System Of A Down - Steal This Album!
It was the "Chop Suey!" craze that got me into System of a Down, to be sure, but it was their masterful self-titled debut that kept me coming back. While Toxicity is no doubt their most popular release (for the aforementioned track, amongst other reasons), the hype around Steal This Album was incredible as I remember it. A varied collection of Toxicity b-sides, new compositions and the like, STA was met with mostly positive praise, but it had to have fallen short of fair-weather fan's expectations. There are a couple of overplayed singles to cling to, but the real meat of this album lies elsewhere.
Nowhere near as impacting as their debut, or as cohesive as Toxicity, still STA has some great moments. "Chic 'N' Stu" isn't one of them, but belongs amongst a handful of SOAD tracks commonly referred to as "the funny ones". Lyrically speaking, this band saddles the line between intriguing metaphors and absolute nonsense in a way that has made it the most contraversial topic amongst fans and opponents alike. "Innervision" and "Streamline" were the more popular tracks, ending up on various movie soundtracks and heavily spun on MTV video rotations and endless radio playlists. Good tracks, but not the main course. The combination of "A.D.D. (American Dream Denial)", "Mr. Jack", I-E-A-I-A-I-O", "Highway Song" and "Roulette" make up the bulk of this record's appeal. "A.D.D." is one of the band's best politically-motivated motivators, "Mr. Jack" takes its time building a sinister atmosphere before lashing out against it in the end. "I-E-A-I-A-I-O" is purely insane, but in that lovable, upbeat manner SOAD is known for. "Highway Song" is just a well written track, and "Roulette" is tinged with emotive metaphor and acoustic meloncholy. The remaining bits and pieces of STA range from decent to throwaway in quality.
Truthfully, Steal This Album did a little bit more for me than Toxicity, which was really far too dependent on the strength of its singles even before the singles launched the band into the limelight. This album is nearly as overlooked as their debut, which upsets this reviewer as they are his two favorite System of a Down records by far.
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on 2007-11-07 SolitaryMan Said:
Hah. I was really excited for this release back when it dropped and it's still the weirdest SOAD album if you ask me. Weird in a decent way. Songs like "Mr. Jack" and "IEAEIO" are excellent.
on 2007-11-06 green_clash Said:
Fun fact, this place I go get records at has a sticky-note on this album saying "Please don't steal this album. Thank You!"