumental in providing those in need in Artsakh and Armenia with supplies needed for their basic survival.

The music and lyrics speak for themselves. We need you to speak for Artsakh.

Peace,

Daron, Shavo, John and Serj

Both “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” have been released via the group’s Bandcamp page. The funds from orders for the songs and the band’s new merch collection will be used to provide desperately needed aid and basic supplies for those affected by the war in Artsakh. Place your orders here and find the music via the platform of your choosing at this location.

“Please consider the opportunity to download these songs as an act of charity irrespective of how you choose to listen to them today, tomorrow and for years to come,” state the band.

The group has also issued a new video for “Protect the Land” directed by Ara Soudjian and Shavo Odadjian that can be viewed below the lyrics for the song.

“Protect the Land” Lyrics

The big gun tells you what your life is worth
What do we deserve before we end the earth
If they will try to push you far away
Would you stay
And take a stand
Would you stay with gun in hand
They protect the land
They protect the land

Those who protect the land
Those who protect the land
Those who protect

The enemy of man is his own decay
If they’re evil now then evil they will stay
They will try to push you far away
Would you stay and take a stand
Would you stay with gun in hand
They protect the land
They protect the land
They protect the land

Our history and victory and legacy we send
From scavengers and invaders those who protect the land
Those who protect the land
Those who protect
Those who protect the land
Those who protect

Some were forced to foreign lands
Some would lay dead on the sand
Would you stay and take command
Would you stay with gun in hand (with gun in hand)
They protect the land
They protect the land
They protect the land

Our history and victory and legacy we send
from scavengers and invaders those who protect the land
Our history and victory and legacy we send
from scavengers and invaders those who protect
Those who protect the land
Those who protect the land
Those who protect
Those who protect the land
Those who protect

System of a Down, “Protect the Land”

System of a Down, “Genocidal Humanoidz”

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