Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Mezmerize Music Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Political, explicit, and absurdist.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 39 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Depends on your politics and sense of humor.


Violent imagery in a socio-political context.


Many sexual references, including frank mention of STDs.


Gleefully off-color.



Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several references to drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this CD contains four-letter words and violent imagery, sometimes in the context of socio-political commentary and sometimes not.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byidk lol August 11, 2011

Daron Malakian, I hate you!!!

First of all, this album is okay. Daron took on as a lead vocalist, and he is terrible. I recommend not buying this, because Malakian made it crap. It was bette... Continue reading
Adult Written bykale d. May 24, 2018
Teen, 16 years old Written byA Dandelion October 14, 2010

A stunning masterpiece of metal that happens to be innropriate for most tweens and some teens.

This album has every curse in the book, sexual references galore, violence. It's also absurdly well-written, with lyrics that are nothing short of visionar... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byrallos April 5, 2012

NOT 17+

Honestly in the entire album, there are only 7 different lines with swear words (although some are repeated) and they are: "Where the f**k are you?",... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the socio-political commentary and have an honest discussion about the explicit topics and words. Also, which of the songs could be described as absurd and why?

Music details

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