Arials by System of a Down Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Sublime Ascent to Transcendence


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for System of a Down's Arials at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

Life is a waterfall

We’re one in the river and one again after the fall

Swimming through the void we hear the word

We lose ourselves but we find it all

‘Cause we are the ones that wanna play

Always want to go but you never wanna stay

We are the ones that wanna choose

Always want to play but you never wanna lose

Aerials in the sky

When you lose small mind, you free your life

Life is a waterfall

We drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls

Swimming through the void, we hear the word

We lose ourselves but we find it all

‘Cause we are the ones that wanna play

Always want to go but you never wanna stay

We are the ones that wanna choose

Always want to play but you never wanna lose, oh

Aerials in the sky

When you lose small mind, you free your life

Aerials, so up high

When you free your eyes, eternal prize

Aerials in the sky

When you lose small mind, you free your life

Aerials, so up high

When you free your eyes, eternal prize

Oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh

Full Lyrics

Among the pantheon of rock bands that have left a permanent stamp on the music world, System of a Down stands out with a legacy of thought-provoking and fiercely original songs. ‘Arials’ from their critically acclaimed album ‘Toxicity’ continues to captivate listeners with its enigmatic yet profound lyrics and haunting melodies.

At first glance, ‘Arials’ could be misinterpreted as abstract ramblings set against a backdrop of aggressive instrumentals. However, a deeper dive reveals layer upon layer of metaphysical exploration, societal critique, and a quest for personal freedom. Let’s explore the multiple dimensions that this song intricately weaves together.

Cascade of Consciousness – The Waterfall as a Metaphor

From the song’s outset with ‘Life is a waterfall’, we are plunged into a powerful metaphor for existence. Waterfalls are not only a force of nature but also represent the cycle of life—constant and ever-flowing. The river symbolizes life’s collective journey, and ‘after the fall’ suggests rebirth and the continual process of change that defines human experience.

The duality explored in these lines—being part of the river (one with the masses) and then ‘one again’ (individual rebirth)—captures the perennial human struggle between conformity and individuality. System of a Down’s use of flowing water speaks to an innate desire for freedom amidst the constraints of societal structures.

Losing Small Minds, Liberating Lives – The Song’s Hidden Meaning

‘Aerials in the sky, When you lose small mind, you free your life,’ these lines strike at the core of the song’s hidden meaning. Here ‘small mind’ alludes to a limited perspective—a life constrained by petty concerns and surface-level aspirations. Freeing one’s life represents the emancipation from these trivialities, an ascent to a higher state of consciousness.

This liberation is likened to ‘Aerials’—perhaps referencing both the physical act of soaring above the earth and the ability to broadcast over frequencies. System of a Down seems to be equating this mental uprising to an aerial, able to navigate the ether of human consciousness and resonate on a universal frequency.

Meditations on Choice and Play – The Cyclical Struggle

With repetition of ‘We are the ones that wanna play’, the band delves into the cyclical nature of human desires. The concept of choice, play, and reluctance to endure the consequences (‘never wanna lose’) posits a central human contradiction—the desire for freedom and experience against the dread of its attendant risks.

This recurring theme adds a layer of complexity to the supposed carefree nature of ‘playing’. Playing, in this context, isn’t merely entertainment. It’s a far deeper engagement with life itself, one fraught with decisions and their inescapable aftermath.

Constructs of Confinement – The Walls We Build

The lyrics, ‘We drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls,’ serve as a stark analogy for self-imposed limitations. The act of drinking from the river signifies partaking in life’s experiences. Yet, the instinct to ‘put up our walls’ reflects a fear-based response to the vulnerability that such openness entails.

System of a Down is spotlighting the irony of human behavior: our tendency to seek safety and assurance in barriers, simultaneously restricting the freedom we inherently yearn for. This poignant observation underpins much of ‘Arials” existential quandary—foregoing the comfort of boundaries for the release of personal liberation.

The Eternal Prize – A Glimpse into the Infinite

The culminating lines, ‘When you free your eyes, eternal prize,’ are perhaps the most mystically charged. To ‘free your eyes’ implies a deliberation from illusion, to see beyond the mundane. And what is the eternal prize? It hints at enlightenment, a state of being where one transcends the temporal to tap into the timeless.

This notion closes the circle of meaning in ‘Arials,’ pointing us towards the sublime—the ultimate goal of human experience. Here lies the great allure of the song: a universal call to break away from the confines of ego and convention to explore the boundless potential of existence.

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