“We’ve never been a radio friendly band, which is three minutes, a three minute song. Our label always wants us to edit songs and we refuse to do that.
We grew up in a time when all our favourite albums by bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd weren’t quite radio friendly.
They were working out a lot of emotions in their music, and as long as it took for them to record the songs, whether it was three minutes or 12 or 24 or a whole side of an album, that was fine. We’re sort of getting back to that approach.”
Adam Jones – Tool; Guitar World – August 1996
“Aenima” is the follow up to the platinum selling “Undertow”. That album spawned the single “Sober” and a memorable video involving a creepy little meat puppet guy.
Released in 1996, but I heard it a year later.
It was such an eye opening album for me. Musically and sonically. An hour and 17 minutes in length. Pushing the limits of time on a CD.
And people responded. 3x Platinum in Australia and the U.S.
It’s also the first album to feature bassist Justin Chancellor, replacing Paul D’Amour, who became a victim of indie guilt as the band was getting bigger then D’Amour was comfortable with.
Chancellor joins guitarist Adam Jones, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and drummer Danny Carey. And this version of the band would go on to remain the same to this day.
Another big change is Dave Bottrill producing in place of Sylvia Massey. Jones in various interviews said he would never work with Massey again. They had outgrown what she could offer.
Written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and the departed bassist Paul D’Amour.
The general impression I got from the lyrics (“finger deep inside the borderline”, “knuckle deep inside the borderline”, “elbow deep inside the borderline”) and the title is that the song is about “fisting” but other interpretations mentioned that is about getting your hands dirty with hard work.
A weird effect is added to the guitar for the intro just before the heavy distorted groove riff fades in. Watching em live, I saw how powerful this groove riff is, as a sea of bodies swayed and jumped in unison with it.
At 3.30 a different riff and groove comes in which makes me want to break my desk in half.
And by the end of the song, Maynard is “shoulder deep inside the borderline” as he tells the person to relax, turn around and take his hand.
Also written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour.
Another weird effect starts it off, which sounds like it’s coming from drum pads. But it’s musical. It percolates as it builds and at 1.58 the song starts. The bass is playing a middle eastern like bass riff while the guitar is jamming on a pedal point. Maynard is singing through a loudspeaker while Carey sets a solid foundation.
When the Chorus riff kicks in at 2.40, its powerful and electric, a complete contrast to the subdued verses.
Make sure you check out the section from 6.10, when Maynard is singing “don’t you step out of line”. Allow the power of the music to fill you.
Also written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour. It was the song that hooked me in. The fuzzed out groove in the intro had me turning the volume knob higher. But it’s the King Crimson and Pink Floyd like verses that got me to pick up the guitar to learn it.
I don’t know lyrically what it is all about, but from the various interpretations I have read, it’s got to do with those angels or devils sitting on your shoulder, that whole Ego and Id and Super Ego argument from Sigmund Freud.
Venomous voice, tempts me,
Drains me, bleeds me,
Leaves me cracked and empty.
Drags me down like some sweet gravity.
Which part do we allow to control us?
Which voice do we listen to?
When the Chorus kicks in. Its powerful and head banging.
Then there is the “I don’t mind” section from 4.50. Check it out.
“Forty Six &2”
Now we get to the first song on the album that is written by the band that recorded it, which is Keenan, Jones, Carey and Chancellor.
And what a way for Justin Chancellor to announce himself.
The bass riff to start off this song.
If you like “Stockholm Syndrome” from Muse, then you’ve heard Tool. If you like “Home” and “The Great Debate” from Dream Theater then you’ve heard Tool. If you like “Live Or Die” from Reach then you’ve heard Tool. This riff spawned a lot of songs across metal, hard rock, melodic rock and progressive rock.
And the title.
Doesn’t it make you curious. It sure made me curious from the outset. It’s so bizarre.
So, if you like theories then check this one out from Carl Jung. The premise is humans would deviate from the current state of human DNA which contains 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. The next step of evolution would likely result in human DNA being reorganized into 46 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. And by doing so, it changes everything. Check out people’s views on 46 and 2.
Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to.
Forty-six & 2 ahead of me.
“Hooker With A Penis”
I met a boy wearing Van, 501, And a dope Beastie T,
Nipple rings, New tattoos that claimed that he Was OGT,
Back from ’92, From the first EP.
And in between sips of Coke he told me that he thought we were sellin’ out,
The song refers to a fan who accused the band of selling out after their first EP.
I sold out long before you’d ever even heard my name
I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit, then you bought one
Truth right there.
Before anyone accuses a band of selling out, remember they had to sell their rights for a very long time just so people could hear them in the first place.
A character from an earlier song on “Undertow”.
Eleven and she was gone.
Eleven is when we waved good-bye.
Eleven is standing still,
Waiting for me to free him,
By coming home.
The ghost known as Eleven is waiting to show him the truth. Very different to “Charlotte The Harlot” and “22 Acacia Avenue”. By the 90’s Tool was singing about “Prison Sex” and “Jimmy”.
Another song written by the “Undertow” band in Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour.
The title is a combination of “Put Shit”.
How good is the intro riff?
When the drums come in, they set a slow percolating groove. The song could be a non-identical twin of “H.” musically.
Pushing and shoving
There’s no love in fear
Can the song be as simple as an argument in a relationship and that the relationship ends with one saying to the other “I love you” while they claw at their throat. Because it can’t end in no other way.
An earthquake comes to wash away the fake and superficial people of Los Angeles. This one is also written by the “Undertow” version of the band, in Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour. New bassist Chancellor had to audition with this song.
The title Ænima is a combination of the words ‘anima’ (Latin for ‘soul’ and associated with the ideas of “life force”, and a term often used by psychologist Carl Jung) and ‘enema’, the medical procedure involving the injection of fluids into the rectum.
Take whatever meaning you want from that.
Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
Any fucking time, any fucking day
Learn to swim, I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.
And the band goes to town against everything that is celebrity culture, drug addicts, rappers and even Scientology (“Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones”) and asking Mother Earth to just wash em all away
The spiritual “Third Eye”.
Can magic mushrooms be the key to opening the third eye?
You have 13 minutes and 50 seconds to find out.
Crank it, take some drugs and enjoy.
4 thoughts on “1996 – Part 2.1: Tool – Aenima”
My brother loves this album. I remember spending a few minutes monkeying around with that album cover. lol
The hidden one with the self fellatio
The only drug I have is caffeine.
It’s a great drug. I have it daily as well.