1998Released
2:33

Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about Sugar. By Songfacts®.

This "Sugar" is anything but sweet. It's a manic track with a largely inscrutable lyric; lead singer Serj Tankian, who wrote the words, was influenced by writers like Charles Bukowski, who would favor the unconventional. We hear about "kombucha mushroom people," and get these startling lines: I play Russian roulette everyday, a man's sport, With a bullet called life One of many interpretations: It could be about a person dealing with the disease AIDS. It also might be about drugs.

"Sugar" was System Of A Down's first single. Formed in 1995, they built an ardent following in Los Angeles but had trouble convincing a record company to take a chance on a politically charged Armenian metal band. By 1997, they were too big to ignore, and offers came in. They went with American Recordings, Rick Rubin's label. Rubin produced the band, letting them be their oddball selves. Even he thought they would be a niche artist, but the band became one of the biggest in America from 1999-2005, when they released their last album, Hypnotize.

The video, directed by Nathan "Karma" Cox, starts with a vignette of a newscaster going off script, warning viewers that he is feeding them falsehoods. "Nobody is opening their eyes," he screams. "Our global economy is depleting the world of our lives and natural resources." The band is then seen performing the song in front of an American flag that is sometimes overlayed with flames. For many, this was their first look at the band, which appears unhinged, frantic, and determined. With shots of riot police, interrogations, guns, and strippers, it previews many of the themes the band would hit on many of their songs and makes it clear they have something important to say.

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Song Analysis

Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of Sugar.
C♯Key
MajorMode
4/4Time Signature
131BPM

Album

The album Sugar is released on.

Released By

The record label that has released Sugar.
American/Columbia
(P) 1998 Sony Music Entertainment. With American Recordings, LLC./(P) 1999 Sony Music Entertainment. With American Recordings, LLC.

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