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Serj Tankian - Perplex Cities

Serj Tankian
Perplex Cities
by Jessica Smith at 13 November 2022, 3:20 AM

Jack of many trades, Serj Tankian (artist, activist, painter, writer, composer, composer, husband, father, human animal and lead singer of SYSTEM OF A DOWN) just released his newest five song EP in October. Being the eclectic artist that he is, he used the EP as a way to experiment and try new things- not only musically but in the way it’s experienced. More electronic and cerebral than past releases this album creates a transcendental soundscape, which is perfect for Tankian’s second experiment with this release- presenting each tack via augmented reality before releasing them to streaming platforms. If this is something that interests you, it’s free to watch and interact from his website.

The EP opens with “Pop Imperialism”, a complex layering of sounds from unique chords and a rhythmic percussion. As this song blooms, Serj’s unmistakable vocals come in melodies as well as unexpected periods of spoken word. This track will definitely grab you from the start and keep you interested. Sounding more understated at first, “The Race” has a more acoustic and ethereal feel to it that at the last minute transforms into a synthy wonderland layered with guitars.

Tankian has been well known for decades for using his platform and voice to share his political thoughts and views. In “I Spoke Up” he does this in such a subtle and beautiful way that allows the listener to feel the pain of the affects of our political environment. Keeping his art personal, “Rumi Loves His Cars” is a song about his son- and well, how much he loves his cars. Sounds wholesome and simple right? Something else we know from Tankian is that he is incredible at layering in deep messages with fun stories. This story of his son rolls into a message about sustainability and hoping the best for his son’s generation. Everything up to this point of the EP has been pretty slowed and acoustic, “Forgive Me Father” keeps the acoustic feel while adding in more upbeat percussion and differing vocals. We really experience Serj’s range of vocal talent in this track, a beautiful bow on top of this EP.

Staying true to his writing style, Serj still conveys all he needs to say in these five tracks with a much different energy than we have heard from him before. This EP showcases all of his talents as a singer, writer and everything else. Don’t go in expecting what you’ve heard from him before, and you will love it.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Pop Imperialism
2. The Race
3. Spoke Up
4. Rumi Loves His Cars
5. Forgive Me Father
Serj Tankian
Record Label: Serjical Strike Records


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