System of a Down’s “B.Y.O.B” has a much deeper meaning than “Bring Your Own Booze.” It actually stands for “Bring Your Own Bombs” and it is a scathing criticism of the government, with specific reference to the Iraq War. It depicts the war as a party for privileged politicians, as evidenced by the line “Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time.” Politicians are in charge of what their military does; they send over thousands of soldiers, but they themselves do not have the same immediate and direct consequences that the soldiers do, such as death.
One of the most memorable lines from the song is “Why don’t the presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?” This is really an excellent question, if it is the governments that are having altercations, why is it the civilians who are sent off to war? Pride and service for one’s country is an easy and obvious answer, but it stops short of addressing a serious issue. War does not solve every problem, and in System of a Down’s opinion, it is not worth the casualties. If two or more countries are in conflict, how does sending thousands of innocent kids over to kill each other solve the dispute at hand? What should be done instead of going to war?
Lyrics available at: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/systemofadown/byob.html