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System of a Down – System of a Down (1998)

May 3, 2019

[Album 645/1001]

“He wanted someone young and idealistic to expand his fortune. And I used to be both.”
– Rafe Spall’s character in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

My communications technology students are currently pitching me their ideas for ‘The Next Social Platform.’

The project premise is that I’m an investor & they have to convince me to invest in their idea.

Even if I’m not the target audience, make sure I can see the value that your platform might add for other users.

Untitled presentation (23)

Based on the pitches I’ve heard so far, there are some investment-worthy social media platforms in development!

I’ve been particularly impressed with the pitches that, rather than following current trends, are anticipating a pendulum swing in the opposite direction.

And occasionally, the strongest selling points weren’t about the features that were included; instead, the focus was on what wasn’t there.

For example, one student proposed a photo-sharing platform with no ‘upload/edit’ capability.

But how is offering less somehow more?

This way, photos could only be shared as they happened, how they were originally captured. That way, instead of being polished beyond recognition, the actual meaning of the photos would be reclaimed.

Are the students young & idealistic? I used to be both myself.

And if I had a fortune to expand, I would certainly help finance some of their visions!

.

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“How do I feel? What do I say?”
– System of a Down, Sugar

In 1998, music was trending in a practically perfect pop direction.

The biggest singles of the year belonged to artists like Celine Dion, Cher, and Shania Twain.

Observing the success of groups like the Backstreet Boys & Spice Girls, various replicas & reasonable facsimiles also joined the market share battle.

So if somebody had pitched me the idea of a girl/boy band in 1998, it would have seemed like a relevant investment option.

But what if someone had pitched me the idea of System of a Down?

To put it mildly, they’d be somewhat incongruous with the artists listed above!

Which is why I imagine they were the right act at the right time.220px-System_of_a_down

Take the song, Sugar.

Though the song length may have been late-90s radio-friendly, the unconventional structure & multiple tempo changes would have been less so.

The singer, Serj Tankian, wanders all of over the map vocally, sometimes growling, sometimes chatting, sometimes singing, always seemingly all-in.

It’s exhausting…and at the time, for many, it was probably just what the doctor ordered.

When the masses were moving toward smooth & accessible, there was going to be an appetite for the antidote.

How do I feel?

Somewhat old, as I still would have been the same age as or older than my current students when this came out in 1998.

What do I say?

If I’d had a fortune that I was attempting to expand in 1998, I would have invested in this group for sure!

…..

Verbalize the Positive

They seem like a group that is doing ‘their thing’ – they seem to be uniquely System of a Down!

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From → 1990s

14 Comments
  1. The kids might be on to something with that theory. Think about music now. The digital age of mp3s and streaming suddenly saw a complete reversal and an actual physical copy on vinyl is in full resurgence mode. Who’da thunk it. Go back to simpler times and simple ideas might be the right direction to go.

    • That’s true – vinyl was practically being given away 20 years ago (I got a LZ I for 99 cents!), certainly not so much anymore!

  2. I like some of System of A Down’s albums… this being one of them. I dare say they felt new. Certainly much better than much of the alternative metal options.

    • I never heard it – but I liked the idea of one of their later CDs, where it looked like a handwritten homemade CD saying something like “burn/steal this CD.” Felt like a relevant title in the late 90s/early 2000s!

      • Steal This Album! is a good one, Geoff. Definitely worth checking out. I think there was a reference to songs that had leaked and were shared online prior to the album’s release, so definitely relevant!

  3. As for the question about offering less being more. I think people get overwhelmed by the ability to do loads… with music, I found I stopped listening so much when it became so easy to consume… hence why I turned to vinyl.

    • I think that’s been described as the paralysis of choice – if I go to somewhere like a starbucks, I’m overwhelmed by the options!
      And vinyl, of course, is a nice place to turn

  4. Less is more. For sure. Texture and depth are the next big thing

    • Hear hear – and I can’t help but read “next big thing” in the voice of The Dictators’ Next Big Thing!

  5. Van Halen adopted that less is more to perfection on the first 6 albums not really clocking more than 30-33 minutes per release!
    Leaving u the listener wanting more….
    Perhaps this Monday at 9 am you should fire up SOAD!
    Chop Suey!

    • We’re doing ‘tables of values’ in math – perhaps the “why’d you leave the keys upon the table” line would be relevant!

      • Show them kids the real meaning of School of Rock!

  6. I just love SOAD – they’re such a violent shock to the eardrums. I really don’t think they sound like anybody else, is it the little pockets of Armenian melodies they hide away in here?

    • That may be it!
      And I’m pleased to have my verbalize the positive confirmed by multiple reliable sources – I don’t think I’m an aficionado about this type of music & it appears perhaps that’s because these lads are the only ones that play this particular style!

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