A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
MEZMERIZE, the fourth album of System of a Down, is generously laced with four-letter-words, explicit sexuality, violent imagery, radical political commentary, drug and STD references -- all presented in the context of absurdist poetry and excellent (some might even say visionary) instrumental arrangements. Compared with the band's previous CDs, the songs are more overtly political and less surreal, although they still qualify for their absurdist credentials with lyrics like "There's something wrong with me, I hope your stepson doesn't eat the fish" (on "This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song"). But most of the lyrics are edgy, overt, and sarcastic, with in-your-face slams at the U.S. government and the Hollywood celebrity machine.
Is it any good?
Musically, Mezmerize is, well, mesmerizing. The band explores influences as diverse as the Beach Boys, Eastern European waltzes, Greek wedding music, Latin-sounding melodies, hip-hop beats, and primal pounding. You won't find much music that's more diverse or interesting on record-store shelves these days, and if you're going to break down and let the kids get one explicit CD (the edited version really isn't worth the trouble), this might be the one to consider.