Album: Toxicity (2001)
Charted: 34 55


  • This song is about how people can lose their identities and become just like everyone else. Some lyric analysis:

    "Life is a waterfall,we're one in the river, one again after the fall." - We all start off the same and we all end up the same.

    "Swimming through the void, we hear the words,we lose ourselves, but we find it all." - As we go through life we are told lessons, but we ignore them. We forget who we really are in the mix of seeking the synthetic lifestyle, and that's the price to lose who we really are.

    "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play, always want to go, but you never want to stay." - We always want to be part of the scene. We strive for what we want and when we get it, it still does not satisfy.

    "And we are the ones that want to choose, always wanna play, but you never wanna lose." - We want and want. We do whatever we can but if trouble is ever near we do whatever we can to maintain innocence.

    "When you lose small mind you free your life." - When we stop to see the full picture is when we really have control of our lives.

    "Life is a waterfall, we drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls." - We take and take and in the end we give nothing. This shows how greedy, oblivious and inconsiderate people can be. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joe - Visa, CA
  • Toxicity was the highly anticipated follow-up to System Of A Down's 1998 self-titled debut album. It was released on September 4, 2001 and went straight to #1 in America, but then September 11 happened. For a while, there was little music to be heard in the US, and when radio stations returned to regular programming, many dropped the first single, "Chop Suey," which references death and suicide.

    The album kept going strong, just on a different schedule. The title track was issued as the second single in January 2002 and made a strong showing on rock radio. "Aerials" was issued a few months later as the third single and did even better. It made #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart September 28, over a year after the album was issued. On October 5, it topped the Alternative Songs chart, reflecting the wide cross-section of radio stations that played the song. The album ended up selling over 3 million in America - not bad for an off-the-wall Armenian metal band.
  • The lyrics were written by guitarist Daron Malakian and lead singer Serj Tankian; Malakian wrote the music. They also have producer credits on the album along with their label boss, Rick Rubin, who was a big part of System's success.
  • SOAD drummer John Dolmayan told MTV: "It's a gentle song, but at the same time, it has a lot of angst coming out. It was one of those things where it was just instant. We all felt it. It came together real fast, like it was meant to be put together that day."
  • The music video was a joint effort between the group's bass player, Shavo Odadjian, and the British director David Slade. It follows a young boy who appears to be at least part Klingon. We see him in a photo shoot and a press junket, but he seems to be a bona fide celebrity rather than a curiosity. The band is from the Hollywood area and often looks at that culture as if peering into a fun house mirror. The video got a lot of spins on MTV and Fuse.
  • "Aerials" is the last track on the Toxicity album. On the CD, right after the song ends, another song called "Arto" comes on as a hidden track. "Arto" is based on a traditional Armenian song with a chant that is played at funerals in the Armenian community. It is named "Arto" because their friend Arto Tuncboyaciyan played a duduk (a reed instrument similar to an oboe) on the track. Daron and Serj's grandparents both wept when they heard it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Anthony - Willow Wood, OH
  • The band performed this on Saturday Night Live when they were musical guests for the May 7, 2005 episode. Their appearance is most remembered for the first song they played, "B.Y.O.B.," a song that repeats the line "Where the f--k are you?" They sang it as is, but NBC put the performance on a five-second delay to mute it.

Comments: 107

  • Maddie From Nowhere from Not Here Aerial is another name for a TV antennae or any antennae, basically the song is saying if you stop letting TV and media tell you how to think and feel and start thinking for yourself freeing your life from it's influence, you can claim the "eternal Prize" of enlightenment. it has nothing to do with aliens. The video shows this in a boy that dreams of being famous the only reason that he looks like he's half alien was just a joke about all those that thought the song was about aliens.
  • Nick from TexasI thought that maybe it had something to to with the alien encounter in africa I think the name of the school is named aerials.
  • Lulubelle from CoFor some reason, this song really makes me think of war. I really don't know why, but it says aerials are in the sky and pretty sure that is a type of plane! My opinion is war. Oof. Not trying to sound rude tho.
  • Eleni from Sayreville, NjDefinitely about greed, a lack of empathy, losing our identities and ignoring life’s lessons.
  • Mjm from DetroitWho controls the interpretations of these songs that are displayed on this site? I would say the above summation of the lines are so far off the mark due to their author's personnel lack of spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps when he loses small mind he will see it all.
  • Derek from Cleveland In his heart and mind the singer must know what it means. I think if you look look into yours you will know to. Stumbled into comments
  • Luke from Manchester, UkK.d.m. from Florida said "get right with God before its too late."
    I say get some medication before you're locked up. It's not always about religion and it's not always about you, get a life.
  • K.d.m from Florida, United Statesi am having a really hard time understanding why so many people are blind to all of the meanings of S.O.A.D.'s songs. open a bible folks. they don't even try to disguise the fact that they are referencing scriptures. aerials are angels... the lines "Swimming through the void
    We hear the word
    We lose ourselves
    But we find it all?" this is a direct reference to the scripture found in Matthew 16:25
    I haven't quite gotten it all figured out completely what is up with this group but from research have learned that they all attended an Armenian school which taught religion among other things. this school was based on the very first apostolic church. just like the song CHOP SUEY... it is clearly about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. and also directly references scriptures in Matthew 27:46
    they speak truth from the bible in their songs and so many are blind to it. they tell you to WAKE UP!... Jesus Christ is Lord and the rapture is coming people... get right with God before its too late.
  • Benjamin from FloridaI've read a lot of different interpretations of the meaning of Aerials and my conclusion is that everyone projects their own spiritual, emotional and psychological views/beliefs into what they think it means.

    Personally, I take this song and stand it next to other music written by SOAD. What I hear is a song about not conforming to society and not being brainwashed by media and the government. Some people say they want to think for themselves, but when someone challenges their beliefs or life get tough they just fall in line and conform instead of standing up for what they believe in. I can see how people construe religious meaning out of it and maybe on some level it is about religious convictions or maybe just moral convictions from a secular point of view.
  • W.i.r from Yangon,myanmarI think that song is about meditation and reality of life. Through meditation, we can see the reality of life beyond our body. As the lyrics "when you lose small mind you free your life", open your third eye and you can see the reality beyond small mind. This is my idea and I respect all of your ideas even you don't think as me.
  • Passpes from Tunis, TunisiaThis is the most mysterious song in the world ! omfg i can't stop thinking about what's inside it . I'm CRAZY !
  • Amber from Orlando, FlAlmost every song has a meaning; no matter what the artist says. Any how, my first thoughts on this song was about conforming or not conforming to what society wants us all to be. We are all expected to drink from the same koolaid river so to speak. I think it means that once you are able to be yourself (when does that happen?) you get to be happy. Eternal prize...perhaps when your dead, because for most of us we can't do whatever we want when we want because we have to conform to society.
  • Tallismortallic from St George , UtThis sounds a lot like Buddhist enlightenment.

    One in the river.
    The river being the universe pure energy, or Buddha nature. There is no me vs. you. There is no I to be happy or sad, or pissed off, or judgmental… Everything just is.

    During the fall.
    The moment we begin to think we all begin see through our own formed opinions, judgments, concepts about everything. We identify with these and use them as building blocks to build ourselves into our own little egocentric universe. There is ME and then everyone else orbiting me. That is 7 billion different little realities floating around the world, 7 billion small minds each the center of its own universe with everyone else orbiting.

    After the fall.
    Not when we die but rather when our ego begins to die. “This is when we free our eyes from looking through our egocentric goggles. ” We begin to realize that our false reality is just a conglomeration of opinions and concepts. We awaken to the realization that a thought and concept based reality is not real, that in reality there is no separation, that there is only one. At this moment there is no ego or “small mind” and the consciousness is free and awakened to truth that “I” does not exist. Without an “I” to have opinions or thoughts, everything exists in perfection.
  • Xfactor from Anthem , AzThe song is about Children that don't want to go to sleep. That all.
    Frankly I thought it was about greed and growing up.
  • Shiri from Kfar Saba, IsraelAerial Meaning and Definition
    (a.) Growing, forming, or existing in the air, as opposed to growing or existing in earth or water, or underground; as, aerial rootlets, aerial plants.
    (a.) Consisting of air; resembling, or partaking of the nature of air. Hence: Unsubstantial; unreal.
    (a.) Rising aloft in air; high; lofty; as, aerial spires.
    (a.) Light as air; ethereal.
    (a.) Of or pertaining to the air, or atmosphere; inhabiting or frequenting the air; produced by or found in the air; performed in the air; as, aerial regions or currents.
  • Tommy from Lowell, Mai do slighlty agree with the original writer but i think they were only scratching the curface of the true meaning

    1 the river and waterfall really does symbolize life and reincarnation as in "one in the river one again after the fall" the river = this life The waterfall = death and one again after the fall = our reincarnation into another life.

    2. " swimming through the void we hear the words we lose ourselves but we find it all" The void = Through meditation we enter the Void when our mind completely still and we have no thoughts. "We Lose our selfs" =we lose our material perception or illusion of this body being true self. "We find it all"= through this detachment of our material body we find out everything we need to know about what RealLifeiZ (lol i had throw my tag in there it was perfect) meaning we find it all

    3. "when you lose small mind you free your life" = through my first 2 points wich explain the true meaning of life being not this material illusion we are all living in wanting more and more things but actually being found within the void showing us we are living in small mindedness so when we enter the void and we find it all being that life is a river the one we have right now after our death we will have another. so when we lose this small minded illusion we will free our lives

    i also noticed the money flying around in the video the kid wanting it that explains the material perception of happiness aswell
  • Shirin from Grandview, MoIt means nothing and everything all at the same time.Nature abhors a vacuum.
  • Matt from Edmonton, AbI never have thought about the meaning of this song but a friend said to me when I was young that he thought it was about aliens, which makes a lot of sense and also the music video depicts a young alien looking boy. I don't know to me it kind of says that we are so busy with materialistic and vain things such as business and money that we don't realize the vast expanse of space. I think it is naive to believe that, given the enormous size of the universe, we are the only intelligent life that exists and that we are not a part of something a lot larger and bigger then our world.
  • Potato from Somewhere, Portugalthis music is WAAAY deep...
  • Michelle from D, Tx"When you lose small mind, You free your life...
    When you free your eyes, Eternal prize." For me, this means that when you open your mind and quit judging and taking actions based on prejudices/differences, you free yourself. When you open your eyes to the worlds that you haven't been taught about (other religions, other cultures, etc.) and you experience real compassion for all of humanity, the result is the eternal prize, which is the eternal gift that you give to humanity in the form of openness and compassion...Exactly what is needed by all of humanity in order to end violence. It's the theory behind nonviolent resistance. Many of SOAD's lyrics include references to nonviolent resistance.
  • Ben from Ocean City, NjSystem of a Down is almost like an industry of perception. I love how they leave it up to you to find out what their songs are about on your own. It's almost like if you're asking about it, chances are you're just like the kind of mindless drones they write about.
  • Connor from Rochester Hills, Mi- Cole, Connecting both of the meanings it would seem to be about Hollywood and how people all want you to be this or that, and when we all become that way we all become the same. But when we look deeper into the world we become something different, and we see the world for whats really there.
    And no, it does have meaning you ignorant f--ks. It can be reinterpreted from person to person. If you think it has no meaning, then please dont listen to the song. Thats partially what the band seems to be about.
  • Seth from Scottsdale, Azwhenever i hear this song it brings to mind an image of people watching television.
  • Luiz from Central Jersey, NjI am a figurative painter, and from years of practice I know that when an artist says "its about nothing" it means he wants his audience to give it meaning, and not dictate what you should look for. The song is there and thats their statement and its now ours to interpret and give it meaning. I believe that the song is about reincarnation of the human soul. We are all ONE in the river, the great void, we hear the Word (communion with Divinity, God and Goddess) lose ourselves, individual ego, but we find it all, oneness with the Universe. Life is then a waterfall, a very brief separation from that river which unites us, and we become droplets in the air, close in proximity to our fellow particles, yet essential made of the same element as the River. In that way the handicapped child is no different than idolized celebrities, for we are all ONE in the river. Once we free our small minds from conventional human religious thinking, which is divisive in nature, we receive the eternal prize from the knowledge that all of humanity and Divinity are one in this great river. This gives the individual power over his life path, to the extent that karmic law allows. I could be wrong, but that the meaning it holds for me, and I will do a paint about it in due time.
    I found various sources and put the puzzle pieces together myself, I suggest anyone interested investigate it. Here is where I looked so far. ( still reading some of them)

    "In Tune with the Infinite" by Ralph Trine.
    "Jung and the Tarot, and Archetypal Journey" by Sallie Nichols. (Compare the Magician to the kid in the video)
    I also started reading Lon Milo DuQuette's "Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot" and his "Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford".
  • Freedom from Chicopee, Mathis song always reminds me of chemtrails, and to look up. and to see beyond whats in front of us.
    the boy seems to be a alien/human hybrid.
  • Polly from Sofia, Bulgariasometimes men just need to be hedonists...i'm a hedonist when i'm listening to this(and not only) song. and just like blindness in the song- when you are blind you see=feel more clearly than ever because you are not distracted by anything. You can completely understand some songs when you stop gazing in their word meanings and start just feeling them. imagine a man who doesn't know the language... Do you fell that he will get the feeling? i think yes...if he's spiritually rich enough just to feel the sounds. so let's just try feel the music...
  • Justin from Ankeny, IaOh, this song runs along the same lines as the end of the Matrix Trilogy. Neo is blinded but once he is blinded, he can see the true source of good and evil in each and every being. "Once you free your sight eternal prize". Perhaps our eyesight was destined to lead us to this corruption that has been instilled in this world.
  • Justin from Ankeny, IaThis song is about self-image creating a false sense of collectivism (Hollywood's root, stemmed from the mirror and abused by motion picture), simply put. The reason that SOAD responds to the questionning as 'Nothing' at the concert is this: If you don't understand the concept already, than you are already a part of the collectivized virus. SOAD are like prophets not only through their music but through their speech as well: They say it's about 'Nothing' because they know their response will just generate a false idea of what the song really should mean in the questionnaire's head. Watch the video on YouTube and see how many people feel the urge to say 'THAT KID IS UGLY!'......People are too stupid in this day and age to realize where the problem starts.
  • Ani from Yerevan, ArmeniaThis song is devoted to the victims of Armenian Genocide in 1915.
  • Alex from Jeffersonville, InShavo (the bassist) said in an interview said that when Daron brought this song out after writing it out so he could figure out what his part would be or so "I could throw my vibe in there" He said that (because Shavo is a visual person, he needs to see things before he hears them clearly) Daron told him to imagine a trapese act and imagine the people swinging around in a circus tent, no imagine a little handicapped boy, whom watches the act, and wants to be there with them. Doing the act, but knows that he can't and is so sad.
  • Daron from Petaluma, CaYes Daron Malakian did say"Once again, this song is about nothing."

    But why do you think he really says that? so people won't keep asking him and he doesn't have to explain it over and over. Use common scense of course the song is about something.

    in interview Daron Malakian has said many times something along the lines of:


    open your eyes people
  • Z from Somewhere Over The Rainbow, WaWhen I heard Serj sing 'Aerials in the sky, when you lose smalal mind, you free your life.' I thought that it was about being who you really are and freeing yourself from the opinions of others. People hate people and that is just the way life will work out, but the Aerials are like angels and they represent all the people above that. They don't need the narrow-mindedness and they will do what they want and believe in what they know. And by the way, all of you people who dislke the band and openly diss them for no good reason, get a life. We deal with you enough already, must you bother us on the internet as well? ~~Ta~~
  • Joshua from Niagara Falls, NyFdfad, When he said this song is about nothing, he basicly means this song is up for interpretation.
  • Fdfads from Allen, TxStop being so f**king retarted people lol... Have you guys ever been to any of SOAD's concerts...
    In there 2002 Big Day concert the say that this song has no meaning,,, Stop wasting your time giving people false meanings and do a little research and actually go to a concert or two. The person who wrote the meaning of this song who has no f**king life and tried to just get creds for something he made up one saturday morning...
  • Patty from Alamo, Txthis song is of my favorites....!!!!
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., OhPersonally, I think it is one of their better songs. Love the music- especially the introduction. At least they have one song that isn't about war and violence.
  • Tyler from Everywhere, UtI think this song was written to be whatever the audience wanted it to be. I'm sure it has meaning to the writers, but its gonna' be different for everyone. Also, the song could be about "nothing", as a concise concept. That is, you can write about nothingness, or you can not write. I think this song is about nothingness, on many levels. The melancholy (relatively)tune suggests to me that it is sometimes easier to lose yourself, and just be what life makes you.
  • Cortney from Grand Junction, CoI love this song so damn much!and pscoman364 is right its about nothing
  • Cole from That One Place, WiWell, since almost all SOAD songs have meanings and this one has one of the most obvious, I think it's impossible this song has no meaning. However, the song meaning and music video meanings seem to differ greatly. As for the song meaning, look at the one in "songfacts". It seems to be dead on to me. As for the music video (watch it before you read this or you won't understand), I think that's on a more specific level about how the deformed kid lost himself becoming this "celebrity" due only to his face and his psychic abilities. He has lost himself and he is not truly happy even though he is rich and famous.
  • Sarah from San Bruno, CaPeople have their own interpretations to this song. Respect them. It's all how you want to relate to the song and how you want to perceive it. It could be about "Nothing" to some, yet be a beautiful song to another. I personally think it's one of their best songs.
  • Keck from Everywhere, MsThis song is about the alien hybrids put on the Earth to transform mankind. The kid failed, falling the illusion of the world, losing his destiny and coming short from the mission programed into his DNA.

    or you realise that, in the end, our lives mean nothing, no matter what we do we die. Free your eyes to death.

    lol. I'm just bored; this song means...nothing. :)

  • Mangesh from Wichita, KsLife is a waterfall
    Were one in the river
    And one again after the fall

    Swimming through the void
    We hear the word
    We lose ourselves
    But we find it all....

    life is like a waterfall.
    we start off like a river, then we go through a transition period where we "fall".
    after we fall, we're back again in the river, back to life.

    the transition period of falling ("swimming through the void") can be: life-changing events in our life. situations, broken friendships/relationships, etc etc.
    "we hear the word": we hear warnings, we hear advice...
    we go through a phase where we don't seem like ourselves ("we lose ourselves")
    then in the end, we find ourselves again ("one again after the fall")
    "but we find it all": we figure out what the "word" really meant.

    something like a cycle. keeps happening over and over again.

    Cause we are the ones that want to play
    Always want to go
    But you never want to stay

    "we are the ones that want to play": we want to deviate from our lives and "play". do something exciting. live a little.
    "always want to go": we want to go play
    "but you never want to stay": but we always end up going back. i.e-> like a waterfall that "falls"/plays and then comes back "never want to stay".

    And we are the ones that want to choose
    Always want to play
    But you never want to lose

    "we are the ones that want to choose": we make the decision to fall. we want to fall.
    "always want to play": we always want something that is on the other side. we want to gamble with happiness.
    "but you never want to lose": we want to gamble with happiness but we never want to win. we made the decision to fall, but we don't want to fall.

    Life is a waterfall
    We drink from the river
    Then we turn around and put up our walls

    life is like a waterfall.
    "we drink from the river": we take for ourselves
    "we turn around and put up our walls": once we are comfortable, we become selfish.
    we don't want anyone else drinking from our water. don't want to share our lives with them.

    Aerials, in the sky
    When you lose small mind
    You free your life

    "when you lose small mind": when you let everything go. (small mind denotes that how you think is very primitive)
    "you free your life": you realize that life isn't always about being a waterfall (falling, becoming one, falling, becoming one).
    you can break the cycle when you lose small mind, when you stop being primitive and clinging to things.

    In summary:

    Life is a cycle. We rise, we fall. In all aspects. We get attached.
    We can break away from this cycle and free our lives, when we unattach ourselves.

    Lot of people look into the meaning of the word "AERIALS". yes it can mean aliens.
    it can mean that aliens are more intelligent than us and they don't have this problem of falling, breaking, becoming one again.
    higher beings won't be primitive or small minded.

    Beautiful song.
  • Benjamin from Nantwich, EnglandInteresting to see all the theories people have, i'd say the writer knows best but once you've heard it you do tend to take possesion of a song and place your own meanings on it. Anyway, i first heard the song as the music for a compilation of video clips showing a day in the life of military helicopter crews on operation in Northern Ireland back when that was the only way to get around the province. I think it was picked mainly because the bloke who made the video was a fan but the line 'always want to play, never want to lose' takes the meaning they enjoy the flying but getting it wrong is fatal. Anyhow, i never knew who the song was by so after seeing the video again i googled the lyrics and ended up here. Might have to buy some some S.O.A.D. now.
  • Evita from Dundalk, IrelandThis was the first ever SOAD song ive eva heard, and it made me crazy still to this day this is one of my favorite songs in the world, Every thing SOAD sings about is like so true, they are not scared to tell the world of what really is going on like all the other singers. SOAD rocks
  • Brandon from Oshawa, CanadaI agree that the song is about mentally/and or physically challenged people, and how they are not different from us. i think Daron says this song is about "nothing" is because "nothing" is a nonexistent thing. something that isnt there. so this song is about something that isnt there. how about openmindedness? how people can't see how lucky they are, or how bad thigns are for other people. thats just my opinion.
  • Scott from New York, Nyok this song is not about nothing! its is a very true song.. no mater how unique on person may be it doesn't mater one day he will end up like everybody else.... the fall referred to is life, being one in the river is before life how we are all the same as in not yet born, then the fall is life, living out our lives, then one again after the fall, this has two meanings, on is after the fall as in after life, the other is after the fall as in after we fall to our deaths. once dead we are all equal again. also "Swimming through the void We hear the word, We lost ourselves, But we find it all?" this is referring to that after death(the void) we lose our individuality gained during life(we lost ourselves) then we become one like everyone else(but we find it all?) the question mark is there to say,how can you find something when you are dead.
  • Amurie from Venice, Italyat fierst when I heard this song me and my friend were very confused but at the same time very impressed. Iv liked SOAD for I dont know how long.

    but anyways I think this song means to be yourself inspite of all the things in life that try to poison your backround and make u into an ugly person SOAD writes these songs I think to say in your face government in your face society theres people out there that are against the these mindless babiling idiots so listen to this song and think to yourself has this systamatic society gone to the dogs in logic sence u will relieze that SOAD has done nothing but try to help us relieze that we need to change this world around

    Do you see the world as an unenlightened place,
    still in need of you?
    It is not!
    You see it that way
    because you're still practicing.
    The masters do not see that.
    They see and know only God
    and Surrender to His Will.


    i cheeked out that book Zin mind it was quite amazing..
  • Yoseph from Cupertino, Cai think this song is about sex and abortion.

    "Swimming through the void, we hear the words" we hear people telling us not to have sex b4 marrige or whatever, but we have sex anyways.

    "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play,(sex)
    always want to go, but you never want to stay.(stay as in get married)
    And we are the ones that want to choose,(to have sex, and not have other people tell you not to)
    always wanna play,(again, sex) but you never wanna lose"(lose as in lose innocence)

    "we drink from the river and we turn around and put up our walls"

    if life is the actual waterfall, then the river is before were born, and if we "drink from the river" that means we kill unborn babies -> abortion.

    this is just a theory....
  • Kayley from LondonI agree with Rozzy, toronto, canada. System aren't the kind of band that makes song for the hell of it. All their songs are getting across some sort of message. It's who they are and they won't ever change.
  • Blake from Hamilton, OhI thought this song was talking about freaks actually. How they are popular just because they are ugly. But anyone, it's a good song and I like it. I also like "Arto" at the end. It reminds me of being in a jungle with a bunch of Indians dancing around. HA HA HA!!!
  • Rozzy from Toronto, CanadaI love songs like this that encourage so much discussion. You guys can't possible believe its about nothing. SOAD say that because if they were to make it so explicit, it would ruin the song. If the song was about nothing, why would they write it? That would a pretty crappy band.
  • Cheri from Redding, Caso they have said that this song is about "nothing". but what is "nothing"? To Abbey this "nothing" is an empty and vast desert. but Abbey loves the desert. why? because it is nothing. I believe that this song is about all that everyone else thinx it is about. But i also believe that this song is about "nothing". Do some research. Find out what "nothing" is and has been to our culture and others and what it was to cultures before us. I think that you will be surprised.
  • Mike from Petersham, MaDaron has said it on many occasions. This song is about NOTHING. NOTHING.
  • J. from Chicago, IlThe Zen Mind book also explains why the band says the song is about "nothing" . See page 46--"Nothing Special". See page 92--"Nirvana, the Waterfall".
  • J. from Chicago, IlFor the meaning of this song--check out Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki--it's all here--from the references to "small mind" to the "waterfall" references. It would seem that the song is based on Zen meditation concepts.

  • Cel from Philadelphia, PaI think SOAD says the song is about nothing to leave it open for interpretation. If it is about nothing, then the lyrics would finally make sense.
  • Ariana from Aloha, OrI love this song. This is the first System of a Down song I ever heared & saw on a music video. Now it's my favorite band. This song rocks!
  • Nicole from Johnson City, TnThis is my favorite SOAD song.
  • Ant from Trjs, Australiadaron malakian's quote was "once again this song is about nothing"
  • Dodo from Middelburg, South AfricaI suppose some people could interpret nazi death chants as Christianity and some poeple are so blinded by their own brainlesness that thy dont check their facts right. SOAD was formed an Armenian Christian school in LA. So technicaly thy have a Christian backround and must have, for a while at least, practised Cristianity. And the fact that ONE band at gave TWO different meanings for the song at certian times must mean theres something more to it, like leaving it up to us to interpret it individualy. Also the song after Arials is actully called Der Voghima with translates as "GOD FORGIVE US" (thanks Yuya) points to Cristianity dont you think? Now I'm not someone who trys to see Cristianity in everything but this realy could be one of those songs. I think the meaning is a mixture of religious belief and the way people are, like wanting everything and being afraid to take risks!
  • Lizzie from Greenville, Sci always thought this song was about a shroom trip. but they says its about nothing. i think they want the listener to interpret it accordingly.
  • Formadmirer from Dothan, AlI've also heard the song is about nothing, other than a good melodic riff.
    However, if it turns out that it is about something, and if that something has religious over/under tones, I truly hope that pro-christian it is not. I have found christian influences in a few of my fav bands recently and will NEVER buy anything of theirs again (and to think, I really liked Chevelle. What a pitty).
  • Ace from Madrid, SpainWhatever the song means, it rocks.
  • Billy from Otway, OhThis song is very good,though I like all of their songs I have heard
  • Jordan from Ferndale, Wagah! I accidently hit enter! Whoops! ANYwho, continueing on... (As the line it's in could be interpreted that people had no direction without a form of structure, and although they lose their individualism they create the greater purpose of society. But that would be pro-government, which doesn't seem to be their style =P). Personally I interpreted a lot of the lyrics as if the "speaker" was a single lemming in a pack about to jump off a cliff (a random, unexplainable act=P). It doesn't make sense with the lyrics as a whole, but my creepy mind likes to think of small furry animals plummeting tot heir deaths.
  • Jordan from Ferndale, WaWell, while I don't want to be anti-christian in any way, when it speaks of "the word" it doesn't have to be a reference to the bible. It could just be saying that they heard a command, from who I can't say. It could still be in reference to the Bible, but it could also be a command from the government (As the line it's in could be interpreted that people had no direction without a form of structure
  • Yuya from Kyoto, JapanThe song after this one just seconds after this ends is actually called "Der Voghima" (or however you spell it) which is a song for incarnating the dead. They named it "Arto" because Arto plays the duduk on it. Very great. And "Der Voghima" means "god forgive us".
  • Michael from Launceston, AustraliaI think that SOAD left this song open to interpretation though it could be about nothing. Personally i think this is just about being spiritually in any form not just christianity and the fact they in the end you real own nothing
  • Kevin from Deerfield, IlThis aerials song and the video are awesome. The song is not about nothing. Soad created this song and they have a lot of passion in it like all their songs. I don't think the kid is necessarily "retarded", the kid is just different. The kid is human, intelligent, serious, meditative, and really really cool and popular.
  • Chris from Derby, EnglandI think that the best thing about system of a down is the way that the lyrics to their songs can mean so many things. When I first heard the song I thought it was about nothing because it didn't make sense but having read these comments I believe it has many meanings and ryan, birminghan, AL was right. System said they meant nothing so we can make our own minds up. You can't deny there is some religious potential but I can see the retarded children side as well.
  • Seth from La, CaI can see where all of you get your conclusions. But I myself can see how its about retarded childrn. My brother has Autism, and so retardness can refer to your "eternal prize" because it takes someone that isnt normal to show us everything. "WE drink from the river t6hen we turn around and build up our walls" can mean that we take a go at what we wantt, and here comes your retarded child, and you need to protect them from the world. And as for "We're one with the iver and one again after the fall" its just saying that we are all born the same, and in the end we're all going to die. I dont see whats with all the arguing, but experience can brin me to the conclusion that what a band says about their music goes. They say its about rerarded children and nothing, than thats what its all about.
  • Yuya from Kyoto, JapanThe bonus track gives me the creeps
  • Karla from Where Darkness Lingers All The, AustraliaI heard Daron say in an interview once "It's f**king about nothing!"
  • Timmy from Loris, ScPschoman364 ima com and hurt u. its not about nothing. its prolly about what ur life is like, ur greedy and you dont give nothing back(We drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls) u prolly get what u want but dont give s@@t back to anyone. sry but i had to get that off my chest. i love this song by the way
  • Luis from Kearny, NjOk, lets break it down

    "Life is a waterfall,
    we're one in the river, one again after the fall."

    We go from wence we came, despite the fact that we are not the same when that cycle is over.

    "Swimming through the void, we hear the words,
    we lose ourselves, but we find it all."

    the void is a reference to life itself, IE, falling down the waterfall, also "we hear the words" meaning we hear other things that are not a part of ourselves, but we dont listen to them.

    and my favorite part of the song "we lose ourselves but we find it all"

    You have to lose every pre-supposed idea of what your identity really is before you even begin to find anything of value in life.

    "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play,
    always want to go, but you never want to stay."

    We being humanity in its totality, always want to go but never want to stay is in reference of humanity never being satisfied with everything that it seeks because essentially going and staying are the same thing, seeking and not you have the same thing, he is trying to say we all chase our tails throughout life.

    "And we are the ones that want to choose,
    always wanna play, but you never wanna lose."

    "want to choose" meaning we want to but dont have that option, we want to "play" life but we dont want to pay the price of consequence of not getting what we want, we are trapped by our own desires.

    "Aerials, in the sky.
    When you lose small mind you free your life"

    Aerials = anything pertaining to the sky, it is also a word used to differentiate between the real and ethereal, he is trying to say that reality is "in the sky" and out of our reach, and when you lose "small mind" which is your short narrow perspective on what things really are, you free your life from that game you want to play.

    "Life is a waterfall,
    we drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls."

    Life is a waterfall, we are drinking from life, taking from life, but when its our time to give back, to recompense, we dont want to, we try to defend ourselves, which is pointless.

    "Swimming through the void, we hear the words,
    we lose ourselves, but we find it all."


    '"Cause we are the ones that want to play,
    always want to go, but you never want to stay.
    And we are the ones that wanna choose,
    always wanna play, but you never wanna lose, oooohhh." explained

    "Aerials in the sky,
    when you lose small mind you free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    when you free your eyes, eternal prize."

    Freeing your eyes means something was binding them, in other words that you were blind, if you were to realize how fake the world was, and what a silly ping pong game it is that we really play with each other, and you were to realize it, you would have little other conclusion than to be lonely, forever. IE "eternal prize"

    Aerials in the sky,
    when you lose small mind you free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    when you free your eyes, eternal prize.

    Aaahh, aaaahh, aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.
    Aaahh, aaaahh, aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.

    you may think im wrong about it, but it makes perfect sense as a song not only denouncing the stupidity of our social environments, but the fact that we crucify anyone that would get in the way of that very lifestyle that plagues us.

    Its a song about irony, and the "Aerials in the sky" are "so up high" meaning that reality is completely out of reach.

  • Brad from Pittsburgh, PaDid anybody notice that their albums are like "The Wall"? The songs just run into eachother and this is like 2 songs in one. The end always gives me the creeps.
  • Alex from Philly, Pathis song is about being on shrooms
  • Nick from Erwin, NcHip-Hop artist Canibus referenced this song in his song "Cenior Studies" from his 2002 album "Mic Club: The Curriculum".

    He said "The System of a Down song number 14 / I see Aerials in the sky when I dream".
  • Alex from Philly, PaOk, this is completely different from what anyone has said but i think this song is about taking shrooms. It makes perfect sense and anyone who has taken shrooms would know what i'm talking about. "Life is a waterfall,
    we're one in the river, one again after the fall.
    Swimming through the void, we hear the words,
    we lose ourselves, but we find it all."
    I think the river is reffering to the time that you are on shrooms. You are yourself before you take them and after they wear off but you are completely out of it while you are on them. "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play,
    always want to go, but you never want to stay."
    This is talking about how on shrooms one can't stay still and is always in search of something to do. "Aerials, in the sky.
    When you lose small mind you free your life."
    The aerials in the sky are refering to the crazy visuals you get while under the effect of shrooms. Things become wavy and look disproportioned and unusual. "Aerials in the sky,
    when you lose small mind you free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    when you free your eyes, eternal prize."
    Ok, for this line it is very complicated to explain. Shrooms have a very enlightening effect on people. Once again, anyone who has taken them would understand. You feel like you have a greater understanding of life while you are on them. When I was on them I really thought i figured out the meaning of life. That is what those lines are about. Once again, this is completely different from what anyone else has said but this is how I interpret the song.

  • Ryan from Englewood, OhI swear, some people are so blinded by their "faith" that they could interpret nazi death chants as the "word of god". Why would a quartet of armenians, three of which were born out of country, who show no signs of practicing christianity, be puting subliminal christian messages in their lyrics? Is it not more conceivable that one of the band's offered interpretations (that it's about the blissful viewing of life through the eyes of a retarded child or simply meaningless) is the correct god d@mn interpretation of their OWN LYRICS? I guess some people think the aim of the band is to mislead their fans, but those of us with remaining sanity already know why System wrote those lyrics. Jesus christ...
  • Brendan from Chicago, IlI think this song has so much meaning that System Of A Down put into it. But then again, I also think that they want you to make your own meaning of it. That is one of the most amazing and beautiful things about music, you can think what you want and you can express yourself truely. I think that if anyone listens to this song, and reads the lyrics to it, then they will find a meaning of their own to this song. I personally think that it has to do with religious ideas, and how people dont truely appreciate what they have, and when they lose it all, they find out what they truely need to be happy. I read that some said that in a concert they said it didn't mean anything. I think they said that so you can make your own meaning of it. All I want to say is that I love System Of A Down and i think that this song can relate to so many ideas in life. Please, read the lyrics if you havent, and understand your own meaning of this song.If you think that it means nothing, then you truely dont appreciate music.
  • Amanda from Mineral Ridge, OhYou could be right, Chris Owens.. It could have a lot of meanings
  • L from Springdale, ArThis song ties in with the rest of SOAD message of spirit moves through all things. Its faith its faith
    SOAD are begging people to lose small mind and free there lives and look at things thru spiritual eyes and not the western scientific eyes of atheism. They are begging the west to open up there spiritual eyes and seek there innervision.
  • Hillary from L.a, Ca i think people who don't S.O.A.D. just can't handle the truth about our society and government.
  • Chris from Tampa Bay, FlI love this song and i think System Of A Down is the best band ever! They RULE!!
  • Mark from Here And There, Ncnotice in they say "you lose yourself, but you find it all" which could have been meant like you lose it all and find yourself. in poverty you do a lot of self evaluation... not that they are poor, they are LOADED
  • Chris Owens from Belfast, Irelandi hope no one takes offence what i say so here it goes.
    in my own opinion i think that it is a religious beleif saying that people should have more faith in god.(Life is a waterfall, We're one in the river, And one again after the fall)meaning that life is so precious and so fast and quick its like a waterfall. river meaning 'river of blood'jesus' blood being turned to wine. we are then one again when we die and go to heaven.
    (Swimming through the void We hear the word,...) we are swimming in this void coz we are waiting for the lord to come and show us the way and the light, we here the bible (the WORD) being preached in churches and people are losing themselves and their minds and wondering "is god real".
    (Cause we are the ones that want to play, Always want to go, But you never want to stay,...)meaning that people are following god but then not bettering their lifestyles. going to church and listening to the bible, but when they leave they are just the same person and being miserable not being happy with what they got. people are saying that they follow god but never better themselves.
    (Aerials, in the sky, When you lose small mind, You free your life.) aerial is probably angels or god, when people question God, God will free life on them.
    (We drink from the river, Then we turn around and put up our walls.)meaning that people go to church, drink the wine and eat the bread, think that they have done good by attending church,but then they go home and they dont use what they have heard that day in church in their everyday life and are doing all sorts of crazy s***.

    i dont really know but thats my interpretation of the song.but i also agree with ryan, worcester, MA. his was a good interptattion of this song. read it its good!

    chris 18, belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND
  • Gabriel Maclean from Toronto, CanadaWoah- Ryan hit it rite on the spot, but I don't feel like typing as much as he did, read his, its exactly right.
  • Rynn from Rogers, Ar First of all i love System of a Down and i think they rock my spotted sox! And second of all everyone who disses them are just jealous and you're all posers! Get used to it! Froot Loops
  • Amanda from Mineral Ridge, OhOn some websites i read some of the stuff serj was talkin about and he said "basically its about a kid in a wheelchair who wants to be an acrobat" or somethin of that sort,i dunno and like that one dude said i also heard its about nothing.
  • Tony Tocci from Muskogee, OhI don't understand how you can feel that this song is about a retarded kid. "Life is a waterfall, we're one in the river,and one again after the fall. Swimming through the void we hear the word, we lost ourselves, but we find it all?" How is that talking about a retarded person? I think it is clearly talking about either Jesus coming in and taking control of our lives so we can get to heaven. I also see some relativity to it with 9/11, but that is only a possibility. thanks and peace -(Tony}
  • Robert from Nogales, AzI read on an interview with the bassist Shavo that this song was alternatively about an aerial attack of some sort, one which preceded the cds release. " We do not claim to be prophets of any sort " said shavo. This song was originally intended as another meaning previously described, about children, but as you can see this song does relate to 9/11. Using the lyrics tim posted below, it explains that america takes things for granted. We reap the bounties, then offend the land by keeping others away ( "..Then we turn around and put up our walls " ) Also it says aerials in the sky, indicating the plane crash, and " When you lose small mind you free your life " meaning so many people panicked and so many died. As Shavo said, this has an alternate meaning, but can describe 9/11. And to those who say SOAD's lyrics mean nothing, they are actually an enigma. Take some time to actually listen, you might figure it out.
  • Nina from Townsville, OhAbout the Armenian thing, that makes a lot of sense since according to Tankian the band is about getting the government to recognize the Armenian Genocide as a Turkish hate crime. Tankian's grandmother was killed in the Genocide according to an MTV interview with SOAD.
  • Ray from Dracut, MaThe lyrics have religious significance but more interesting is the imagery in the video. It is absolutely clear they are tossing Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land at us. An alien is recieved as a savior yet he eventually becomes corrupted by hedonism. In the end he wishes for a simpler time.
  • Nick from Denver, CoI am not an oasis fan, but Gallagher's comments on SOAD are hysterical. Though they may be the worst band ever, this song is good!
  • Amanda from Mineral Ridge, OhI love this song...The lyrics are so cool and system of a down rocks. o and i absolutely agree with nuclearwolf. this song has so much meaning to it but like nuclearwolf said ya gotta read and understand the lyrics first
  • James from Wellington, New Zealand"Once again this song is about nothing" they said that at a concert I saw them at.
  • Scott Baldwin from Edmonton, CanadaI think everyone has good points but you,psychoman364.System Of A Down does not write meaningless lyrics.
  • Josh from El Paso, TxI love this song. We loved playing this song at shows. It got everyon going. The feeling of the song is just amazing. System of a Down rocks!!!
  • Scott Baddwin from Edmonton, Englandyeh,april,that picture was funny!
  • Kory from Pittsburgh, PaI think it has some religous meaning to it because it states "Swimming through the void we hear the Word, we lose ourselves, but we find it all." In the Bible(the Word) it tells us to let Jesus come in and take control of our lives in oreder to gain entry to heaven (we lose ourselves but we find it all)
  • Jaclyn from Montebello, CaI think this song is about aliens and freeing our minds to believe in them. Once we open up our minds and let them in we will be rewarded. If you really pay attention to the lyrics i'm sure you will agree.
  • Scott Baddwin from Edmonton, Englandi like the jungle thing at the end with the chant and the flutes and the monkey screech make it sound as if the cd gone wrong.
  • Ryan from Birmingham, Alyes, they screamed saying it means "NOTHING" during the concert. Thats because they want it to mean whatever you think it does. They could say whatever they want about the meaning of the song, and we could all blindly agree with it. Although I do believe it hints towards the perspective from retarded children "And we are the ones that want to chose, Always want to play, But you never want to lose" But there are many other things in this song. Let it mean to you whatever you want it to, thats the beauty of music.
  • Tim from Des Moines, Kshow is it about nothing......look at it

    "Life is a waterfall,
    We're one in the river,
    And one again after the fall.

    Swimming through the void
    We hear the word,
    We lost ourselves,
    But we find it all?

    Cause we are the ones that want to play,
    Always want to go,
    But you never want to stay,

    And we are the ones that want to chose,
    Always want to play,
    But you never want to lose.

    Aerials, in the sky,
    When you lose small mind,
    You free your life.

    Life is a waterfall,
    We drink from the river,
    Then we turn around and put up our walls.

    Swimming through the void
    We hear the word,
    We lost ourselves,
    But we find it all?

    Cause we are the ones that want to play,
    Always want to go,
    But you never want to stay,

    And we are the ones that want to chose,
    Always want to play,
    But you never want to lose.

    Aerials, in the sky,
    When you lose small mind,
    You free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    When you free your eyes,
    Eternal prize.
    Aerials, in the sky,
    When you lose small mind,
    You free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    When you free your eyes,
    Eternal prize. "

    you gotta read and understand these lyrics
  • April from Houston, Txsuch a beautiful song.... I luv the lyrics. Did yall see the picture where the band dressed up as Bush and Hussein?
  • Pschoman364 from Nyc, Nythis song is about nothing. they say so twice when playing this song live.
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