You know what’s been a long time? A music video blog post! So let’s have a look at today’s subject. System of a Down1 is a pretty big name, but for those who haven’t heard of them: they’re an American rock band, formed all the way back in the nineties and still — or rather again — active today. You probably know their single Chop Suey from 2001. Even if you think you don’t. We will be talking about Lonely day, though, which was released in 2006. According to Wikipedia, it reached the top twenty in Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand. In the official music video, which can be found on the band’s official YouTube channel, we see this:
The song itself is rather mediocre and the most remarkable thing about it is probably the gratingly ungrammatical construction most loneliest. There is some debate about what is the most remarkable thing about the video. To the great unwashed, it is probably the photoshopped fires in almost all scenes. To the little washed,2 it is the chess board.
I don’t know who the bald guy on the right is, but he has set up his chess board wrongly: h8 is a white square here. But let’s ignore that; we’re used to that by now. Clearly, one cannot reconstruct the position just from the picture above. Fear not! We get more than enough very clear shots to say with near certainty that the position is this one:3
That’s just a mess. Not necessarily an unrealistic one, mind you, but a mess none the less. This is the sort of complicated tactical tangle that may come about if two not very strong players are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at each other while trying to survive.
Talking about surviving: at the ends of the song, the singer claims that:
Surely that’s a good thing! After all, the only days one would not be glad to survive are those that leave one in such deep despair that one craves the cold embrace of death. But the rest of the song consists mostly of the same singer calling for the banning4 or non-existence of similar days. I think that makes this the first blog post in which the diagram, while silly, makes more sense than the text.
Realism: 3/5 It’s not completely implausible. That’s enough for a passing grade in these sad times.
Probable winner: If it’s black’s move, he’s winning quite easily with Rxa5. If it’s white’s move, things are far less clear. White can then give his queen for two rooks and take on d3, reducing his material deficit to a minimum. I think black still has the best chances, but in such a position anything could happen.
1. [I don’t know why the ‘D’ is capitalised. Possibly a puerile reference to the capital importance of the D, possibly German influence showing, possibly something else entirely.]↩
2. [Oh yes, I know perfectly what I did there.]↩
3. [If you’re feeling lonely, you can make yourself a companion here.]↩
4. [How would that work, I wonder? How does one ban a day?]↩