It was released in August 2001 and earned the band its first Grammy nomination, which they didn't win until "B.Y.O.B.". The song's working title was "Suicide"; the band members claim the change was not caused by pressure from their record company. The words "We're rolling 'Suicide'" can still be heard faintly in the album versions's opening seconds - though this intro is only on certain pressings of the album. It can be heard on the band's website and in the music video game Rock Band 2.
The album it appears on, Toxicity, was Number 1 on the charts during the week of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the controversy surrounding the popular single at the time led to Clear Channel Radio placing the song on a list of post-9/11 inappropriate titles]]. It was never actually banned completely from the air, but all Clear Channel Radio stations were advised against playing "Chop Suey!" (and the other songs on the list). The song was included on the "500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" list by the Blender magazine.
In an interview, Daron Malakian explained, "the song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Like, if I were now to die from a drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, "I cry when angels deserve to die." The lyrics "Why have you forsaken me?" and "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" are references to Jesus' death on the stake, as they were two of the seven things Jesus said while dying."
A cover version of the song appears in the music video game Rock Revolution, while the master track is in the video game Rock Band 2.
The video, directed by the acclaimed Marcos Siega, contains footage from two live concerts, in which all of the band members except Serj are shirtless. Editing devices are used to create the effect of the band members "walking through" one another and teleporting on and off the stage. One scene briefly shows Serj eating chop suey with some fans, the only reference to the title dish in either the song or the video. The video also makes use of the SnorriCam technique, in which an actor will have a camera attached to them with a harness. This technique makes it appear as though the background is moving and the actor is stationary. In the middle of the video the Armenian flag can be seen.
Covers and parodiesEdit
The song has been parodied and covered several times. Tenacious D, in several of their live shows, performed a gibberish version of the song and then suggested that the lyrics sound deep but mean nothing. "Weird Al" Yankovic included the song in his "Angry White Boy Polka" medley, included on his album Poodle Hat. Avril Lavigne covered the song during one of her concerts. Audio clips of Lavigne's performance circulated the internet, and received not only poor reviews, but also angry reviews from both fans of Avril Lavigne and System Of A Down because of her inability to remember the lyrics. Richard Cheese parodied the song in his 2002 album Tuxicity (which itself is a take-off on the album's name). ApologetiX parodied the song as "Downer of a Sister" on their album "Adam Up". Filipino band Parokya ni Edgar also parodied this song, along with Toxicity, another of System of a Down's songs, and amalgamated it as "The Ordertaker" in their new album "Halina sa Parokya". It is about an angry customer at a restaurant that has a menu but sells nothing.
"Chop Suey!" was a moderate success on the charts around the world. In Australia, after hitting number three on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2001, with virtually no airplay on commercial radio, it debuted and peaked at number fourteen in February 2002. It is System of a Down's highest charting in Australia.
In the UK Singles Chart, it debuted and peaked at number seventeen.
Australia Tour EPEdit