“B.Y.O.B.”: Bring Your Own Bombs

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

“B.Y.O.B.” has been playing on MTV2 steadily for a month or two now. When it first played surrounded by many younger bands the song was lost in the mix. Now that the fluff has fallen off and the real music is playing System Of A Down’s radical tune begins to stand out.

“B.Y.O.B.” begins with that Iron Maiden hair-band sound that amplified angry disaffectioned youths in the 1980s. If you were too young to worship guys in tights and aqua-netted hair that music usually is a turn off. One recent episode of South Park might come to mind. The town needed a way to end a Phish-like festival and break up the hippie crowd that had gathered for days celebrating without purpose. So the announcer put on death metal and the hippies covered their ears as they ran away and dispersed. That is because long ago Iron Maiden, Ozzy, or a billion other metal bands sang about everything in society that lacked relevance. They also spewed out devil lyrics to scare the old folks and had nasty album covers drawn by Satin himself. This is much like rappers shouting out profanity over heavy basslines to enable young kids to have the same effect in their cars today.

System take a different angle. Sure “B.Y.O.B.” could be played at Tyomies in Superior by many bands, but the intelligence would be tough to repeat for a true metal band. Serj Tankian (Vocals) screams out, “Why do they always send the poor” before going into the first verse. That scream is the main theme of “B.Y.O.B.” and is complimented by a light-weighted party riff in the chorus. The chorus goes, “Everybody's going to the party have a real good time - Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine.” When the party parts of the song are juxtaposed against the main verse the big question of the youth today is revealed. Everybody wants to party, but they could care less about the war and people dying.

Another statement the song makes are in the lyrics, “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 tablecloth” This is accompanied by a machine-gun like drumbeat and hard fuzztoned riffs on the guitar.

After another light chorus the next verse becomes angrier with the party goers when Serj sings, “Blast off - It's party time - And we don't live in a fascist nation - Blast off - It's party time - And where the f**k are you? Where the f**k are you? Where the f**k 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?”

The song is a statement from a little known band that has presented the problem with young people today artistically. Instead of singing about Post-Zep Mordor or coked out ideals finally there is a hard-rock song with some point to it. Don’t expect to see other hair-bands follow, System Of A Down is a rare moment in the history hard rock. Music is art, and art is the best form of expression when trying to explore different viewpoints in a society. Hopefully this song will make people think that maybe they should be doing more than “Dancing at the party” and just trying to have a good time.

You can listen to the whole song for free at: www.systemofadown.com