System of a Down have a lot of big songs, but one of the great things is that there is some diversity across their catalog. With that in mind, it’s probably not a surprise that Serj Tankian had difficulty pinpointing just one song to properly introduce the uninitiated to the band for the first time.
Tankian was posed the question by Revolver as part of their ongoing series challenging artists to name the song from their catalog they would prefer to introduce them to new listeners.
The singer divvied it up amongst some well-known tracks, specifying that the specific taste of the listener should be at least one determining factor in making such a decision.
“It really depends on what their musical flavor is,” Tankian explained. “If they’re a pop person that you don’t want to freak out, then you might want to play ‘Aerials.’ But if they’re someone that likes different types of music, [who are] open to many, many different types of music, then you play them something crazier or heavier.”
“I think [for] most people, either ‘B.Y.O.B.,’ ‘Toxicity’ or ‘Chop Suey!’ seem to be their entry drug to System of a Down. That seems to be the way they get their foot in the door, so I guess one of those maybe.”
It doesn’t hurt that Tankian’s picks all still receive airplay from rock stations after massive success during the 21st Century’s first decade, making their access to listeners all the more possible.
“Chop Suey,” “Toxicity” and “Aerials” were all featured on the band’s 2001 album, Toxicity, with “Aerials” actually topping both the Mainstream Rock and Alternative Airplay charts. Each of the songs, including “B.Y.O.B.” from the 2005 Mesmerize album, were Top 10 Alternative Airplay songs.
Which of Tankian’s four choices first looped you into the band?
System of a Down, “Aerials”
System of a Down, “Chop Suey!”
System of a Down, “Toxicity”
System of a Down, “B.Y.O.B.”
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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner