Chop Suey! (song)

Last updated
"Chop Suey!"
Single by System of a Down
from the album Toxicity
B-side "Johnny"
ReleasedAugust 13, 2001 (2001-08-13) [1]
RecordedFebruary 2001 (2001-02) March 2001 (2001-03)(Cello Studios, Hollywood, California, US)
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
Soad chop suey.jpg
Promo cover
Music video
"Chop Suey!" on YouTube

"Chop Suey!" (originally, and sometimes still mistakenly called "Suicide") is the first single from Armenian-American heavy 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. Loudwire included the song in its list of The Best Hard Rock Songs Of The 21st Century, where it was ranked at number one. [5] "Chop Suey!" is often seen as the band's signature song.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

System of a Down Armenian American metal band

System of a Down is an Armenian-American heavy metal band from Glendale, California, formed in 1994. The band currently consists of Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian, and John Dolmayan (drums).

<i>Toxicity</i> (album) 2001 studio album by System of a Down

Toxicity is the second studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down, released on September 4, 2001 by American Recordings and Columbia Records. Featuring the heaviness and aggression of their 1998 eponymous debut, it features more melody, harmonies, and singing than the band's aforementioned album. Categorized primarily as alternative metal and nu metal, Toxicity features elements of multiple genres including folk, progressive rock, jazz, Armenian music, and Greek music, including prominent use of instruments such as the sitar, banjo, keyboards, and piano. It contains a wide array of political and non-political themes, such as mass incarceration, the CIA, the environment, group sex, drug addiction, and groupies.



In an interview, [6] 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."

Daron Malakian Armenian-American guitarist

Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian-American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is best known as the guitarist, songwriter and second vocalist of the metal band System of a Down and as the lead vocalist, lead guitarist and songwriter of the band Scars on Broadway. Daron Malakian is known for his distinctive playing and is ranked 14th in Loudwire's list of Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time and number 11 in MusicRadar's poll, The 20 Greatest Metal Guitarists Ever. He is placed 30th in Guitar World's list of The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time.

Crucifixion of Jesus Jesus crucifixion as described in the four canonical gospels

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

Gospel description of the life of Jesus, canonical or apocryphal

Gospel originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out. The four canonical gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—were probably written between AD 66 and 110, building on older sources and traditions, and each gospel has its own distinctive understanding of Jesus and his divine role. All four are anonymous, and it is almost certain that none were written by an eyewitness. They are the main source of information on the life of Jesus as searched for in the quest for the historical Jesus. Modern scholars are cautious of relying on them unquestioningly, but critical study attempts to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors. Many non-canonical gospels were also written, all later than the four, and all, like them, advocating the particular theological views of their authors.

Song title

The song was originally titled "Self-Righteous Suicide" but Columbia Records forced the band to change it to avoid controversy. [7] The song title is therefore a wordplay from Self-righteous suicide to "Self-right-Chop Suey-cide" that replaces provocation by absurdity. The band members claim this change was not caused by pressure from their record company. Remarkably, 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.

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Music video

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 1,500 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 Soviet Armenia flag can be seen. As of September 2019, the video has more than 890 million views on YouTube and more than 4.3 million likes.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

Marcos Siega American director

Marcos Siega is a film, television, commercial, and music video director. He has also worked as a producer and a musician.

Red Hot Chili Peppers American rock band

Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The group's musical style primarily consists of rock with an emphasis on funk, as well as elements from other genres such as punk rock and psychedelic rock. When played live, their music incorporates elements of jam band due to the improvised nature of many of their performances. Currently, the band consists of founding members vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea, longtime drummer Chad Smith, and former touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the best-selling bands of all time with over 80 million records sold worldwide, they have been nominated for sixteen Grammy Awards, of which they have won six, and are the most successful band in alternative rock radio history, currently holding the records for most number-one singles (13), most cumulative weeks at number one (85) and most top-ten songs (25) on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. In 2012, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


"Chop Suey!" is the first single of Toxicity , an album that was number one on the charts during the week of the September 11, 2001 attacks. A 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. [8]

Covers and parodies

The song has been parodied and covered several times.

Tenacious D American band

Tenacious D is an American comedy rock duo, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1994. It was founded by actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass, who were part of The Actors' Gang theater company at the time. The duo's name is derived from "tenacious defense" - a phrase used by NBA basketball sportscaster Marv Albert.

Jack Black American actor, comedian, musician, music producer and youtuber.

Jack Black is an American actor, comedian, musician, songwriter, and media personality. His acting career has been extensive, starring primarily in comedy films. Black is known for his roles in High Fidelity (2000), Shallow Hal (2001), School of Rock (2003), King Kong (2005), Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006), The Holiday (2006), the Kung Fu Panda franchise (2008–2016), Tropic Thunder (2008), Gulliver's Travels (2010), Bernie (2011), Goosebumps (2015), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). For his work in School of Rock and Bernie, he gained Golden Globe nominations, and was inducted into Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 2018. Black is the lead vocalist of the Grammy Award-winning comedic rock duo Tenacious D which he formed in 1994 with friend Kyle Gass. They have released the albums Tenacious D, The Pick of Destiny, Rize of the Fenix, and Post-Apocalypto.

"Weird Al" Yankovic American singer

Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, satirist, actor, voice actor, music video director, comedian, and author. He is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts; original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts; and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.

Track listing

CD single
1."Chop Suey!"
  • Serj Tankian
  • Daron Malakian
Daron Malakian3:30
2."Johnny"Serj TankianSerj Tankian2:08
3."Sugar" (Live)Serj Tankian
  • Shavo Odadjian
  • Daron Malakian
4."War?" (Live)Serj TankianDaron Malakian2:47
UK CD1 • Australian single
1."Chop Suey!"
  • Serj Tankian
  • Daron Malakian
Daron Malakian3:30
2."Johnny"Serj TankianSerj Tankian2:08
3."Know" (Live)Serj Tankian
  • Shavo Odadjian
  • Daron Malakian
  • Serj Tankian
1."Chop Suey!"
  • Serj Tankian
  • Daron Malakian
Daron Malakian3:31
2."Sugar" (Live)Serj Tankian
  • Shavo Odadjian
  • Daron Malakian
3."War?" (Live)Serj TankianDaron Malakian2:47
4."Chop Suey!" (Video)
  • Serj Tankian
  • Daron Malakian
Daron Malakian3:27
7" single
1."Chop Suey!"
  • Serj Tankian
  • Daron Malakian
Daron Malakian3:30
2."Johnny"Serj TankianSerj Tankian2:08

Chart positions

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

Chart (2001–02)Peak
Australia (ARIA) [12] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) [13] 18
Canada (Nielsen SoundScan) [14] 24
Ireland (IRMA) [15] 46
Netherlands (Single Top 100) [16] 25
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) [17] 17
US Billboard Hot 100 [18] 76
US Alternative Songs ( Billboard ) [19] 7
US Mainstream Rock ( Billboard ) [20] 12


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI) [21] Platinum50,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

Double-dagger-14-plain.pngsales+streaming figures based on certification alone

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