This was a song that was immensely popular when I was very young. But I never really knew what it was about. The incredibly catchy and memorable chorus had me convinced that it was just another song about partying and having a good time. It was only years later that I heard it all the way through for the first time. I was astounded for many reasons. But mostly by how amazing the song is, and how wrong I was about the message. In light of current events, I enjoyed listening to it again with a new lens. While it isn’t a song that means a lot to me emotionally, it was the song that cemented System of a Down’s position as one of my all time favourite bands. It showed me the impact music could have, how much music could say, and how interesting music could be when one goes completely against the norm to create a sound unlike any other.

System of a Down is an Armenian-American nu metal band formed in the late 90’s. They are known for their unique flavour of sporadic melodies and bizarre sound and themes. In spite of their massive influence on music, they remain one of the most unique bands to ever exist. The nuance of their lyrics and the attitude, emotion, and sheer insanity behind their music is something that will likely never be replicated.

Their song B.Y.O.B (bring your own bombs), from their 2005 album ‘Mezmerize’, is a thinly veiled criticism of America’s military involvement in the middle east. The song creates a stark contrast between the rough and choppy verse criticizing the way the American people are fed “lies from the tablecloth” by their government, and the smooth verse about a “party” in the desert. This stark contrast further embellishes the metaphor about how the US viewed the conflict in the middle east as a big party that they could show up to and enjoy. The song ends with an anthemic chorus asking “Why don’t presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?” Overall, this song is perhaps the crowning achievement of one of the most popular bands of the 21st century. A song that perfectly captures their quirky musical styles and their passion for writing music that holds a mirror up to society. And, given the current state of the world, it also shows the universality and continued relevance of their music.

Listen to the track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzd9KyIDrM

Submitted by Prashant Srinivasan Sarkar

“B.Y.O.B.”

Why do they always send the poor?

Barbarisms by Barbaras
With pointed heels
Victorious, victories kneel
For brand new spankin’ deals
Marching forward hypocritic
And hypnotic computers

You depend on our protection
Yet you feed us lies from the table cloth

La, la la, la la, la la, la la

Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time
Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sunshine

Kneeling roses disappearing
Into Moses’ dry mouth
Breaking into Fort Knox
Stealing our intentions
Hangars sitting dripped in oil
Crying, “Freedom!”

Handed to obsoletion
Still you feed us lies from the table cloth

La, la la, la la, la la, la la

Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time
Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sunshine

Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time
Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sunshine

Blast off. It’s party time
And we don’t live in a Fascist nation
Blast off. It’s party time
And where the fuck are you?
Where the fuck are you?
Where the fuck are you?

Why don’t presidents fight the war?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why don’t presidents fight the war?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?

Kneeling roses disappearing
Into Moses’ dry mouth
Breaking into Fort Knox
Stealing our intentions
Hangars sitting dripped in oil
Crying, “Freedom!”

Handed to obsoletion
Still you feed us lies from the tablecloth

La, la la, la la, la la, la la

Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time
Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sunshine

Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time
Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sun

Where the fuck are you?
Where the fuck are you?
Why don’t presidents fight the war?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why don’t presidents fight the war?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?
Why do they always send the poor?
They always send the poor
They always send the poor
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