Chop Suey! Lyrics

How to Format Lyrics:

  • Type out all lyrics, even repeating song parts like the chorus
  • Lyrics should be broken down into individual lines
  • Use section headers above different song parts like [Verse], [Chorus], etc.
  • Use italics (<i>lyric</i>) and bold (<b>lyric</b>) to distinguish between different vocalists in the same song part
  • If you don’t understand a lyric, use [?]

To learn more, check out our transcription guide or visit our transcribers forum


Genius Annotation

Rick Rubin, who produced Toxicity for System of a Down, cites this song as one of his most important projects. He told Rolling Stone:

This song was originally going to be called “Self-Righteous Suicide,” and the record company rebelled. I remember wanting to go to the mat and keep the title, and the band decided, “Let’s call it ‘Chop Suey!’” which I thought was kind of funny.

Chop-suey is the Americanization of the Chinese quick dish tsap sui, which means “odds and ends, mixed bits” in the Cantonese dialect. The song title is a play on “Self-right-Chop Suey-cide,” that has a further sort of humor in that they mixed up a controversial word into a nonsensical word to create a more ‘radio-friendly’ title.

The song enjoyed success, climbing the charts after its August 2001 release before virtually disappearing from airwaves after 9/11. The song’s chorus, with its congratulatory “self-righteous suicide,” and lament, “I cry when angels deserve to die” was considered a bit too raw for listeners at the time. In the wake of the tragedy, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) put out a memo to its subsidiary radio stations temporarily blackballing (but not outright banning) it, along with 164 other “lyrically questionable” songs. Eventually, the record resurfaced on the charts—in part due to its earlier popularity, in part due to the lack of new singles released that September. However, it remains one of System of a Down’s worst performing US singles, particularly relative to the song’s global performance.

Although the lyrics are viewed as confrontational, the singer is actually challenging the listener to “wake up” and reconsider the way that they judge and deride people who are engaged in self-destructive behaviors. The song culminates in a biblical connection to Jesus before his death on the cross, with the singer ostensibly having chosen his “self-righteous suicide” so that these ‘sinners’ would be forgiven.


Find answers to frequently asked questions about the song and explore its deeper meaning

What have the artists said about the song?
Genius Answer

The song is about how when people die, they will be regarded differently depending on the way they pass. Like, if I were to die from a drug overdose, everyone would say I deserved it because I abused drugs, hence the line ‘Angels deserve to die.’

Daron Malakian

I wrote that in the back of the RV. With that [song], I didn’t want to repeat myself. I didn’t want to write “P.L.U.C.K.” again or “Suite-Pee” again. I wanted to explore something different. At the same time, I wanted to retain our style so I put a lot of the ideas together.

Daron Malakian, Louder Than Hell

What's the meaning of the song?
Genius Answer

System of a Down based “Chop Suey!” on many subjects, including drug addiction, or views on religion. Yet, the song does not contain a sober tone in the voice, whilst regarding on the drug-addicted meaning of the song. The meaning of the song can be undefined as well since the band identified the song as “a little quacky”.

What certifications did this track receive?
Genius Answer

“Chop Suey!” was certified gold by the RIAA on March 6, 2006.

Who produced “Chop Suey!” by System Of A Down?
When did System Of A Down release “Chop Suey!”?
Who wrote “Chop Suey!” by System Of A Down?
Bass Guitar
String Arrangements
Assistant Recording Engineer
Mixing Engineer
Assistant Mixing Engineer
Mastering Engineer
Recorded At
Cello Studios (Hollywood, CA)
Release Date
August 13, 2001
View Chop Suey! samples