What does Aerials mean?

System of a Down: Aerials Meaning

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Album cover for Aerials album cover

Song Released: 2002

Aerials 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 want to play,
Always want to go,
But you never...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 17th 2006 !⃝

    the band almost always says their songs are meaningless or about some random thing that doesn't seem to have great purpose, but if you also take a look at one of their goals, which is to help people to think for themselves, then you have to look past even their own words to find any meaning that they would have tried to plant there for us.
    a lot of their songs seemed to be based off of how they feel about things.
    when they say

    Life is a waterfall
    We're one in the river
    and one again after the fall

    The lyrics rush you with several meanings at once.
    Life is a waterfall, what do we notice about waterfalls?
    They fall downwards, so life brings us down. Isn't it true? The actual reality of the things that go on in the world, murders, rapes, death, it can really bring you down if you acknowledge them. Another thing about a waterfall is that it never exists on its own, it always has a source, like a river or a stream. So if a waterfall is the acknowledgement of the terrible things in the world and letting it bring you down, what could the river be? The time before you realize what goes on in the world, often times this is your childhood. So when we're one in the river, and we're one again after the fall, it shows we are ourselves before and after the reality if life hits us and brings us down. Is that true for everyone? No, but think about it. When we were living as children with not a worry in the world, we were ourselves. Then once we began figuring out how the world worked and what happens in the world, we probably had a time of inner conflict where we had to figure things out, and after we figured/figure it out can adjust to it and find ourselves again.

    Swimming through the void
    we hear the words
    we lose ourselves
    but we find it all?

    I'm going to skip to the second line to help you understand the first later.
    We hear the words, we lose ourselves but we find it all. Well when we hear the words, we are being told or educated something. Following up on the previous meaning, we are probably finding out about the reality of life. After we find out about life, we lose ourselves but we find it all, which means we are given the full picture of what's going on, so we find out about everything (or do we? that's why there's a question mark there). So this part is describing the actual fall of life.
    So what is the void?
    Since we are still swimming through the river of life, the void is the place right "before" the fall. It is the image of life and what we believe to be true that we are living out before we actually know, and then we "hear the words" (are educated about what really goes on in the world) and then the "fall" takes place while we deal with what we have found out.

    Cause we are the ones that want to play
    always want to go
    But you never want to stay

    and we are the ones that want to choose
    always want to play
    but you never want to lose.

    this describes our nature during our time in the Void or before the actual fall takes place. These descriptions of who we are is what makes the fall so devastating to us.
    Cause we are the ones that want to play:
    we don't want to have to take things seriously, we want to just have fun and be kids, without responsibility, and living in happy ignorance.
    When reality hits us, we can no longer "play" we have to "work" and "survive".
    Always want to go, but you never want to stay.
    Humans in general are never really satisfied, we always strive for more and we always want.
    we always want to go out and try to gain what we want, but we never stay satisified with it.
    When reality hits us, we can't always get what we want and sometimes we do have to try and stay with what we have.
    and we are the ones that want to choose
    Humans want to be in control generally, and we want to choose for ourselves and sometimes others. When reality hits us, we don't always have this kind of control and we don't always get to choose what we get or what happens to us.
    we always want to play but we never want to lose
    this is a given, who wants to lose at anything? but when reality hits us, what happens? we find out that sometimes we have to lose, we can't win everything.

    So those lines described us in the void.

    Aerials in the sky
    When you lose small mind
    You free your life.

    Aerials are just things in the sky. Basically this part is saying, think big, don't think with a "small mind", think about the big picture, and it will free your life.

    Life is a waterfall
    we drink from the river
    then we turn around and put up our walls

    life is a waterfall just shows us that we are speaking of the river AFTER the fall at this point. We drink from the river, then we turn around and put up our walls. So we experience life now knowing what it is like since we are after the falls and we have experienced life, so instead of accepting it, we turn around and put up our walls. For those of you that don't know, walls in psychological terms is rejecting or blocking something out to protect yourself. In this case we are protecting ourselves against life, after tasting what it's like after gaining an understanding of it, so this stanza or whatever its called just shows us what we think of life knowing what it is now. This is probably before we are ourselves again, what we are like before we adapt to life's reality and become ourselves again.

    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.

    This is just saying the same thing as before, think big rather than thinking with a small mind. Think of the big picture. Think as big and tall as the aerials in the sky. Adapt to life knowing what it is, now that you have gained the new understanding

    thanks for reading
    -ryan (look past the obvious to the truth)


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Oct 28th 2005 !⃝

    This song is about how people can lose their identities and become just like everyone else.
    "Life is a waterfall, we're one in the river, one again after the fall." - We all start off the same and we all end up the same.
    "Swimming through the void, we hear the words, we lose ourselves, but we find it all." - As we go through life we are told lessons, but we ignore them. We forget who we really are in the mix of seeking the synthetic lifestyle, and that's the price to lose who we really are.
    "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play, always want to go, but you never want to stay." - We always want to be part of the scene. We strive for what we want and when we get it, it still does not satisfy.
    "And we are the ones that want to choose, always wanna play, but you never wanna lose." - We want and want. We do whatever we can but if trouble is ever near we do whatever we can to maintain innocence.
    "When you lose small mind you free your life." - When we stop to see the full picture is when we really have control of our lives.
    "Life is a waterfall, we drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls." - We take and take and in the end we give nothing. This shows how greedy, oblivious and inconsiderate people can be.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Apr 23rd 2016 !⃝

    This is obvious.

    Their music is all about self realization and going beyond materialism - you're not a material object, you're a spiritual one. This is the common theme in all of their music. The physical

    reality does not matter. The "Aerials" refer to the antennas that transmit the waves (radio, television) that blind your reality. Now we break it down.

    "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...."
    This refers to life itself, we are all one, swimming through the void of not knowing what is true in the subjective world. We either here the word of spirituality (word of god, buddha,

    meditation, wherever you find your peace) but you lose yourself, you are ripped from it by the corporate consumer message. You lose your spirituality being consumed by materialism.

    "Aerials in the sky, when you lose small mind you free your life."
    Free yourself of the corporate consumerism message (the small mind), you will free your life.

    "Aerials so up high, when you free your eyes eternal prize."
    When you free your eyes of the fixation of materialism (television, other media) and having things, you receive the eternal prize of peace - you can be happy with nothing. You realize that your life is but a dream.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 29th 2022 !⃝

    aerials comes from a medieval religious poem, they are living beings in the sky.

    Obviously the song talks about how the human being uses his free will acting according to his wishes but not wanting to face the consequences... the boy in the video could be a scene from the world at the arrival of the antichrist prophesied in the bible, the one who opposes to God and exercises a world government.
    Or it could be a fallen angel representing the low desires of humanity.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 21st 2021 !⃝

    Jenk is Armenian, an orthodox country. look up aerial toll houses and you will get a totally different interpretation.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 18th 2020 !⃝

    I got this idea from the music video, not just the lyrics themselves, so bear with me. I think it is about a deformed circus freak who wishes to be free like the aerials, but is not only trapped by his body and it's deformities, but also by his lack of knowledge of the world around him, as he has been a sideshow of the circus his whole life. The ringleader of the circus has been using him for his personal gain this whole time, "You drink from you river and you put up a wall." In the end all he wants to do is learn about the world outside of the circus, freeing his "small mind" and freeing his life. To fly free like the aerials.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 18th 2019 !⃝

    This song, as well as many of they’re songs are about, or come from the point of view of the fallen angels told of in the Bible, Quran, and ancient Sumarian texts. The fallen Angels have been depicted in many different ways through human history as Gods such as in Greek mythology, pagan religions, and The many Gods of Hinduism. They are also depicted as Aliens in many cultures. Which they literally are, alien to this world. If one of them appeared to you today, you wouldn’t be able to discern weather it was an Alien or an Angel. The waterfall signifies the fall of the angels when they chose to transgress and mate with women. It can also refer to Satan and his fallen angels as well. I’n some of the biblical text it says that Satan and his followers were originally cast out into a dark VOID until The most High God came and spoke the Earth into existence in that same VOID space through the WORD. Earth was originally created for man, and Adam had dominion over its entirety including all of the creatures in it. But Satan tricked Adam and Eve into choosing knowledge over immortality by eating a psychedelic fruit from a genetically modified plant/tree that was created and planted by Satan. Satan had the knowledge and technology to do this, and all modern technology and warfare comes from Satan and the fallen angels. Cain was given technology by Satan after killing his brother and being shunned by The most High. Satan told him to build walls around his city, and then hoard all of the food and sell it to the people for a profit. Cain’s city had the first stores and market places. Hence the “we drink from the river, then we turn around and put up our walls” referring to Cain drinking of the river of knowledge and putting up walls around his city. The 2nd set of fallen angels consistsed of 200 angels led by the angel Azazel. They were sent to watch over man after the fall of Adam, and eventually became jealous of men because they could reproduce with women. So they made a pact and went down to mate with women which was a transgression against the Most High. It’s not clear weather they had sexual relations with women or genetically created offspring with technology the way we do today with test tube babies. But they thought that they would be able to return to heaven and that The Most High would forgive them. “You always want to come, but you never want to stay” “you always want to play but you never want to lose” since they were banished to earth, they and Satan began posing as the Most High as different dieties. “Areals, so up high” man began to worship these fallen angel dieties and were “blessed” by them with different technologies, making their most loyal servants rich and powerful over their people’s. I.e. Kings, queens, popes, etc. eventually the offspring of the fallen angels and women, called nephilum, began to take over the earth because they were giants with insatiable appetites. They would eat anything including humans. Cain gave all of his daughters to mate with the angels so that his bloodline would be “mightier” than any other people. Eventually The most High decided to flood the earth because it was filled with these half breed humans as well as all sorts of genetically modified plants and animals. He chose Noah because Noah and his sons were genetically pure and not tainted with angel blood. Noah gave the opportunity to other pure blood people to repent but it was a time of great technology even more advanced than we have today, and people were morally corrupt because of it. So that’s what this song is really about. Most of System of a Down songs are biblical in nature

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 7th 2015 !⃝

    Great comments, enjoyed it, Here is my 2 cents:

    I think it is very direct and clear: A morality discussion.

    The title (Aerials) is a reference to water specks (people) floating in the air, departing from peaceful river (birth) and before rejoining the river (death and peace).

    Waterfall is the life itself, with us sprayed into air ("swimming through the void") doing pathetic, self-unaware deeds(killings, wars and betrayals...), not knowing where we came from and where we are headed reacting to the moment. Ignorant to the "Oneness" of humanity before and after our short lives. Not comprehending that the game of life can not be cheated(...Always want to play, Never want to loose...).

    Brilliant piece of writing, not religious per say but similar to the idea of "From ashes to ashes, dust to dust" plus a few eastern "Sufism" ideas which were papular in ancient Armenia. All in all it is a spiritual morality reminder, One of the Systems, best.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 16th 2014 !⃝

    Maybe the band wants you to work out the meaning for yourself. Which will be different from one person to the other. Alot of bands do this.

    Personally I think it's about taking drugs for a big night out. You want to play and feel aerials in the sky whilst doing so. But then you come down and don't want to stay. Next weekend you want to play again, but never want to stay. Also people who have taken hard stuff know what the feeling is. It can feel like your visiting other dimensions, like being an alien. It's all glamorous, like the kid with the models in the video, but you always know something is weird and never normal.

    The band might be referring to this stuff, or they might not. Either way it's a great song and I love it!

  10. subjectdelta29
    click a star to vote
    Jan 17th 2014 !⃝

    Aerials being similar to many songs by System of A Down is speaking ill of the government and its fascist ways. It is telling a story of how the government is sending stealth planes to watch over us in our everyday lives, hence the word Aerials."Swimming through the void", that void is the government trying to turn us into angels in their little utopia by corrupting our brains with false info. This obviously isnt the first time the government has hypnotized us, After Pearl Harbor they used propaganda to make us believe that imprisoning the Japanese in the internment camps was the right thing to do. "We drink from the river" Which that river is the pool of lies the government feeds us."and we put up our walls" The walls are what they put around the truth that they sealed away."Aerials in the sky", The planes that are watching over us."When you free small mind" This is when we let go of what the government is telling us."Then you free your life", after freeing yourself from the lies then you see the world for what it truly is. "life is a waterfall" This is true because life is filled ups and downs but for some, the government causes their life to be a large fall like a waterfall."were one in the river and one again after the fall", we are trapped in the lies and they put us down but right after the fall we just fall again until you "free your life". This is just my opinion on the meaning.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 8th 2013 !⃝

    It could be about an idea or theory which expresses that all the creatures in this world & every single parts and sub-parts of existence are coming from a single & unique POINT and in the process of being and living the will eventually get back to the root they will be ONE again
    In a sentence “passing world of unity ,feeling and experiencing world of diversity, and finally believing pantheism “
    The ones who can see this path r called aerials cause they r watching from above and see whole the path clearly , they r clairvoyants
    The key of reaching to this point is to forget and lose our egoistic side of mind and soul and it will help you to free your life and your love to all , in return it would bring you eternal prize" i myself feel so far from this key pray for me"

    "Life is a waterfall,
    We're one in the river,
    And one again after the fall"
    COULD MEAN : passing world of unity ,feeling and experiencing world of diversity, and
    And one again after the fall. finally believing pantheism

    Life is a waterfall,
    We drink from the river
    Then we turn around and put up our walls
    COULD MEAN : we r coming from a same root but we persist on our separated and egoistic style of thinking and Living (WALL)

  12. anonymous
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    Oct 11th 2013 !⃝

    Watch the video. In the video they are first off playing on a different planet is what my interpretation is. Also on the next part when they're in the "tent" playing they have a TON of birdseye views of the floor
    Pay close attention to the floor. The writing on the floor is different symbols that do NOT look like something that you would see in any modernday or ancient civilization. Its "alien writing." Next we see the first actual scene of the video. We see the boy at first. Pay close attention to the face it looks to be an "alien's" face. Next we see that hes liftimg the front end of a car using telekenesis. So having all these facts about the video my ultimate interpretation of the song is that we were created by them. (Aliens). We need to stop being so close minded and realize there is something bigger than us. When u lose small mind you free your life. Close mindedness gets you nowhere stop only thinking your way is right maybe the bigger picture proves we're all wromg about god yet again maybe not. The more open minded you are the more freedom you have.

  13. MightyTHOTH
    click a star to vote
    Sep 28th 2013 !⃝

    Every Picture is worth infinite meanings. Every song is worth infinite meanings. The Band has their own meaning, possibly each band member acquires a different meaning. Anyways now that we know there are INFINITE meanings to ART (poetry, movies, songs, paintings, life, etc, all is art with infinite meanings).

    My meaning is that it is something spiritual:


    Life means all of human consciousness or even ALL living beings. We are one in consciousness as a river and one in consciousness after the FALL. The FALL is a mind devolution. We all fall together as a whole. (Technology on the rise) morality on the low.


    Swimming through the struggles and troubles of life, or maybe any darkness, we find the light, "hear the word." The word is not a literal word but the VIBRATION of God/Enlightenment. After we realize this, we become selfless, we lose our egos. And this is how we connect to Everything, "find it all". All means EVERYTHING. (The Milky Way is but a small fraction of that EVERYTHING.)


    We are the souls that want to join this life as we know it on earth, but when we see that which can turn us apathetic we don't want to stay.


    we are the souls that want to choose which world/dimension we want to "play" in.


    In this LIFE you don't want to lose. We want to succeed and be successful which is living our dream.


    Planets moving in harmony/order.


    A small mind focuses on materialism. When you let go of that obsession/desire you free yourself from its illusion of worth. Or perhaps it means frees you-the soul, reincarnating back into this suffering.


    Close your eyes and be free of them. See with your mind, fly with it. Out of Body Experience explore the Aerials in the sky, the possibilities are infinite.

  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 10th 2013 !⃝

    When it comes down to it the song means whatever you want it to mean.

    Personally this song's lyrics speak to me about the realities of life, including the after life and before life, if you will.

    Life is a waterfall.....

    These bars to me say that altough a waterfall seems like the drop is the conclusion, we are one in the river, and one again after the fall. Not one and one again in the sense of two different beings, but rather one intertwined entity, being, whatever you want to call it.

    Swimming through...

    Swimming (reference to previous lines-water) though the void- life we hear the word: there is something more than this physical reality. then once we discover this we lose ourselves, becoming confused, but in turn, we eventually find it all: the anwsers about this waterfall we are swimming through.

    Cause we are...

    The previous lines: "swimming through..find it all" occur because those who do this are the ones who want to play around with this world, the way a child plays, studying the object and understanding it. "Always want to go...stay" this is referring to that place you reach when you can see the bottom of the waterfall from the stream- you always want to get there but once you are there it's difficult to remain in that state while on this earth-in this reality.

    And we are...

    wanting to choose our fate. you want to "play"(once again) but you dont want to lose, or get a shit deal your not happy with


    "small mind" transcendental terminology. ego. believing in "I" when you lose this, when you see the bottom of the waterfall, you free your life

    Life is a waterfall..

    we drink" take a taste of this realization then we say wait a minute im not ready for this and create limitations in order to remain in your comfort zone, which is mostly fault of conditioning we are all victim to

    Skip the repeated bars-
    When you free your eyes eternal prize

    also referring to the "small mind" ideology.
    when you escape this, you achieve the eternal prize of contentment

    Unfortunately, this is just my take on the lyrics, and none of this is definite fact. Fortunately, it is if you want it to be.
    Hope i helped. if you have questions or just need to talk you can email me at dragonx13x@yahooDOTcom
    One love
    Sincerely, Nick

  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 27th 2013 !⃝

    IMHO this sounds like a recap of Carl Jungs theories haha.
    "Life is a waterfall, we're one in the river, one again after the fall" is referring to the collected unconscience. I'm too lazy to point out everything but basically what I take from the song is this: As you go through childhood you grow a massive ego as well as an equally massive shadow. Eventually you have to let go of your ego and face your shadow, break it down and assimilate it with your broken ego. Our entire lives are the waterfall you're never going to be 100% at peace IMO unless you're not born yet or dead. Not to say that the waterfall can't be peaceful at times ;)

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 18th 2012 !⃝

    People always think soad is anti religious when really I think there the opposite in a way. There not out there preaching but they are saying to think and do what you feel is right and this is one of there best songs because serj talks about how high up the universe is and we should be open minded about it. Hes saying there is some form of creator and thats when he says " we hear the word, we lose ourselves but we find it all" Meaning we let something free our minds and take over and this band is anti government so what there main point in this song is don't listen to the wrong things and let them take over your life, let your small mind die and stay open to things

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 22nd 2012 !⃝

    This song is about the universal consciousness as described in Buddhism. "We're one in the river" This is about pre-birth state when everything is ONE there are not separate identities.
    "Life is a waterfall" The life is the time between two equal states. Pre-birth and after-death. We may separate ourselves from others and become individual rain drops but we "and one again after the fall" become one after the fall.

    Also the "When you lose small mind,
    You free your life." talks about enlightenment and if you'll be able to attain enlightenment you'll see everything differently. If you manage to see that we are in fact on a waterfall with everyone around us it'll free your life from suffering. Don't want to go any further but the rest of the lyrics support that interpretation to my eyes!
    Become the man you are!

  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 22nd 2012 !⃝

    big day out 2002 live

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