Tool band music
Although ‘Sober’ is one of Tool’s simplest tracks, it’s also one of their most powerful. Released on the band’s debut full-length, ‘Undertow, ’ ‘Sober’ was written about a friend of the band who could only hit his artistic peak while under the influence. Maynard James Keenan’s bellowing of “Why can’t we not be sober / I just want to start this over” is disturbingly electric, and ‘Sober’ succeeded to launch Tool into a more mainstream realm.
‘Forty Six & 2′
From: ‘Ænima’ (1996)
‘Forty Six & 2′ is the fifth and final single released from Tool’s sophomore classic, ‘Ænima.’ The concept of the track is full of Jungian references, including the idea that human beings will evolve in the direction of acquiring a total of 48 chromosomes, rather than the normal number of 46. The extra chromosomes would give us a total of 46 autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes, thus, ‘Forty Six & 2.’ The track’s lyrics speak of the transformation of one’s shadow, representing the path towards both physical and mental evolution, evidenced in the song’s final line, “Forty six and two are just ahead of me.”
From: ‘Lateralus’ (2001)
Possibly the most popular song of Tool’s career, ‘Schism’ introduced many younger fans to the experimental Los Angeles band. ‘Schism’ is one of the most complex songs in rock and metal history to gain massive mainstream airplay, as the track constantly switches time signatures from the normal 4/4 to the odd 11/8, amongst many others. ‘Schism’ was also a critical success as well as a creative success, as the track defeated Black Sabbath, Slayer, Slipknot and System of a Down to capture the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.
From: ‘10, 000 Days’ (2006)
“Vicariously I, live while the whole world dies.” Tool’s first single from their 2006 album, ‘10, 000 Days, ’ is a precise and complex seven-minute piece, though lyrically, ‘Vicarious’ is fairly straightforward. As Keenan sings through the first verse, the lyrical weaver lists off the means of death he’s experienced through the eye of his television. ‘Vicarious’ provides social commentary on the media’s sensationalism of violence as Keenan sings, “We all feed on tragedy / It’s like blood to a vampire.”
‘Pushit’ is yet another lyrical goldmine for Tool fans. The near-10 minute track is packed full of substance for hardcore fans to sift through, and also acts as one of Maynard Keenan’s greatest vocal performances put to tape. Near the end of ‘Pushit, ’ the spotlight is put on Keenan as he delivers the lyrics, “If, when I say I may fade like a sigh if I stay / You minimize my movement anyway / I must persuade you another way / There’s no love in fear, ” with a soaring high-register beauty. ‘Pushit’ is also home to the fan favorite line, “Remember I will always love you / As I claw your f—ing throat away.”
‘Wings For Marie / 10, 000 Days’
Although technically two separate songs, ‘Wings for Marie’ and ‘10, 000 Days’ are not one without each other. As one of the most emotional Tool songs within the band’s catalogue, the 17-minute double track contains the middle name of Keenan’s late mother, Judith Marie, and acts as a memorial to her passing from complications due to a brain aneurysm. Keenan’s mother suffered a stroke in 1976, roughly 10, 000 days before she died in 2003. Though Keenan’s performance is heart-wrenching, the instrumental section of Tool is highly spotlit throughout the piece, creating a truly unique atmosphere throughout.
Closing out the ‘Ænima’ album, ‘Third Eye’ caps off the monumental record as a near-14-minute masterwork. Guitarist Adam Jones is truly the star of this track, offering one of the most experimental compositions of his career. The ‘calm-becomes-erratic’ whirlwind of Jones provides an all-encompassing experience of his personal style, which is found in many pieces throughout ‘Ænima.’ You can beg all you want for the track to never end, but it does, with Keenan’s distorted screams of “Prying open my third eye!“