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System Of a Down-Prison Song

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System Of A Down (SOAD) is an alternative metal band from Southern California that formed in 1994. The band members include; Darian Malakian, Serj Tankian, Shavo Odadjian, and John Dolomayan. They are compared to bands such as Korn and the Deftones SOAD is best known for their song “BYOB” which won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. Along with this, 3 of their albums debuted number 1 on Billboard 200. The band was active until 2006 when they parted their separate ways. SOAD reunited in 2010. SOAD’s lyrics include topics such as drug abuse, politics and sexual intercourse. The band is also part of the Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization that fights for social and political change*. The band’s desire is to create awareness and regonition of the Armenian Genocide. Serj Tankian's grandfather is a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. All four members are of Armenian descent and widely known for their outspoken views expressed in many of their songs, confronting the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as well as the ongoing war of terrorism**.

“Prison Song” is the first song in the album “Toxicity” released on September 4, 2001. Over 12 million copies of “Toxicity” have been sold worldwide. In this specific song the views expressed by SOAD are confronting the problem with the prison system in the US. SOAD uses many facts in this song showing how the prison system has dramatically changed only for the government’s benefit and not the citizens. (Ex. The percentage of Americans in the prison system has doubled since 1985). The main cause of this RIDICULOUS rise in prison numbers can be attributed to the so called "war on drugs" and the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences.*** SOAD states that a majority of the population in the prison system are people with small harmless charges such as minor drug offenses. (Ex. Minor drug offenders fill your prisons, you don't even flinch) .SOAD believes that these people would benefit more from rehab treatment than just being put behind bars. (Ex. All research and successful drug policies show, that treatment should be increased, and law enforcement decreased). In saying this, SOAD also expresses that the prisons should contain severe criminals such as rapists and murderers.

I found it interesting how in class one day we discussed this exact issue-how our prisons are full of petty criminals instead of evil minded child molesters. I had chosen my song before we had this class discussion so I mentally took note of the conversation. I completely agree in these views that both SOAD and my classmates have. I first chose this song because you said you wanted something different- not so obvious. I assumed this song was less popular compared to other songs by SOAD and I felt it expressed the views clearly in a clever way. SOAD is one of my favourite bands as their lyrics actually have meaning to them and aren’t about love like every other musician in the mainstream. In doing my research on SOAD I grew to be even fonder of them. I like the irony of the bias opinion people have on metal music. They assume it’s all about being stupid and the pleasures of sex and drugs. In reality there is a deeper meaning, a meaning enforcing views on society that in turn would benefit everyone in a positive way. Therefore, yes I am a metal head but that is because of both the talent and the meaningful lyrics that send a strong message to my soul.

* Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1040629
**http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_of_a_Down#System_of_a_Down_.281998.E2.80.932000.29
***http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/32798/

Comment by user Santeria1
All examples are lyrics from System of a Down-Prison Song



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