System of a Down



by Iluvatar EMERITUS
August 19th, 2006 | 253 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

While Hypnotize may end up being a better listen overall, Mesmerize somehow manages to accomplish the facet of being a much easier listen. Unlike on Hypnotize, Mesmerize does not vary wildly in song quality; there is absolutely no moment where the album goes from “amazing” to “hogwash”, as on it’s counterpart. However, in that same respect, it never does reach the stratosphere it’s sister occasionally reaches, and instead opts to be a depressingly consistent album.

I’m going to do a hated thing here. I haven’t done it for months, probably. I’m going to go through this album, track by track. Its odd, but it just seems like that’s the only way to get out exactly what is good, and what is bad about this album. Please forgive me god, for I have sinned; I am about to do a tbt.

After the foreshadow of an intro, the album is started off by, quite possibly, the best single System ever put out, B.Y.O.B. It’s a very poppy ditty, with an extremely danceable chorus and charging verses. It’s arguably the most complete song on the album, as Serj and Daron’s impassioned cries of “Why don’t the presidents fight the wars, why do they always send the poor"” are arguably one of the best outro segments I heard in 2005. The feeling, however, doesn’t carry into Revenga, the first (and probably only) love song on the album. They proved they could make a heartfelt song like this work on Steal this Album!, but instead of attempting to go heartfelt, they want you too be overwhelmed by their stupendous emotion. In a few words, it doesn’t work. The bridge where Daron declares “I saw her laugh…then she said…then she said…go away” does tug at your heartstrings, but it’s too little, too late for that.

Cigaro does kick in nice and fast, however, and if it wasn’t for its absolute inanity, it would be one of the better joke songs System have done. While Serj certainly sounds ’cool’ declaring that he’s “Cool in denial, we’re the cool regulators smoking cigaro cigaro cigaro”, he also sounds like someone whose gone insane and doesn’t even know what he’s writing anymore. Radio/Video continues that trend, as the stupidity is taken to new levels of unabashed pretentiousness. The song gets repetitive fast, as the new trend of System repeating the same exact song sections begins to feel tired here. The strange funk bridge once again saves the song from being a waste, and in the end actually turns it into an altogether fulfilling experience. It’s just not that amazing.

This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I’m In This Song, however, is truly one of the pinnacles of System’s career. Once again being a joke song, it’s a blast of noise that transcends being goofy. It’s a difficult song to describe, and despite the fact that it seems to take some grind-influence, it’s one of the most interesting and generally complex tracks on the album. The piano melody near the end only adds a level of unexpectedness to the song that Violent Pornography can’t touch. It’s not that it’s a bad song, as the chorus of “It’s a violent pornography, choking chicks and sodomy, the kind of shii you get on your TV” is probably the most sublimely awesome moment on the album. But it once again gets too repetitive for it’s own good, leaving it to just kind of…exist.

Question!, despite it’s uniqueness on the album, ultimately suffers the same fate. It features some excellent guitar playing from Daron, as per normal on the album (this time with an acoustic backup), and Serj goes all wishy-washy on us and sounds…sweet and cuddly. You really just want to stroke his hair when you hear him on this song. The thing is; it doesn’t have enough ideas to justify all the different time changes they go through, and it’s really quite easy to get lost in the song. Not in thee good sense, but in the “Oh, which verse is this…uh…shI” sense. Sad Statue, however, ends up being one of the best songs on the album; featuring the most killer riff on the album, and the most hard-hitting chorus on the album. It’s also important to point out John at some point; his drumming on this album (now that there is a mysterious absence of bass) is often the glue holding songs together. Despite it being a great song, it still lacks that little bit to push it over the edge. That one moment that makes you remember it. Much like the album.

That moment is surely not located on Old School Hollywood, perhaps the only outright bad moment on the album. It’s incredibly cheesy and house-influenced…in a bad way. What is not readily apparent about the song is how atrocious the vocals are; hearing the song live, its readily apparent that them keeping their hands off of the vocal effects knobs would have made this song at least a tenth better. As it is, it merely serves as an introduction to the almost-coulda-been-amazing Lost in Hollywood. Remember what I said about this album lacking that moment" Well, I kind of lied. There are perhaps three ehre that fit that bill. The unfortunate thing is, The “oh-ohing” goes on for far too long; while it’s a good addition to the song, it gets annoying after a while. Which is a damn shame, as this is one of the most beautiful System songs, and one of the best sung ones at that.

Mesmerize, at it’s core, is a good album. Hell, I’ll even say it’s close to being great. However, if you can follow me here, it’s mediocre in its execution of being so. Despite the solid-ness of the album, it really never grips you, except in the very beginning and in the very end, and due to the repetitiveness of many of the songs, the album buckles under itself midway through. So, in the end, it ends up being nearly the complete opposite, yet the most similar recording, of it’s direct predecessor Steal This Album; a mediocre album running straight through, yet on an individual song basis, it works, but then never becomes that great. Convoluted and horribly expressed, but the only way to sum up this surprisingly disappointing album.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
August 19th 2006


The singles off this, IMO were both really good.

Nice review btw, one of the better tbts I've readThis Message Edited On 08.19.06

August 19th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5


The Door Mouse
August 19th 2006


thats so wierd, right before i came on this site i was listining to sad statue

August 19th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

good review. Considering its a track by track, its spectacular. This Message Edited On 08.19.06

August 19th 2006


Nice Review! Yeah I like this album, the tracks are good, Darons singing is cool and works well most of the time. Shame they're on a 'Break'

August 19th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, although I disagree with the rating.

Question! and Cigaro got me hooked on SoaD, can't wait to get another album.

August 19th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Sweet review. I love this album.

December 7th 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

I don't like this album. Aside from Cigaro and This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song, this album is nothing special. Daron sings too much. Why does he sing? His voice sounds high and nasally and they have an excellent vocalist in Serj, so I can't understand Daron's need to sing. Lost in Hollywood is a good song, but it's just not 'System' enough for me. Meh.

Great review, votes 4 u.

July 10th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

Agree with the review exactly. People annoyed me a lot when this was realised, telling me how the band was good because they could mix so many genres together and bablebable... this album is just some good ideas horribly exploited and thrown at the face of the listener to bow and admire.

Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2013


This album is pretty solid man, very enjoyable

January 21st 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

Please forgive me god, for I have sinned; I am about to do a tbt.

January 24th 2014


This hit rock opera status for me this morning.

January 24th 2014


does tht mean you love it

Green Baron
January 24th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

it's meh-smerizeing

January 24th 2014


Yes, it does. This hits you a bit harder after you've grown so substantially.

January 24th 2014


This is a fun album, used to listen to this alot.

January 24th 2014


yea, used to listen to these guys so much in like 10th grade

Green Baron
January 24th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

listening to these guys a lot now. mostly s/t and toxicity

January 24th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

S/t still goes quite hard

Digging: Siekiera - Nowa Aleksandria

January 24th 2014


They haven't written a bad song - except for "Lonely Day", of course.

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