November of 2002 System of a Down released their album titled Steal This Album! I remember listening to the album as a naive 11 year old and not really knowing what to make of it, other than the fact that I thought it was cool. Up to that point in my life 9/11 was really the only current event that I understood. That being said, the song Boom! from the SOAD album was definitely a song that struck a chord with me.
At that time of my life I was just starting to use the internet, so watching music videos was definitely a popular pastime. The following video is one that I vividly remember watching:
For lyrics, click here.
I remember watching the music video and being confused. Just a couple years prior I was watching the television as two airplanes crashed into the World Trade buildings. I was in 5th grade at the time and literally concerned for my safety. I remember thinking that terrorists were headed for Chicago next, but told myself that the government was going to do everything possible to keep us safe. Then to hear this song and to watch the video, which completely demonizes the actions of the government, I was confused. For the first time in my life I remember telling myself, “well maybe the government doesn’t always have our best interest in mind.”
Now that I am older I definitely read much less into the message that SOAD is trying to get across. Yes, they bring up many issues in today’s society, but the world is a messy place and there is no simple answer to anything. The issues they bring up are extremely complex, and it’s not as simple as they make it appear.
And at the same time maybe they don’t want us to take their message literally. Maybe all they want to do is make us think. It takes a bold message to get a reaction from people, and Steal This Album is just that.
Just to make note, the album title makes reference to Abbie Hoffman’s book, Steal This Book, a counter-culture book that mainly focuses on how to fight the society and corporations.