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Steal This Album!
StealThisAlbum
Studio album by System of a Down
Released November 26, 2002
Recorded 2002
Genre Alternative metal
Length 43:31
Label American/Columbia
Producer Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian
Professional reviews
  • Allmusic 4/5 link
  • Blender 2/5 link
  • Rolling Stone 3/5 link
  • Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 link
System of a Down chronology
Toxicity
(2001)
Steal This Album!
(2002)
Mezmerize
(2005)
Singles from Steal This Album!
  1. "Innervision"
    Released: October 2002

Steal This Album! is the third studio album by System of a Down, released on November 26, 2002, on American Recordings. Produced by Rick Rubin and Daron Malakian, and reached #15 in the Billboard Top 200.

Both Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan have called Steal This Album! their favorite System of a Down release.

Album informationEdit

This album was released shortly after a collection of medium-quality MP3s found their way onto the Internet under the unofficial name Toxicity II, a year after the release of the group's multi-platinum record, Toxicity. The band issued a statement expressing their disappointment that their fans were hearing unfinished material, and released the finished versions of the leaked material. Most, but not all tracks from the original leak (e.g. "Cherry") made it onto Steal This Album!, and three new tracks such as "Roulette" were also added. Many song titles, lyrics, and melodies were changed, making the new album significantly different from the unfinished product.

Though often reported in the media as being a collection of B-sides and outtakes, the band insists that the Steal This Album! material is of the same quality as the tracks which made it onto Toxicity. Vocalist Serj Tankian has said that the songs were left out of Toxicity "because they didn't fit the overall continuity of the album"[1].

The album title is a reference to Abbie Hoffman's book Steal This Book, which is regarded by many as a classic example of counterculture literature. A similar title ("Steal This Movie!") was used for a movie about Hoffman's life. A year prior to this album however, The Suicide Machines had already released an album titled Steal This Record. The Coup had also released a Steal This Album in 1998. An alternate version of "Streamline" was used in The Scorpion King soundtrack, which was released in early 2002, and as a B-Side on some copies of the Aerials single.

The packaging for this album is quite unique. The album comes in a normal CD jewel case without a booklet, only the CD. On the CD and the back of the case, it looks like it has been written on with a black permanent marker pen, in faux-bootleg style to make it look like it has been pirated.

Alternative coversEdit

In the United Kingdom, United States and Australia releases of Steal This Album!, for a limited time four alternative versions of the disc artwork were available. Each were supposedly designed by a member of the band. One featured an entirely blue background with text swirling into the center. One was a drawing of crude stylized flames, accompanied by text. The third was black and gray, depicting a skull with writing in the mouth. The fourth, and perhaps most controversial featured two 'V' shapes, crossing over in the center to create a diamond. One 'V' was entirely blue, and the other red and white striped. These versions are considered very rare.

In Europe a one sided front insert has also been seen. It is all white with the album title in black, similar to the original CD cover.

ReceptionEdit

  • CMJ (12/16/02, p.23) - "Both arty aggro and perverted political punk."
  • Entertainment Weekly (11/29/02, p.105) - "Steal This Album stands head-and-tattooed shoulders above its competition in the hard-rock genre."
  • Rolling Stone (12/12/02, p.93) - "An absurdist blast of political rage, silly theater and shattered math metal."
  • Spin (2/03, p.96) - 8 out of 10 - "The way these simple songs blur together works in the album's favor: Just when you think you've got a foothold, the ground disappears under your feet."

Track listingEdit

# TitleLyricsMusic Length
1. "Chic 'n' Stu"  Serj Tankian, Daron MalakianMalakian 2:23
2. "Innervision"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Tankian 2:33
3. "Bubbles"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 1:56
4. "Boom!"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian, Shavo Odadjian 2:14
5. "Nüguns"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:30
6. "A.D.D. (American Dream Denial)"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:17
7. "Mr. Jack"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 4:09
8. "I-E-A-I-A-I-O"  TankianTankian, Malakian, Odadjian, John Dolmayan 3:08
9. "36"  TankianTankian 0:46
10. "Pictures"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:06
11. "Highway Song"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:13
12. "Fuck the System"  Malakian, TankianMalakian, Tankian 2:12
13. "Ego Brain"  Malakian, TankianMalakian, Tankian 3:21
14. "Thetawaves"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 2:36
15. "Roulette"  Malakian, TankianMalakian, Tankian 3:21
16. "Streamline"  Tankian, MalakianMalakian 3:37

It appears that Streamline and Roulette have often been credited as each other in various cases.

PersonnelEdit

System of a Down is:

Charting performanceEdit

Year Single Chart Position
2003 "Innervision" Mainstream Rock Tracks 14
Modern Rock Tracks 12

Alternate coversEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit


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