You know that terrible habit teenage music fans have of getting really upset when one of their favourite underground acts finally gets their big break?
I had that exact habit when System of a Down came out with Toxicity, the critically acclaimed 2001 album that catapulted the band into the stratosphere.
When that happened, they became everybody’s band, and, in my eyes at least, ceased becoming the eccentric quartet I first heard going bat shit crazy on a bizarre little track called Sugar.
I know it’s dumb to be upset when your favourite band finally gets the success you have to believe they’d been dreaming of for the longest time.
I know that I should have been over the moon that a band I enjoyed had been recognised for being the talented group of musicians that they were, but here’s the thing:
I was 17 and didn’t know any better.
How Do I Feel, What Do I Say?
Besides, what I was really upset was not the fact that the band had become popular, but that said popularity now meant Sugar was no longer “mine” in a way it had been previously.
It had been one of the songs on those life-changing mixtapes that also featured Cowboys From Hell by Pantera, and I was immediately struck by just how off-the-scale crazy it was.
Given my limited frame of reference at the time, the closest thing I knew that was anywhere near like it was Loco by Coal Chamber, but even that didn’t really do just to the absolute insanity of this song.
This was all ballistic ranting and raving about some guy named ‘Sako’ and big, fat riffs that bounced off the walls as though in the throes of a violent fit in a padded room at the asylum.
I loved every second of that insanity, and actually owe System of a Down a lot for the way their own madness-fuelled lyrics inspired some of my creative writing from that time.
…In The End, It All Goes Away
The real reason that I’m including this one on my 52 Songs’ list however, all goes back to those mixtapes.
Whenever I hear Sugar today, I still think of those two tapes and the huge influence they had on my life, an influence which still looms large in my lifestyle, career, and musical tastes even now.
Sugar by System of a Down is the eighteenth song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison
- Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
- Iron Maiden – The Angel & The Gambler
- Metallica – Creeping Death
- Pantera – Cowboys From Hell