Steal This Album
can instead be described as System of a Down’s most surprisingly triumphant album. There are dozens of stories concerning what this album is, whether it be b-sides, the first cut of Toxicity
, or hell, mostly old demos re-recorded or in their original form. I will not bother dealing with any of that bullsh
it. I’m really only here to convince you to listen to this album.
The most simple reason you should is because it really does take nearly every single idea System have ever thought up, and make something great out of it. You know the near-rapping vocals Serj occasionally likes to do? I-E-A-I-A-I-O
features some of the most tongue twisting System moments. You know those emotional, epic moments System like to have occasionally? Oh wait, I-E-A-I-A-I-O
has that too. Unlike other releases, where System gets too wrapped up in being too similar throughout a song or throwing ideas together constantly with varied results, Steal This Album!
accomplishes the goal of what seems to be every System album: a group of songs that fit, and have four times the amount of ideas than the track number would suggest.
Part of the reason is that, per song, it’s the shortest System album date. With the songs clocking in at under 3 minutes each, there is little room for System to repeat itself. Even the long songs like Mr. Jack
don’t drone on, rather expand upon the original sound as it progresses rather than repeat itself for four minutes. Then again, there are songs like Pictures
that start off slow, and then suddenly explode into greatness out of nowhere. They create a perfect balance of songs, ranging from said explosions, to charging tunes like 36
(far under-appreciated, as it’s a fun romp through nothing in particular. Make sense? Good.), the unfolding tunes, and then the groovy, traditional System of a Down tunes ike Innervision
The variety of the album is arguably enough to put them at the top of their careers, originality wise. While songs may sound the same upon first listen, it wont take very long for each song to gain its own sense of being on you. The definition of a grower, Steal This Album
takes it’s occasional awkwardness and throws it at your face, forcing you to accept its goodness. A.D.D.
is not a fun song in any sense of the word; in fact, it’s likely to be one of the most dark and depressing songs they’ve ever written. However, it’s just so breathtakingly melancholy, you can’t help but appreciate it. On the opposite end is F**k the System
, something of a play of words. Perhaps the most silly
song they’ve ever written, it’s almost too dumb to even bother with. However, once you begin to notice the little intricacies, such as Serj’s beat-boxing, you can’t help but just be in awe at the strange pieces they’ve managed to string together here.
The coup de grace of the album is it’s final songs. If there’s one issue that previous and those albums to come have/had, is that there is rarely a section of the album that absolutely knocks you off your feet. The final six songs on STA! Do, in fact, sweep me off my laurels. The fact that 4 of them are relationship songs be damned, it’s all in the bank for System by the time you realize that. Highway Song
is simple and yet an incredibly effective way to begin to close out the album, while Roulette
is the perfect acoustic ballad. Ego Brain
are epic in design, and the vocal harmonies in the second verse of Streamline
encapsulates how absolutely, wretchedly beautiful that song, and to an extent, the album as a whole, is.
Steal This Album!
is far from what you expect it to be. It’s an incredible rush with every song; each being a small jewel that, while it really doesn’t give the album as a whole any extra impact, gives each song a sublime sense of individuality. In fact, the only thing I can think of that hurts the album is that the songs don’t exactly fit
together. Their individual strength goes far beyond making up for that, however, and also gives the album the charm and uniqueness it showcases. As an album, it’s still excellent, and well worth a listen. As a collection of songs, it’s perhaps the best of their entire careers. It comes close to touching System of a Down
, in fact, but only misses due to the fact that Mind
still totally owns anything on this album.