Tool is an American rock band formed in 1990 in Los Angeles, California. The band’s lineup consists of vocalist Maynard James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, drummer Danny Carey, and bassist Justin Chancellor. Not to mention ex-bassist Paul D’amour.
Tool is known for their eclectic style, incorporating elements of alternative rock, progressive rock, and art into their music. Not to mention their elaborate and visually stunning live shows.
In this article I’m going to delve into the fifteen best Tool songs of all time.
1. The Grudge
The Grudge is the first track from Tool’s 2001 album entitled “Lateralus.” It’s a track which is lead by the sound of an old school film projector followed by a bounding riffs that breaks through the speakers and sets the scene for the rest of this progressive metal album.
Stinkfist is the first track from Tool’s 1996 album entitled “Ænima.” It’s a simple groove based alternative rock track overlayed with guitarist Adam Jones’ impressive and fascinating guitar work and also the first song that Tool fans ever heard bassist Justin Chancellor play on. Because of its simplicity and delving into prog-rock it’s a definite crowd favourite.
Sober is the third track from Tool’s 1993 debut album entitled “Undertow.” Sober features a loud, heavy, repetitive base chord that is the core ingredient of this dark alternative rock track. It’s also the song that 90s rock kids remember hearing first and the song that catapulted them into the rock charts.
4. Forty Six & 2
Forty Six & 2 is the fifth track from Tool’s 1996 album entitled “Ænima.” Forty Six & 2 was also the fourth single from Ænima. It’s odd timing structure is what won over many fans – often switching between 4/4 and 7/8 timing signatures. For a long time there was a fan theory that “Forty Six and 2” was a reference to the human body having 44 autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes. With the theory that humans would eventually evolve to having more than 46 total chromosomes and enter a ‘disharmonious state.’
This theory has since been debunked.
5. The Pot
The Pot is the fifth track from Tool’s 2006 album entitled “10000 Days.” The Pot was released as a promotional single ahead of the album and for that reason (despite the album being extremely diversely and incredibly ‘proggy’) The Pot is probably the most recognisable banger of the 10000 Days album.
Ænema is the thirteenth track from Tool’s 1996 album entitled “Ænima.” The song itself is very nihilistic and holds many premonitions. Many of which is the band’s own reflection that the stupidity and arrogance of humanity is in desperate need of a hard reset. At this point, I can’t say I disagree.
Schism is the fifth track from Tool’s 2001 album entitled “Lateralus.” A highly repetitive bass riff is what causes this song to fold-in on the brilliance of bassist Justin Chancellor’s songwriting abilities. It’s renowned for its bizarre time signature changes, in which the track changes time signatures a total of 47 times. Which means, to this day, music nerds are still salivating over every aspect of this track.
Bottom is the fourth track from Tool’s 1993 debut album entitled “Undertow.” At the time, it was one of Tool’s fastest songs (obviously that’s changed now) and seems to concentrate on one’s own downward spiral. It also features an incredibly powerful spoken word piece from Henry Rollins during the bridge of the song.
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9. Third Eye
Third Eye is the fifteenth and last track from Tool’s 1996 album entitled “Ænima.” The track features a sample from one of comedian Bill Hicks’ more well known comedy sets. A comedian who was a huge inspiration on the band. Additionally, there’s lots of distorted and overdriven effects. The type that feel like an aural assault on the senses. In short: it’s awesome.
10. Pushit (Salival Version)
Pushit is the third track on the hard-to-find boxed set known as Salival. It’s a reinterpretation of Pushit, from Tool’s Ænima album, in which the band perform an extended melancholy version of the track in a live environment. Despite the live aspect, the engineering behind this track is so exceptional, you wouldn’t know it were a live performance if it weren’t the cheering crowd at the start.
In my opinion: this version is eons better than its Ænima doppelganger.
Vicarious is the first track from Tool’s 2006 album entitled “10000 Days.” It’s a dual guitar and bass driven track with hard hitting drums and lyrics that take shot at various aspects of pop culture such as reality tv.
Lateralus is the ninth (and title) track from Tool’s 2001 album entitled “Lateralus.” It’s a song that represents the apex of the album with the songwriting following the mathematical Fibonacci sequence and shows off the incredible abilities of each member of Tool: Maynard James Keenan, Justin Chancellor, Adam Jones and Danny Carey. Loudwire listed this track as number one on their Top 50 Metal Songs List of the 21st Century.
So, it’s not that bad.
13. Hooker with a Penis
Hooker with a Penis is the seventh track from Tool’s 1996 album entitled “Ænima.” Lyrically, it’s a brilliant song where Maynard James Keenan tells the story of a “true fan” who told him once that Tool had sold out by signing a record deal. Musically, on the other hand, it’s one of the best hard hitting prog-metal tracks on this entire list.
Man, I’d hate to be the guy who this song is written about.
14. Prison Sex
Prison Sex is the second track from Tool’s 1993 debut album entitled “Undertow.” Despite the graphic content that the title would suggest, guitarist Adam Jones has elaborated many times that the song is about recognising and identifying the cycle of abuse within yourself.
Who would’ve thought that Tool started their careers as a self help group?
Opiate is the sixth and last track from Tool’s 1992 EP entitled “Opiate.” The song itself addresses people who are born to follow or who need a leader and lack self worth. Beyond that – it’s a challenge to the system that misleads you. The system usually being religion and government.
What did you think of these Tool songs?
Are any of these songs amongst your list of favorites?
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