"Chop Suey!" as written by Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian, Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan....
Wake up
Grab a brush and put a little (makeup)
Grab a brush and put a little
Hide the scars to fade away the (shakeup)
Hide the scars to fade away the
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table?
Here you go create another fable
You wanted to
Grab a brush and put a little makeup
You wanted to
Hide the scars to fade away the shakeup
You wanted to
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table?
You wanted to
I don't think you trust
In, my, self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die, DIE
Wake up
Grab a brush and put a little (makeup)
Grab a brush and put a little
Hide the scars to fade away the (shakeup)
Hide the scars to fade away the
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table?
Here you go create another fable
You wanted to
Grab a brush and put a little makeup
You wanted to
Hide the scars to fade away the shakeup
You wanted to
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table?
You wanted to
I don't think you trust
In, my, self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die
In, my, self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die
Father, father, father, father
Father into your hands, I commend my spirit
Father into your hands
why have you forsaken me
In your eyes forsaken me
In your thoughts forsaken me
In your heart forsaken, me oh
Trust in my self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die
In my self righteous suicide
I, cry, when angels deserve to die

Lyrics submitted by F4RiD

"Chop Suey!" as written by Shavo Odadjian Daron Malakian

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Chop Suey! song meanings
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  • +24
    General CommentThis song is about comparing suicide with martyrdom. The verse "Wake up, grab a brush and put on on a little make up" and so on is talking about the hidden stories in the bible and hiding the bad things they never told about christ in the bible. Then "here you go create another fable" another religious story. The chorus is saying the fact that Jesus could be looked at from a viewpoint of suicide. Then the thrid verse "father, into your hands, I commend my spirit" and "father, into your hands, why have you forsaken me" are two of seven last words of christ.
    The direct definition of "chop suey" is a dish filled with a mix of all the leftovers (meaning the leftovers of stories in the bible never heard)
    JofaGuhton December 03, 2001   Link
  • +21
    My InterpretationThe whole band have never stated an official meaning to any of their songs so that fans can interpret songs for themselves. Well this is my interpretation.

    A lot of interpretations are heavily religious tied, mine is slightly different.

    To me this song is about someone who really wants to kill them self, but everyone around that person doesn't understand why.

    This is going to be lengthy but bear with me
    In their life they "grab a brush and put a little makeup" on and "hide the scars and fade away the shakeup" so that everyone else doesn't see how depressed/traumatized the person really is.

    Then the verse repeats with "YOU WANTED TO!" on the end of each line. To me this symbolizes everyone else blaming the person for not taking control of his/her life. In "Why'd you leave the keys up on the table - you wanted to", the keys symbolize the tool to control the person's life, and he/she just left it out for anyone to take. As in "you wanted to hide the scars, you couldn't even take control of what's happening in your life".

    In the pre-chorus sections, where we hear "I don't think you trust, in my self righteous suicide". The change in tempo and new instruments symbolizes that another person is talking, it's the suicidal person trying to explain that he/she has had enough and it would be best that their life is ended.

    Now we hear "I cry when angels deserve to die" and later on "Father!... Why have you forsaken me?" - this symbolizes the person looking at the world and seeing the injustice and cruelty in it. As in, there are so many people who claim to be 'angels' but in reality they have done horrible things and deserve to die than most people, as well as thinking 'so many bad things are happening in the world, how could god let this happen, how could god forsake us, how could he forsake me?'.

    By definition "Chop Suey" is a Chinese dish made with a lot of mixed ingredients, similar to how modern society has mixed views on suicide.

    In some interviews System of a down said that they wanted to put the word 'suicide' in the name. But didn't because everyone would censor it, so they named it Chop Suey(cide) as a play on words.

    Daron Malakian (System of a Down guitarist) stated in an interview that - "The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, 'I cry when angels deserve to die'".

    So yeah, to my this song is about someone contemplating or attempting suicide - in the album version you even hear Serj say at the start "We're all in suicide".
    Fals3Alarmon January 07, 2013   Link
  • +9
    General CommentI've read through a few comments here and it seems to me that alot of people are way off what I think is the most obvious interpretation of this song.


    Based on my own experience from growing up with psychic and physical abuse from my fosterfather, it hits me right away how similar these lines are to what I would hear. The verse perfectly nails the terror, pressure and intensity from the father's frustration and rage, who's blaming his child for his abusive behaviour (you wanted to). At the same time the father demands that he should wake up/step up and be a man, instead of looking small and shaken (hide the scars to fade away the shakeup), be strong, put a smiling mask on and act like nothing wrong has ever happened (wake up, grab a brush and put a little makeup). The father is acting like this in fear of his childs depression/sadness provoking suspicion about his behaviour, and wants him to hide it.
    A child growing up in an environment like this is not likely to be able to realize the wrongs of his father, and is more likely to adapt to his fathers blames and start accusing himself, feeling shameful about it and hiding it, thinking that whatever happens is something he deserves, becoming self-destructive (When angels deserve to die). Angels in this case refers to the innocent children/victims of abuse.


    Now this also seems familiar to me. Growing up in a christian community usually means you're thaught to seek comfort in Jesus - and I believe it tries to describe the paradox when the child interprets his life as being forsaken and let down by the promises of the bible, or any notion/opposition that would claim that if he lives an acceptable life and "commends his spirit", his life would become better. He have though, due to his childhood and his fathers mockery, developed a behaviour that would make him vulnerable in any social situation, and he would easily find himself being the victim of abuse in school or to anyone who would want to boast upon him.
    I believe this compares to how he tries in vain to live up to his fathers demands in a similar manner to how he feels that he commends his spirit in vain to the bible. The question is: can you really blame anyone that experienced something like this to turn his back on everything and commit a suicide? He felt guilty and self-righteous about it, and certainly felt he deserved to die.
    I get chills whenever I hear this song, because it is, at least the way I see it, a extremely sad story.

    This song becomes really interesting if you're able to see how the concept is true on so many levels, and not only in the home of domestic violence, although one of the brilliant things about lyrics like these, is how they are open for your personal interpretation.
    limowreckxon May 11, 2012   Link
  • +8
    General CommentOkay, this song is starting to make sense to me, it is in fact about the Armenian genocide, but it's riddled with metaphors and allusions. The first verse can be interpreted literally about being about a suicidal person hiding the fact they are self harming, but in the broader sense it gives the feeling of being in a hurry, being in an emergency, but you are still caught up in doing little mundane tasks, liking putting on makeup and looking for car keys. I think this is about people panicking, not realizing that they are about to be forced away from their homes forever if they don't die. The heavy rifting sounds remnant of a military attack. Maybe time the verse is literal, the second time it's the day of the attack, signified by the screamed DI

    Now, for the chorus, I think the one, suicide isn't literal just as it wasn't literal last verse, and by "I" he means "we". I think self-righteous suicide refers to general martyrdom, not suicide bombing. See, with martyrdom one is responsible for their death because they refuse to compromise their faith, and it's self righteous because the matyr believes they are doing a righteous deed. Now, the importance of I being we is that it extends it to the whole Armenian people. Now, the genocide was an ethic cleansing delivered by the Ottoman, and like most ethnic tension their is difference in religion, here the Ottoman being Muslim and the Armenians being christian. That's what makes the genocide a martyrdom. The angels deserving to die refers to all the innocent lives that were shed during the tragedy, the verse appears to be about a priest or someone asking how such a tragedy could happen to such a righteous people? Also, the deserving to die part might reflect the lack of attention given to the massacre.

    With the next verse the idea of martyrdom is reiterated by alluding to Jesus's crucifixion. The "why have you forsaken me" part refers to how even though the Armenians believed they were righteous they found no deliverance.

    In the end I think the song can be summed up by saying that the Armenians were killed for their beliefs just like the Jews were in the holocaust, but no one gave a damn about the Armenians. The Turks continue to deny the tragedy to this day.
    Ganondoxon February 25, 2013   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThe mark of a great artist and a great song is that it can mean different things to different listeners. Previous posts have correctly pointed out the Biblical references to Jesus' cruxification, where Jesus' last words question and doubt God. A non-Christian could view Jesus as a man that orchestrated his own death (i.e., "self-righteous suicide"). And Jesus' doubting God at the end should make us question whether Jesus' legacy as the Messiah isn't just a fable. (If you're a Christian and your faith tells you otherwise, that's fine, but make sure you're finding those answers for yourself and not just blindly following the guidance of others.)

    The song uses Jesus' story as a metaphor for our own lives. So to apply to our own lives... The beginning lyrics speak about those of us that wake up every day and are untrue to our real selves (putting on an artificial surface, creating fables). So this might apply to many previous posted suggestions, such as the abused wife, the drug abuser, the religious zelot, etc. I think the message of the song is don't follow a self-destructive path without deeply questioning what you're doing. In other words, if your life is leading to your own destruction, but somehow you can justify it, then it's nothing but suicide and you have no one to blame but yourself.

    MicDaddyon January 12, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI have read a lot of interpretations on this song, and many off them are deep and logical, but I have yet to find a single explanation that covers every aspect of the lyrics. I tried to take the song very directly and make conclusions on what I heard. Here goes nothing.

    The beginning of this song talks about a person who is trying to cover up their problems so that everyone else thinks that they are totally fine. We know that the person is going through hard times because they talk about how he wants to hide "scars" to fade away the "shake up" (fight). We see that the person is trying to hide it on the outside (grab a brush and put on a little make-up, hide the scars...)but, of course, the problems, whatever they may happen to be, won't go away. Now, the speaker states that others don't understand his self-righteous suiside. Of course they wouldn't understand, they just see his outside, not his cold, troubled inside.

    Now for the "father" stanza. Apparently this is a quote from Jesus before he died for us on the cross, but I don't think that this stanza actually refers to Jesus. First off, I m positive that the speaker is talking to God, not his dad, because if he is going to die, why and how could he command his spirit to his dad, it just doesn't make any sense. Anyway, I think that the the speaker is angry at God for bringing him so much misfortune, hence the "Why have you forsaken me..." bit. Think about it. Living day in and day out having to hide a secret from the rest of the world that keeps bitting him in the rear end. Sounds like a pretty sad life if you ask me. I think that he is handing over his spirit to God now in hopes that God can bring him a sort of peace.

    For the "Why'd you leave the keys up on the table" line, I think that this symbolizes that the speaker (although I don't know if he is the one who actually quoted this)has given up on his life. You see, keys give you access to your home, to that vast majority of you. Leaving them somewhere kind of hints that he doesn't care enough to keep track of his own lifeline, that he has left them for someone to find. Lastly, the "I cry when angels deserve to die" line symbolizes his death, how sad others will be when a "perfect, happy, carefree" guy kills himself
    ROCKER094on June 24, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentOk, this probably means absolutely shit to all of you but after reading the Book of Nod, me and my friend have a theory on what it could mean. We think it refers to the biblical story of Cain[e].

    Allow me to explain...

    "Wake up"-everyone in the town had to make a weekly offering on the morning (of Sunday I assume). Cain was a fruit farmer, his brother Abel was a cattle farmer...Cain would sacrifice his best fruit, Abel would sacrifice his best cows. God was displeased with Caine, because he gave so much less than his brother.

    "Hide the scars to fade away the shakeup"-After killing Abel, Cain acted as if he did not know what happened to him.

    "Why'd you leave the keys(kids?) upon the table?"-In this case, "kids" would make more sense since Cain killed Abel on the altar for offerings.

    "Here we go create another fable"-The murder of Abel by Caine was the start of one of the many well known biblical plots.

    "You wanted to"-This could have something to do with the fact that all the while Cain was just trying to please God and it got out of hand. This could also be a reference to religious fanatics.

    "I dont think you trust in my self-righteous suicide"-No one, including God, thought Cain had done the right thing, and as Cain probably knew, it's not the best idea to piss God off.(it's practically suicide. Get it?)

    "I cry when angels deserve to die"-Cain was really mad at God for punishing him so severely, thinking the punishment did not fit the crime, so to speak.

    "Father into your hands, I commend my spirit/Why have you forsaken me?"-Though these are both direct quotes from Jesus when he was being crucified, they hold decidedly more weight for Cain. Cain actually was forsaken by God, that was part of his punishment.

    So there you have it. Maybe this isnt the intended meaning of the song(if it DOES have an intended meaning at all,which I'm starting to doubt:-)) But I think it's pretty uncanny how all these things can be applied to the story. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not insisting that I'm right, I'm just putting in my 2 cents and thinking maybe, to someone, it's worth reading.

    Shifty Shinigamion January 05, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWow, I like all these meanings.... especially the one where the guy dressed like an angel comes into a chinese food restaurant and stabs his friend. LOL!
    sagethon January 23, 2002   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningThe song is about suicide.

    Another commenter noted that the song was originally called "Suicide" but the record company made them change it. I was thinking about that...

    So what did they do? They "chopped" the word in half so you just had "Sui" or "suey" for phonetics sake. The exclamation point, in my opinion, was icing on the cake saying to the record company, "look, we did what you told us, we made a happy! song...eff you." Even right before the song starts, you know how one person in the band tells the other members what song they're playing next? You can hear either the drummer or lead say "okay..Suicide" like he's giving the cue,"okay, we're going to play this song now."

    With that said, I agree with the commenter who quoted the lead singer "the song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. " Suicide will not get you into heaven. But any other way that you can die, is okay. Why can't someone be saved AND commit suicide?

    So you have this guy, putting make-up on what I think, are cutting scars on his arm. The first stanza describes what he goes through to keep this hidden. Maybe he uses a swiss army knife on his keychain or the keys themselves to cut.

    Second stanza, he's replaying what he does and other's responses over in his head like:

    Other: Why are you using make-up?
    Him:..I wanted to
    Other: Why are you putting it on your arms?
    Him: I wanted to
    Other: Uh why did you leave your keys on the table?
    Him: Shit, I have to think of a reason for me to have left them there (create another fable).

    The next part, he's being a little sarcastic when he says "trust in my self-righteous suicide" and that it makes him cry to think that just because "I'm depressed, why does that make me deserving to die and not go to heaven?" Other than wanting to kill himself, he is an angel in every other aspect.

    At the end, I think he's praying. He's asking God to save him "I commend my spirit." But he feels God has forsaken him by creating him, giving him feelings, and ultimately, depression. He feels forsaken because the Creator will let everyone else into heaven, who commends their spirit to Him as long as they don't kill themselves. That's the only caveat...be saved, you're okay. Be saved and commit suicide, you're screwed.

    That's just me personally...I'm interested to see what other people think of my interpretation.
    Belljar84on March 06, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAnother contibution to this song. "Father why have you forsaken me". One of several things jesus says to god on the cross. there are to much references to the bible and christianity for this song to be about much else.
    Gerfald1on April 08, 2009   Link

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