What does B.Y.O.B. mean?

System of a Down: B.Y.O.B. Meaning

Album cover for B.Y.O.B. album cover

Song Released: 2005

B.Y.O.B. Lyrics



Barbarians by Barbarans, with pointed heels
Victorious, victorious, kneel,
For brand new spanking deals,
Marching forward hypocritic
and hypnotic computers.
You depend on our protection
Yet you...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 7th 2007 !⃝

    The day-to-day used acronym B.Y.O.B. usually stands for “Bring Your Own Beer/Beef” . In this case it should be Bring Your Own Bombs.
    After the intro the song starts with the rhetorical shrieked question “Why do they always send the poor?” and at the end it is changed into the exclamation “They always send the poor!” which criticises the exorbitant high number of poor people mostly with a low level of education in the US army. As “B.Y.O.B.” is naturally used in the context of garden parties is this song directly addressed to George W. Bush who should fight this war on his own and not by soldiers. This impression is emphasised by “Why don’t presidents fight the war?” (which can also be seen as presidents should fight to stop war) and “Where the ---- are you?” so he should bring his own bombs to the “party” in the “desert”.
    The Bush-administration and a bigger part of the American population believe that other parts of the world (which includes the Iraq) are underdeveloped and a kind of “barbarian” but by behaving like this the Bush-administration is barbarian (“Barbarism by barbaras”). This line also refers to Barbara Walters, a famous news presenter, dressed “with pointed heels” who shows the bright side of war, an act of propaganda.
    The war itself has been won by the allies because they have the better and more modern equipment (“Victorious, victorious steel”) and the industry of arms is happy because they sell their weapons (“For brand new spankin’ deals” – can also interpreted that the young, poor soldiers make “good” deals by joining the army because now the state pays for their college fees, many poor people do that to have the chance to get an education, of course it’s a good working method of the army to get new recruits).
    “Marching forward hypocritic and hypnotic computers” hints again at the modern technology and its abuse (“hypnotic computers”), misuse as a concealment of facts and that people are manipulated by the media and the soldiers are “marching forward hypercritic” and shoot everything they see before thinking about it (friendly fire) or “marching forward hypocritic” (as the band writes it) which would implicate that this war is lead by hypocritical reasons.
    “You depend on our protection” is the first ironical sentence which criticises that the official reason for this war was to protect the Iraqi population and the world against Saddam Hussein but the real cause was oil. Along with this goes “Yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth” alluding to the faked satellite pictures and other “proves” that justified the war and the uneducated part of the population, who has to fight the war, believes this because they don’t know better.
    The chorus again is very ironical, exploding bombs look like a sunset which explains the phrase “blowing up the sunshine”. Again we can find the analogy of war and party “Everybody is going to the party have a real good time”. Furthermore this criticises the military ads to gain young soldiers in which war is presented more like having a good time and making a lot of friends. “Dancing in the dessert” is an anti-thesis. The way the chorus is sung with the happy “la la la” beforehand criticises the glorification of wars and that the American population does not get the cruel reports about soldiers in Iraq.
    “Kneeling roses disappearing” refers to the destruction of nature by wars. Furthermore is “roses” a synonym for soldier because they look like roses when their jackets are constricted by the belts. It also can be seen as Muslims kneeling on the ground and praying to God – as an effect of war they disappear because they get killed.
    They chose Moses because he led Israel out of Egypt – an alliteration to Bush who sees himself as God-like and the USA always supports Israel. His mouth is dry (“Moses’ dry mouth”) because in the dessert water and food is narrow. This can also hint at the American industry which is always thirsty and addicted to oil.
    Fort Knox is a symbol for money and the American economy, “breaking into Fort Knox” then stands for 9/11 which was an assault against America and the global economics and stole “their intentions” – mainly money.
    “Hangers sitting dripped in oil crying freedom” can be the Iraqi population screaming for help and to attract this they are “dripped in oil” which makes them pretty attractive for industrial nations because they desperately need oil for their economy. The impression arises that the Iraqi population did not want this kind of freedom the US wants to give them (being the supplier for oil and having a puppet government) as “freedom” is sung very ironical.
    “Handed to obsoletion” stands for the reason of this war because oil is an antiquated technology and thus criticises this war of economical reasons and to save the old technology based on oil.
    The bridge describes the beginning of the war, imagine Bush saying “Let’s got start this war” – “Blast off, it’s party time”. Then comes irony again, (“We’re not living in a fascist nation”) on one hand the US army is going to free the Iraq of a dictatorship and a fascist ideology but on the other they do not realize that the US itself is fascistic to a certain extend, racisms still exists in many minds - who can think of a black president?


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 16th 2005 !⃝

    Firstly, everyone here is taking the meanings way too literatly. System has always been about making you question the principles. In this case, 'why don't presidents fight the war?' is asking "why is there war at all?", which is answered later by the sarcasm "Blast off, its Party time,
    And we don't live in a fascist nation"- meaning Americans think they are liberating countries from fascism but don't understand that they ARE under fascist rule.

    'Why do they always send the poor?' is also answered by
    'You depend on our protection, Yet you feed us lies from the table cloth.' Meaning that the poor are usually uneducated and therefore won't question the morals on why they are fighting.

    I am not personally against Bush, and I agree with the decision to invade Iraq, but I am against the dodgy intentions and personal gains backing this. System Of A Down is against the war and the reasons for it and is trying to get people to realise the amount of control the media and government have on the way we percieve things. This is generally what both 'mezmerize' and 'hypnotize' are about.

    As for the (conservative)guy before me who commented, you're either upper class or an idiot. Your argument is flawed and biased, and your only factual evidence is some guy you know who fought in desert storm-i hope he likes filling bush's pockets(both bushes for that matter).Whos argument is a leaky diaper??
    I spose you've been to Iraq and seen these iraqis kissing portriats too? Bush got elected again because hicks, war junkies, rich and the idiots believing the world is better when its westernised voted for him. and which one of these do you fit under?
    Are you gonna call me a little brat too so you can reassure yourself of your morales?


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 30th 2005 !⃝

    This has to be the best one of them all. Sure it's really popular and "mainstream," but it's got great stuff to it, if you really analyze it. Let's try.

    "Why do we always send the poor?" let's face it: you never see rich, upscale white males in the military, right? But that's beside the point. America loves to publicize the wars its been in, propaganda, war bonds, etc., thus the "Barbarisms by Barbara" and the line thereafter. Barbara Walters is a well-known figure in news and shocking exploits, and she sure enough wears heels with great points on then, so that's obvious, right? all right, the military is a great thing to be in, because you get money to go to college, eh? That sure sounds like a "brand new spanking deal." We needed more people to join the Army to fight this war, so we publicize the spicy deal.

    Moving on, soldiers are drilled and trained enough to where they become "hypnotic computers." in addition to this, Bush (as well as the rest of the government, but I'm using his name so much to represend them as a hole because I don't like very many things he's done) needs the protection of the US Army, but they still lie to the troops and say it's all about Saddam and WMD's (mentioned at the end of my "Attack" synopsis). So, the Army (and other branches of the military as well) go to the "party" in Iraq to "have a good time," as the ads for the US Army (and other branches, respectively) preach. "dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine" is pretty much a given. The "kneeling roses" are less than effortlessly derived to be the Muslim population doing their thrice-daily prayers, "disappearing" into the crowds of the over-populated (ever seen a Muslim mass-prayer ceremony?), overly-religious desert setting in which they live. (referring to "Moses' dry mouth," even though they don't do the whole Moses thing, it's still religiously related, if only through the word "religious." it could also mean it's the land where Moses led the whoever to the wherever, I can't remember, as I have long since removed myself from the contricting throves of Christianity.)

    I'm only in the second verse, mind you. If you didn't know, Fort Knox is the location of the US gold reserves, a place the government would turn to so they may fund this forsaken war. The hangars spoken of are where planes and choppers from past wars reside, retaining that old American-favorite word "freedom." the rest of the song should be self-explanatory, so I expect you understand it as well as I did the this entire song.

  4. anonymous
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    Sep 9th 2013 !⃝

    This song is against Iraq war.

  5. anonymous
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    Dec 24th 2012 !⃝

    So here's a new one (Watch the music video) ... While they're singing the normal stuff, this is the lies we are fed, all the stuff what's nice, what we get. The rest is the truth about the lies and the price we pay. Peace out, wake up

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 6th 2012 !⃝

    I think it´s about the wars that desroy the poor and this song is about hate to rich people

  7. Bud7205
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    Jul 23rd 2012 !⃝

    The beginning is comparing easy lifestyles to that of war and violence. We are kept behind a curtain of sugar coated stories that are usually a fraction of the actual events taking place. The last line in the first paragraph talks about how our televisions during meal times, hence "tablecloth," broadcast lies to us keeping us from the pure truth that is out there.

    The chorus compares a party to war. This is where the song title plays a role. Usually BYOB means "Bring your own booze," but in this case it has an ironic meaning, "bring your own bombs." The party in the desert refers to the middle-east, a region known for it desert-like climate. The chorus is used to try to strike home how presidents make war for fun or rather for profit. War in the middle east is used for O.I.L. Oil, Israel, Logistic. This was an acronym used by Ray McGovern.

    The second set of verses has much deeper symbolism than most think. After doing some research, one of the arab symbolisms for a rose is the blood of Mohammed and his sons. Or in this case, the adherents of Islam. Therefore, kneeling roses dissappearing into Moses' dry mouth (area around modern day Israel) means dying arabs or blood of the arabs being spilled around the Middle East region. Fort Knox, in the second line, is a fort that houses a huge amount of gold. The Fort Knox of the Middle East could be its store of oil beneath the ground. Our intentions could mean our want to secure the oil reserves.

    After this, the song returns to the chorus before going to the bridge, where it calls this our country a fascist nation. Here, it is likely using the more modern, loose meaning of fascist that could almost be synonymous with bully. After this, it states: "Where the ⎯ are you?" This could mean two different things. The first would be asking why isn't the entire nation fighting the war. Why are only a select few fighting when the rest are at home tucked away in bed safe from the horrors. The other aspect of this could be asking the ones who started the war, why aren't they fighting. This leads directly into the next part. This is self explanatory. Why don't the leaders fight in the war? They did when the feudal ages were still around, and war has only become worst since then. Why are the average citizens sent to fight the war. Some of them even unclear as to what the exact reasons which they are fighting for is.

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 11th 2012 !⃝


    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Apr 30th 2012 !⃝

    The first and third lines of these lyrics are wrong. Here's the real lyrics: My God is of spitefull blood, with morbid eels.
    Victorious, victorious deal
    Can you stand and kneel?

    So there you go. Changes the meaning a little bit for you inept people.

  10. anonymous
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    Feb 26th 2012 !⃝

    System of a down discribe the situation in Iraq spot on . propaganda has been used to recruit soldiers for hundreds of years and still is today. Bush was only re elected because the violence and gun loving racist Americans are afraid of any thing that is different.

  11. anonymous
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    Feb 20th 2012 !⃝

    Well all I have to say is that it's "Bring Your Own BAG", not "Bring Your Own BOMB". And it NEVER publicly stood for anything else. Otherwise, I don't think anybody's interpretation is wrong.

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 26th 2012 !⃝

    Its just sad to read some of these and people actually think it has something to do with beer. It usually means "bring your own beer." You think of something good like a party. When for this song its about war. the government uses the media as a way to make people think of good things when it comes to war. When its actually not

  13. anonymous
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    Jan 13th 2012 !⃝

    b.y.o.b.... a good 80% of american teens get intoxicated (alchohol, amongst other things) before the age of 21. when they talk about sending the poor, they mean that rich teens bribe poor people (at or over the age of 21) to buy them all booze. inside the lyric it is also stated that "everyones goin' to the party to have a real good time" suggests that my previous statement is correct. bring your own booze fuckers!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Dec 9th 2011 !⃝

    jake.harvey is so ignorant it makes me smile
    "These lyrics are embarassing, as are most of these interpretations.

    Why don't presidents go to war? Well, it is because they have other responsibilities at home, and we tend to put a lot of weight on their safety. That is why they have body gaurds and such.

    Why do they always send the poor? This is just silly. Presidents send enlisted men, who may or may not be poor. Sometimes, there's a draft on, and people are chosen on a lottery system based on age, not income.

    I suppose it can be argued that military pay and the GI Bill may attract a disproportionately poor base into the volunteer army. We could end this incentive by removing all military pay and benefits, but then I suppose we'd be subjected to a System Of A Down song lamenting the military-slavery complex, with a few F-words, misunderstood metaphors, and sudden, inexplicable tempo changes just to drive the point home.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway"

    First off you can get out of the draft by paying money. Second the song is questioning the reasons for going to war because its the rich that started the war and the poor that are fighting it, if the rich are doing it for self gain then why dont they fight the war.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
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    Oct 20th 2011 !⃝

    We dont want the president on the front lines! we want the president to actually do something about the war instead of sitting pretty. "why do they always send the poor?" have you ever seen how much rich and famous people are protected and the lower class could be dead for all they care! this song is about government facsism and hypocracy

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  16. TruMeaning
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    Jul 15th 2011 !⃝

    The meaning is simple:


    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
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    Jun 25th 2011 !⃝

    The interlude "Everybody's going to the party have a real good time/dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine" seems like it's talking about the atomic bomb, because when it was first being developed, the government detonated atomic bombs in the desert and invited people to have bomb-watching parties. The destruction was seen as exciting and people didn't know as much about radiation as they do today. As for "blowing up the sunshine," lots of people were initially afraid that detonating an atomic bomb would set fire to the atmosphere.

  18. anonymous
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    Jun 2nd 2011 !⃝

    It seems to me like it isn't referring to just the war in the middle east, but to all modern day wars. Years ago, the "presidents" or leaders lead their troops into the thick of battle, and everyone got a share of the loot from the wars. Now the "presidents" and generals sit in air-conditined offices thousands of miles from the battle while innconnet people are killed in less than well-thought strageties. Then when war is over, who reaps the rewards? The rich people in the bureacreys of the world's governments get all the cash, while we, the people who fought in the wars, get nothing.

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