Musical Explorations #6: System of a Down – “Toxicity”

Conversion, software version 7.0,
Looking at life through the eyes of a tire hub,
Eating seeds is a pastime activity,
The toxicity of our city, of our city,

No, what do you own the world?
How do you own disorder, disorder,
Now, somewhere between the sacred silence,
Sacred silence and sleep,
Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep,
Disorder, disorder, disorder.

More wood for their fires, loud neighbors,
Flashlight reveries caught in the headlights of a truck,
Eating seeds is a pastime activity,
The toxicity of our city, of our city,

No, what do you own the world?
How do you own disorder, disorder,
Now, somewhere between the sacred silence,
Sacred silence and sleep,
Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep,
Disorder, disorder, disorder.

You, what do you own the world?
How do you own disorder-er-er-er
Now, somewhere between the sacred silence,
Sacred silence and sleep,
Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep,
Disorder, disorder, disorder.

When I became the sun,
I shone life into the man’s hearts,
When I became the sun,
I shone life into the man’s hearts.

As with most of Serj Tankian’s songs, no one really knows what it means. The most we can do is make educated guesses (and most people who listen to SOAD aren’t qualified to do even that).

 

Serj Tankian, the driving force behind System of a Down, is an atheist. In fact, he seems to go as far as to be one of the “Mother Earth” naturalist.

And in fact, the environmentalist message is one of the only things that can be pulled out of this song. References to cars, and toxic chemicals (in cities), burning wood, and other images.

 

It seems to be contrasting this “environmentally harmful” lifestyle with what? Chaos. Disorder. The opposite of the man-imposed order.

 

A God-imposed order, I might add. This song is a glorification of chaos: God is the opposite of chaos. He took a world without form and void, and shaped it into order.

 

While this song does not explicitly attack God, several of his songs do in fact have blasphemous connotations. Look no further than their smash hit Chop Suey.

 

Everything in the song points to chaos. From the explicit lyrics, as well as the random and meaningless lyrics, to the changing rhythm and tempo, everything glorifies chaos much in the same way as Quentin Tarantino glorifies violence.

 

This song, and others by System of a Down, seeks to undermine God-given order. As stewards in the image of God, our job is to bring order to a chaotic world, not tear down order to bring disorder.

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3 comments

  1. Ben House

    Have you ever noticed that a lot of bands who are very openly anti-war/anti-military have the most violent and hateful music. Not only SAOD, with their songs Boom! and B.Y.O.B., but also Green Day, Rage Against The Machine, and every punk band ever. Just an interesting thought.

    • MadDawg Scientist

      Excellent thought. And very true as well.

      RATM seems to be the band that most exemplifies that: for all their rebellion against violent oppressive government, they still come out with songs like “I Could Just Kill a Man.”

      I hadn’t noticed this as much with Green Day, but I’ll be looking for it from now on.

      Thanks!

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