... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

Tuesday Tunes {Ænema by Tool}

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Basically the second my puberty arrived, my taste buds changed dramatically and overnight I went from listening endlessly to The Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls to rock and roll.  I think it's rather fortunate that this occurred in the 90's when rock was borderline mainstream and there was no shortage of purely awesome bands.  Out of my favourites (Deftones, Korn, Placebo, Limp Bizkit, Staind, Godsmack....) few have stayed in my adult playlists.  One of the ones that has - and probably always will at this point - is Tool.

I remember how shocked my devout Baptist mother would be at their album art strewn around my room: exclaiming the symbols were 'witchcraft' and the images were 'blasphemous' or 'devil worshiping.'  I grew up with a lot of fear instilled into me regarding many things, but I was never afraid of Tool's visuals and I used to stare at the album art on Lateralus for ages, thinking it was beautiful. I know I'm super lucky mum never saw any of their video clips though! That would have ensured immediate disposal of all Tool contraband! (  :) love ya mum!) 

While I believe the band intentionally set out to shock people for greater impact, to me Tool never appealed from that stand point.  I always thought that aside from their amazing, genuinely unique sound and time signatures; they were great because of their thought provoking lyrics that challenge societal structures/ government systems and expose the discontent that many people feel with the world - all the things true rock was supposed to be about in the first place.  

Although I eventually outgrew the anger and daddy issues that attracted me to heavy metal rock bands like Korn and Staind, Tool's lyrics became more and more relevant as my journey through life and self discovery continued... it was like: 
yes, I feel numb.  
no, the social clicks, partying and fashion labels aren't filling the void.  
yes, i feel disconnected from my peers and colleagues -
the religious people in my life seem so hypocritical and judgmental.
no one seems to care about what i care about: the environment/ true love/ real relationships,
yes, i feel chewed up and spat out.
no, i don't have any corporate aspirations. no clue what i want for the rest of my life.
yes, that makes me feel mental.
no, i don't know the answer.

but it's ok.  
i'm actually not alone.
because of music like this, i feel more normal than I believed. 

I love almost every Tool song I've ever heard, but I chose to feature Ænema because this song is one of the most direct about the discontentment of the current human condition.  It's raw, it's honest and - in true Tool fashion - the video clip is a confrontational visual aide for the turmoil felt within.  To me, it portrays what happens to our soul when we  disconnect from our higher selves and replace decency, comradery, simplicity, compassion and community // with competition, materialism and jealousy.  Very powerful in conjunction with the the lyrics, included here.  I believe 'learn to swim' is a metaphor for 'wake the ffff up' and I don't want to just pick on LA - to me, the whole world's a mess in need of a wake up call (...though not necessarily mass genocide through natural catastrophe as the song implies).

Ok, I'll include a more mellow song too - one of Tool's most popular/ mainstream in fact: Schism.  This is a beautiful song of hope for mankind 'I know the pieces fit, cause I watched them fall away...'  I love this song - but again, beware of the video, it will stir any emotions the lyrics fail to unsettle.     

PS/ I've since learnt that the controversial album covers in question were the artwork of Alex Grey - a Buddhist practitioner, subtle healing energy expert and what many in the spirit science community would call a guru. His art portrays what we would (do) look like if we were (are) pure energy - a topic that is often brought up in Tool's lyrics. 

PPS/ The symbols upon the cover are in fact wicca... Ooops. Sorry mum. 


  1. Ironically the older I get, the more I realize: there's nothing new under the sun. It's called wicca now, but something else long-er ago.

    Great post, Lena. Love Tool. Poor Mom missed out for now!

    1. That's so true Dixie! Fashion keeps coming right back around too! I bet anyone that grew up in the 70's/ 80's is kicking themselves for throwing things away now! :P

      I'm so stocked you love Tool! With all the other stuff we have in common (fringed handbags? Gardening?) I think we were destined to be bff's!

  2. Thank you for sharing this wonderful thing.
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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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