When we look at influential heavy metal, one of the first bands that will come to many of our minds is System Of A Down. The heavily political outfit became widely known thanks to their worldwide hit “Chop Suey!” off their 2001 record Toxicity. Since then, they have toured the world, spread their message, and continue to dominate the airwaves to this day.
Their songs cover many different topics, but one that System Of A Down is less known for is the theme of love. Some of it is more of a conceptual love than traditional romance, but it fits the bill nonetheless.
Here are the 10 best love songs from System Of A Down!
1. Lonely Day
We’re not kicking this list off happily. “Lonely Day” is exactly what it suggests: a heartfelt ballad about the loneliest day of your life. It could be for several reasons, but the lyrics and melancholic punch of the chorus makes me think of a breakup more than anything else.
Given what System Of A Down is best known for, this clean-vocal, heartfelt ballad was quite unexpected when I first heard it. Despite this, it’s managed to become one of my favorite songs by the Armenian outfit.
Album: Demo Tape 4
Here we have a track that not many people would have likely heard unless they’re die-hard System Of A Down fans. “Blue” was never fully released by the band, but it was later refined and released by frontman Serj Tankian for his solo project.
The meaning of this song is slightly ambiguous, but it seems to discuss the relationship between a man and the woman he desires to be with. The track is sorrowful and forlorn, which suggests that things didn’t go his way.
3. Want Me To Try
Album: Steal This Album!
I included Steal This Album! for this song’s origin, but it comes from yet another demo in the System Of A Down catalog. The meaning of this track is slightly confusing, but it seems to point toward a man’s lack of desire for solitude. Love and support would certainly aid him in his turmoil.
“Want Me To Try” would eventually turn into “Highway Song” off their 2002 hit record.
Album: Steal This Album!
Here we have a more direct love song from System Of A Down, but it is still certainly confusing! “Roulette” tells the story of the corruption of love’ how it can twist people in different ways, and the terrible longing we can experience for another person.
I think this is a hidden gem from System Of A Down. It didn’t receive as much recognition as the rest of Steal This Album!, but its delicate guitar passages and string sections make it a powerful standalone ballad.
5. Lost In Hollywood
“Lost In Hollywood” sits in a bizarre place on this list. It isn’t strictly a love song, but it certainly points towards an emphasis on the human condition and our desire for love. It was written by System Of A Down’s guitarist, Daron Malakian, who grew up in Hollywood and experienced the corruption that is present in Tinseltown.
While it’s quite a depressing listen, it’s certainly a wonderful ballad from System Of A Down. It’s also a reminder that not all that glitters is gold, and we should focus on loving each other instead of bringing each other down.
In a similar vein to “Lost In Hollywood”, the title track for System of A Down’s 2005 record Hypnotize is also far from a direct love song. Instead, Serj and co sing about the corruption present within media, and how it has the potential to tear us apart.
I think this is a telling sign that there needs to be more love in the world, and more of an emphasis on togetherness instead of using media to spread dangerous views and tear us apart.
“Question!” is another confusing offering from System Of A Down. Many of their songs feature some kind of religious reference, and this is no exception. It describes the story of a man who questions his faith and wonders about the afterlife, which is certainly no easy concept to think about!
While the song isn’t necessarily about love, it can be taken as a reminder that we are here in this world together right now. Whether there is an afterlife or not, we should also focus on loving one another today before we look to tomorrow.
I’ll make this clear from the outset: “B.Y.O.B” is not a love song, but its message could be taken as one. In this track, System Of A Down wastes no time in making an anti-war song that brings politicians and war into question, suggesting that civilians are puppets in a much bigger, pointless game.
I won’t go into the political side of this track, but a key message can also be taken from “B.Y.O.B”: we must love each other to survive as a species.
9. Violent Pornography
In its essence, “Violent Pornography” holds a similar message to “Hypnotize” in that it discusses the influence of media on the masses. It particularly focuses on the impact television has on our culture and overall ‘personality’, which is an intriguing topic to think about.
Ultimately, it shares a similar message to the aforementioned tracks also: love one another, and the world will become better.
Okay, maybe System Of A Down doesn’t have a lot of love songs to choose from after all. Some of their songs are thematically fitting, but others are chaotic and so experimentally brilliant that they belong on this list anyway.
“Cigaro” hits the mark for the above criteria. Its abrasive yet creatively varied approach is one of the most mesmerizing (pardon the pun) offerings from System Of A Down thus far, and it would be a sin to not promote it just a little bit more.
Justin is an audio engineer with years of experience in the field. He has been creating and playing music his entire life, but he really found his passion for engineering when he was introduced to Logic Pro at age 10. Justin has spent countless hours perfecting his craft and now works as a freelance engineer out of Boston, MA.