Although a collection of previously unreleased tracks that were only partially finished (recorded durring the “Toxicity” sessions), I agree that every song on here was definetley good enough to make the final cut. I’ll break it down song by song…1.) Chic ‘N’ Stu: Very interesting lyrics. I’m still trying to figure out what it means… it’s more than just food here. However, this is one of the very few System songs where Daron (guitar/back up vocals) sings in a normal voice. Very cool! 4/52.) Innervision: The new single from the album. If you got this from the net a while back (like me), this version is better overall with some revised parts. Arguable the best song on the album. 5/53.) Bubbles: Life in a bubble jungle! I admit, some of these songs catchy for having such political lyrics Good song. 4/54.) Boom: Something VERY different from our Armenian friends. The whole song is spoken as a poem, by Serj, except for the chorus. 5/5 for the originality alone.5.) Nuguns: The opening chords may have you wondering if this is some kind of remake of “Prison Song” from Toxicity. Pretty good song overall. 4/56.) A.D.D. (American Dream Denial): You may have seen Shavo laying down the bass tracks for this song durring the “Toxicity Backstage” video. One of my favorite songs on the album. 5/57.) Mr. Jack: For now, my favorite song on the album. Has kind of a gloomy feel to it, much like “Spiders” from their self-titled debut. 5/58.) I-E-A-I-A-I-O: Serj in a display of his ability to sing the impossible in a mumbling of tongue twisters. Beautifully sung chorus. Interesting song. 4/59.) 36: A 46 second track of (mostly) screaming and brutal guitar riffage. Nothing special here. 3/510.) Pictures: Another great What-The-Hell-Kind-Of-Music-Is-This-Song from S.O.A.D. It kicks booty! 5/511.) Highway Song: Shows of Daron’s back-up vocal skills quite well. Pretty good song. 4/512.) F**k the System: You’ve probably heard this song before as it has been very easily available on Kazaa for a while. Sounds more like the type of songs they were writing on their self-titled debut. 4/513.) Ego Brain: Probably one of the top 5 songs from this CD. It’s a bit different from what they usually make, but it’s great none the less. 5/514.) Thetawaves: A song that would’ve fit in just fine with the “Toxicity” line up. 4/515.) Roulette: Something different from a nu metal band. Features Daron on guitar/back-up vocals and Serj singing. I love the lyrics! 5/516.) Streamline: Up in the top 5 of this CD. This seams quite different in some aspects than the downloaded (Scorpion King Soundtrack) version but I never bought the soundtrack so I’m not sure. VERY good song. 5/5The only reason I gave this CD 4/5 is because there are very few records that I feel really deserve a 5 star rating, despite the fact that I gave 5/5 stars to some of the songs. However, this CD is definetley worthy of any nu metal fan’s collection, S.O.A.D. fan or not.
With Rage Against the Machine disbanded, System of a Down ascend to the political aggro-rock throne, and with Steal This Album, the Los Angeles-based quartet prove themselves worthy to wear the crown. A play on the late activist Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book, the album consists of 16 System songs from the mid-1990s through 2001. The band stresses the songs are not ”B-sides or outtakes”; in fact, they clearly show System at their apex. These smart, varied songs feature Serj’s frenetic, staccato, Jello Biafra-like phrasing atop the band’s edgy, commanding, metal-meets-punk base. From the funny, frantic ”Chic ’N’ Stu,” to ”F**k the System,” ”A.D.D. (American Dream Disorder),” and ”Boom!” System keep listeners guessing with discomfiting time changes that match up with Serj’s incendiary lyrics. In keeping with their creative, fan-oriented approach, System are releasing four limited runs of the CD, each version featuring artwork from a different band member. This is not escapist rock. It’s an intense and eye-opening aural history lesson you can mosh to. –Katherine Turman
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I first approached buying this CD with caution. Sure, the other 2 SOAD albums were brilliant, but what do you immediately think when you walk into the Metal section of the music store and see a CD which has no cover art and looks like a ripped album? Are you going to pay $??.95 for that?Or is this just a damn clever gimmick? Yes it is. STEAL THIS ALBUM is an album that is well worth your money, and finds the band issuing previously unreleased material that spans their career to date. As you would expect, Serj Tankian is in full flight with his anti-consumer song CHIC’N'STU (only Serj could make screaming out the ingredients for casserole and pizza sound cool!) , and the soaring INNERVISION. There is also the nicely anti-authority track F**K THE SYSTEM as well as some gentler songs which will surprise some SOAD fans, but will also delight them too.By inserting the CD into your computer you can access the album info such as lyrics etc. STEAL THIS ALBUM is a record well worth your money and will please SOAD fanatics both old and new. So if none of your friends or relatives got you this for Xmas (like mine), make sure STEAL THIS ALBUM is the first CD you buy in 2003. Got it?
This record is a huge mixture of sounds because of the time period it covers. Comprised of tracks from throughout the band’s history, the sampling of their different sounds over the years is impressive. From the hard-hitting “Chic N’ Stu” to the more thought-provoking “Streamline,” it is easy to find something you like here. As a System fan, I saw the disc as a way to see their progression to where they are now, but any fan of rock will appreciate the overall sound of this record. Another important part of the record’s appeal is the underlying messages of System of a Down. From the presentation of the case (no book included, CD is made to look like a CD-R that someone wrote on), to the title, “Steal This Album!,” to the politically motivated songs included, it is easy to see where the band stands on many issues (especially their anti-war stance).Overall, “Steal This Album!” is definitely a record to own, if for many different reasons. System fans should buy it because it is a chance to hear unreleased songs from the band’s past. Rock fans in general should buy it because it is a record with purpose that appeals to you no matter what style of “System” you prefer, hard-hitting or thought-provoking, and sometimes all of the above. Get your hands on this one, even if you have to follow the band’s cynical advice and “Steal This Album!”Best tracks: “Innervision,” “A.D.D.,” “I-E-A-I-A-I-O,” “Highway Song,” and “Streamline.”
No…I can’t bring myself to believe that these are rejects. Well, I guess System’s “trash” is another band’s “aspiration”. Other nu-metal bands could only hope to be half as good as SOAD’s B-sides. I almost didn’t waste the 11.99 on this cd but I’m so glad I did.1. Chic N Stu- This might be my favorite song on the whole damn album. Its worth stealing for this song alone! Worthy of anything on Toxicity (except for Needles and Deer Dance and Chop Suey and ATWA and Toxicity….) 10/102. Innervision- At first I was like, hmmm….its an okay song….but the more i listened to it the more I fell in love with it. Beautiful. 9/103. Bubbles- Wow. That’s all I can say. 10/104. Boom!- I love the chorus to this song and the very end of it too. SOAD really knows how to end a song with a bang. 10/105. Nuguns- Not as good as the previous four songs…7/106. ADD- Again, this song didnt impress me the first 10 times I heard it. Then suddenly one day I was listening to it and I realized that it was one of the best songs. This CD keeps amazing me. 10/107. Mr Jack- A slower song but it picks up speed at the end and I LOVE the way it ends, when he screams and then it just cuts off. Very powerful. 9/108. A-E-I-E-I-O- If there were a single to this CD, this song would be it. All around catchy, very singable. 9/109. 36- Why so short? I want more! This is the strangest song by far, just because of the voice inflections and weird guitar thingy. “Life is so…unnecessary!” 8/1010. Pictures- Another very catchy song. I like the little drum cadence. 9/1011. Highway Song- Haunting, beautiful melody. 9/1012. *uck the System- A tribute to what the band is all about. Amen. 9/1013. Egobrain- A third song that I fell in love with after a few dozen listens. And getting better every time. 9/1014. Thetaways- It’s ok…kind of blends into the rest of the songs, doesn’t stand out all that much to me. 7/1015. Roulette- The guys slow down for a second here to catch their breath, I guess. And I’m glad they did- the result is…well…breath-taking. 9/1016. Streamline- This one also kind of blends in and doesn’t really stand out on its own. Don’t get me wrong, still good though. 7/10Hope that was helpful!
Considering it took four years to make “Toxicity,” it’s not (or shouldn’t be) surprising that System of a Down had some leftover songs that they wanted heard. What is surprising, however, is that these b-sides were so good. Some songs here, like “Innervision” and “Chic `N’ Stew,” are as good as anything on System’s last two discs. In fact, the band left some of these songs off of their last album not because they weren’t good songs, but because they wanted “Toxicity” to have a different, more serious theme. A song like “Bubbles” wouldn’t exactly fit if it were next to, say, “Aerials.”
These 13 songs don’t have as many powerful lyrics as “Toxicity,” so “Steal This Album” doesn’t have the sharp impact or depth that its predecessor had. But this C.D. is still very fun to listen to! Daron’s riffs are still crunchy and heavy, sometimes (as in track three) almost flattening, and Serj’s vocals are (as always) top-notch. (“Roulette” is probably the best example of his proper, nasal, almost soulful singing.) Plus, even though they’re not AS good, the lyrics are still pretty intelligent. “Boom” is a bold, unabashed anti-war tirade, and has lyrics like “four thousand children die per hour from starvation/while billions spent on bombs/creating death showers.”
Elsewhere, “Pictures” is a fairly odd song with catchy drumming, making it kind of sound like it’s a b-side from System’s first, self-entitled album. Next, “Highway Song” has a good soft-loud-soft dynamic, as well has a good give and take between the guitars and drums. “Ego Brain” seems in the same mold as “Toxicity”’s album closer, “Aerials,” and “Roulette” features acoustic guitar plucking and even some violins. Other highlights include “Mr. Jack,” “I-E-A-I-A-I-O,” and the silly “F**k The System.”
When it was first released, “Steal This Album” served as a nice snack to whet fans appetites for what was to come. Now, since “Mezmerize” was released earlier this year (2005), “Steal This Album” isn’t any less good, it’s just the band’s best album, and not essential for casual System of a Down fans. But if you liked SoaD’s first two albums, you’re sure to like this, as well.