27 Best Tool Songs

Best Tool Songs

Tool is an American rock band formed in 1990 in Los Angeles. The group is composed of Adam Jones (guitarist), Danny Carey (drummer), and Maynard James Keenan (vocalist). The group's original bassist, Paul D'Amour, was replaced by Justin Chancellor in 1995.

The group has had notable success and managed to perform on worldwide tours, produced albums that topped the charts in many countries, and won three Grammy Awards to boot. Tool has an eclectic approach to music; they combine industrial, psychedelic, alt-rock, and prog metal. You'll notice a trend to rage against the establishment during the group's early releases.

However, Tool eventually shifted focus and emphasized self-actualization and enlightenment instead of contemplating the outside world. We've compiled a list of the best Tool songs of all time.

1. “Sober”

Song Year: 1993

“Sober” is a song that epitomized the essence and energy of the group as it was their debut song from their 1993 album Undertow. Keenan employs a unique and emotionally stricken voice, and he was able to expertly deliver a message that had to do with addiction and resetting the spiritual awakening.

Interestingly, “Sober” was around as early as 1986; however, it was slightly different, faster, and given an entirely different title. It was called “Burn About Out.” Perhaps the fact that this song has been in the making in one form or another for a long time speaks to why it was executed so well by the band.

2. “Third Eye”

Song Year: 1996

The Ænima album of 1996 featured the song entitled “Third Eye.” The inspiration for the song is said to come from a comment made by Bill Hicks, which asserted that watching tv was like spraying body spray paint over the third eye.

The song references the sixth chakra. The sixth chakra describes the spiritual power of the human body, and this power is called the Third Eye. The song describes the painstaking frustrations of attempting to open someone's third eye forcibly.

3. “Lateralus”

Song Year: 2001

Lateralus is not only a song but the actual name of Tool's 2001 album. Presumably, the Fibonacci sequence was introduced to this album by the group to step into more of an art-rock approach. This sequence, in particular, is a formula is a pattern where every number is equal to the total of the two numbers which come before it. Moreover, this formula is related to phi, which describes spirals and how they are in nature.

The band refers to these spirals within the lyrics. This particular song is awesome because the intricate formulas do not oversaturate the song. The song embodies lyrics within the song that speaks about perseverance towards influence.

4. “Prison Sex”

Song Year: 1993

Prison sex is a song that addresses sexual abuse. We all know this is a touchy subject that is hard to bring awareness from in a tasteful way if you're also trying to grab someone's attention.

Tool gives the perspective on how an abused child is traumatized and ultimately becomes an abusive adult themselves. The song speaks about recognizing the cycle of abuse within ourselves.

5. “Wings For Marie / 10,000 Days”

Song Year: 2006

Although these are actually two separate songs, these songs go hand in hand and belong together. This is undoubtedly one of the most passionate songs of Tool's catalog of sounds. This double track which is 17 minutes long, behaves as a memorial for his mother's death.

As mentioned previously, Maynard's mother had a stroke in 1976. She would eventually pass on in 2003 or roughly 10,000 days later. Even though his anguish is apparent, the instrumental section is spotlit throughout the entire piece.

6. “10,000 Days (Wings Pt. 2)”

Song Year: 2006

The title “10,000 days” derives from Keenan's personal life, specifically referring to the amount of time his mother spent in a wheelchair after suffering from a stroke that paralyzed her for 27 years, or 10,000 days. Moreover, the song admires her faith.

He expresses that he wanted to offer his mother comfort and states that his own spiritual journey led him astray from organized religion.

7. “Parabola”

Song Year: 2001

“Parabola” has upbeat and celebratory energy about it. An intriguing fact about this song is that it echoes the musical style and form of Qawwali, a form of Islamic devotional music.

The song asserts that pain is merely an illusion and that our bodies are merely temporary vessels. Furthermore, this song speaks about themes of spiritual enlightenment and harps on ideals such as self-discipline, an end to suffering, and self-purification.

8. “Schism”

Song Year: 2001

“Schism” touches on multiple topics, from people attempting to rekindle dying relationships to religion dividing them into disgruntled tribes. This song went on to win a Grammy, and it even speaks to restoration taking hold within the group in the form of partnership and friendship.

Previously, there were rumors that the group was experiencing internal issues related to their personalities clashing and possibly causing the band to separate.

9. “Rosetta Stoned”

Song Year: 2006

“Rosetta Stoned” is a song that addresses chemicals that alter the mind. The lyrics warn that people who are not wary of these chemicals are actually more likely to soil their clothes than they are to reach a higher state of consciousness.

This song references an earlier song made by Tool that spoke about the father of LSD, Albert Hofmann. There's a patient that sees aliens and reaches nirvana through hallucinations but forgets what he discovered.

10. “Intolerance”

Song Year: 1993

On the song “Intolerance,” one phrase gets repeated, “lie, cheat and steal.” It comes from the West Point Military Academy cadet code of honor. The lead singer learned the line while going to the academy.

The song argues that intolerance happens due to people remaining silent when other people commit acts of crime and atrocities while indoctrinating the world are just as bad as hardened criminals. The song suggests that we as people shouldn't tolerate apathy.

11. “Hooker With A Penis”

Song Year: 1996

There was an occasion where Keenan was about the band deviating from the course and selling out. The fan had been a fan ever since the band's humble beginnings, and they felt disillusioned and wronged by the band. Eventually, Keenan and the band would decide to respond, and it was through this song.

The song's goal was to tell the fan that he was a part of the problem. This song served as an open rebuke of the people within their fanbase who disingenuously associate commercial success as coming at the expense of their hardcore fanbase.

Tool endeavored to display that success is not a sign of selling out. They insisted that the essence of the group never faded and that true fans could see this.

12. “Opiate”

Song Year: 1992

“Opiate” is inspired by Karl Marx and his reference to religion as the opiate of the masses. This song is the title track from the Opiate EP. The lead vocalist criticizes organized religion and the austere rules, which only leads to the destruction of individual personalities for the sake of the establishment.

This topic is one that continues to permeate the band's music, as they have always been deemed as rebels that like to go against the grain.

13. “Eulogy”

Song Year: 1996

“Eulogy” may be more of an acquired taste. Moreover, the song is a bit lengthy, and it takes over four minutes of the eight-minute run time before the song begins to take off. After the song manages to get going, the band successfully builds on a staccato foundation, which transforms into one of their strongest compositions.

There is much mystery associated with who people think the eulogy is for. Over the years, there have been people named, such as the Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Kurt Cobain. At any rate, the song successfully makes a musical statement.

14. “Jambi”

Song Year: 2006

“Jambi” is a Tool classic for multiple reasons. If you're familiar with the Pee-Wee Herman kid's show, you might know the name of the magic genie. This song gets the name of that genie, and it is also a very dark tune. It's dark from the perspective that the band writes it to make it seem absurd, though listeners can relate.

The main singer asks the genie to have just one more day with his mother, who has passed away. It's a heart-wrenching request that many have probably wished for themselves. The instrumentals for this song match the lyrics perfectly.

15. “Vicarious”


Song Year: 2006

Many people believe that Tool is what you would consider ahead of the times. “Vicarious” is an example of that idea. It seems to suggest that people are constantly watching their phone screens and planted in front of the television to see violence, drama, and tragedy.

The band suggests that people view these images and stories with the conscious or subconscious intentions of living vicariously through them. It's similar to the way people would line up at the Coliseum to watch people fight till the death.

16. “Pneuma”

Song Year: 2019

The fifth album garnered a lot of criticism about the band focusing on their mythos. The criticisms notwithstanding, this song was still considered a gem.

The song is unapologetically exciting and fresh. The song showcased the band's precision and musicianship. Fans took to this song like no other. The percussive performance is worthy of note.

17. “The Grudge”

Song Year: 2001

“The Grudge” was from Tool's Lateralus album, which people consider a sort of enlightenment for the band members that they want to share with their fans. The interpretations of this song vary, as the singers have never directly confirmed one of their more complex hits.

Taking a stab at it, the song starts off kind of chaotic, akin to how one might feel if they were having a panic attack and searching for a sense of calm. Toward the song's end, it seems to come down from the climax, like the singer begins to experience relief. One of the common interpretations is that the song refers to letting go of something detrimental to your well-being, even if it's challenging to do so.

18. “7empest”

Song Year: 2019

One of the best parts of “7empest” is the guitarist, Adam Jones, who seems to pour his all into this song. This song is about fifteen minutes long, and you hardly notice because you're so engulfed in the musical genius.

Regarding the theme, the lyrics suggest that the band is condemning someone, or a group of people, which many believe to be politicians and those that have the power to sway public opinion. The accusation is that these people are misleading the masses and then feigning ignorance when they get caught in a lie.

However, the song intimates that a day of reckoning or a “tempest” is coming on which everything will be brought to light, and judgment will occur on a catastrophic level.

19. “Pushit”

Song Year: 1996

“Pushit” seemingly discusses a myriad of relationship obstacles. Think of a failing relationship, domestic violence, losing interest, second-guessing your partner's commitment, etc. They don't hold back when exploring the roles that everyone plays. The lead singer takes us on a journey, and he assumes the position of the abuser himself.

At times the lyrics indicate physical abuse while also being emotional. The words tell a story of how heartbreaking the circumstances are as you listen to the abuser spew both hate and love from the same vessel.

20. “The Pot”

Song Year: 2006

Tool prides itself on discussing philosophies in thought-provoking ideologies in their music. The language might be foul at times, but they do a good job of driving their points home.

The masses deemed this song not only intellectual but appealing based on the themes and delivery. Maynard once confirmed in an interview that the song's title reflected a common idiom: “the pot calling the kettle black.”

This song speaks to the drug culture throughout America. It draws attention to how many people indulge in drugs (marijuana specifically). Still, those higher up do it in secret while criticizing the people that are open.

21. “Forty-Six & 2”

Song Year: 1996

“Forty-Six & 2” speaks to the idea of humans beginning to progress and move in a different direction than what they are accustomed to, namely having 48 chromosomes instead of 46.

The concept for this song likely comes from Carl Jung, who purports that the next stage of human evolution is the reorganization of DNA and escaping/transforming our “shadow.” It's not clear if this points toward mental escape from repressed memories or just someone's maturation process throughout life.

22. “Stinkfist”

Song Year: 1996

While the song's title isn't the most wholesome, Stinkfist is one of Tool's most popular songs because of the deeper meaning. The title implies anal fisting, as many have deduced, but it's used to get the point across that people have become so desensitized to the reality that they seek pleasure to the point of pain.

The lyrics talk about going deeper and deeper into an emotion or a reaction until you get used to it or you achieve what you're looking for. It's like an addiction but points out the danger of being so unaware of the media and modern technology's pull on people.

23. “Ænema”

Song Year:1996

This song came after Bill Hicks, a legendary comedian, passed away. Tool decided to make a tribute song to him, and this song uses some of the ideas Hicks had put in his own album, Arizona Bay. “Ænema” talks about Los Angeles getting separated from California, breaking off, and sinking to the bottom of the Pacific.

It supposedly reflects that Hicks hated LA and felt that the city and the inhabitants represented all that was wrong with the world. Keenan took inspiration from this and uses LA as a metaphor for what's wrong with the world and indicates that we might need something akin to that part of humanity falling into the ocean and sinking to start over and evolve as a race.

24. “Right in Two”

Song Year: 2006

Popular beliefs suggest that “Right in Two” is about how God has given people countless gifts. Yet, they can't share in them as one because we have all divided ourselves based on nonsense—fighting with one another and seeking to conquer instead of share and assist baffles the angels that view humans with disdain.

The song suggests that we are wasting our ability to achieve greatness by remaining wretched. Many believe it is also connected to the biblical verse 1 Kings 3:16-28, which speaks to a baby potentially being severed right in two to appease two women fighting for custody. The real mom objected while the imposter was ok with committing such an atrocity.

25. “The Patient”

Song Year: 2001

“The Patient” is a powerful song that discusses a dilemma that so many of us face when we run into an existential crisis or life-altering occasion. In this particular case, the lead singer's mother, Judy Marie, had a stroke in 1976. She started using a wheelchair due to partial paralysis.

She believed that she would eventually be rewarded for keeping her faith through this trial. The song questions whether it's worth it to keep going forward down the chosen path, ultimately reconciling that it has to be or otherwise they would have abandoned this journey. Being reminded of the decision to remain steadfast is often met with mixed emotions as you wait.

26. “H.”

Song Year: 1996

“H.” is a song that tells the listeners about Maynard's experiences as a new father. When he was a child, Maynard says he was abused, and he has created other songs that talk about the residual effects of that abuse. At this point, his feelings and memories haunt him and have somewhat affected his relationship with his son Devo H.

He has to decide how he wants to parent his son, and it hasn't been easy for him. He gets advice from those around him, maybe, but it's hard when no one knows how you're feeling or what's best for you, even if their intentions are good.

 27. “Invincible”

Song Year: 2019

“Invincible” might be a song that details the band's experience making albums as they get older and transition to a different phase of their lives and careers. They use a specific phrase, “long in the tooth,” meaning to become older. This phrase is directly connected to horses because their teeth continue growing throughout their life.

They long for another win throughout the song, seemingly indicating their motivation to create another album. One could say that the title is a painful acceptance of man's mortality as he has more years behind him than in front.

Top Tool Songs, Final Thoughts

So those are some of the best Tool songs ever.

Tool is an iconic brand that has captured the hearts of many with their explicit lyrics and deeper meanings. Once you get past some of the “in your face” titles and language, you can unpack the message behind the lyrics.

Often fans suggest that they title their songs this way to get your attention and make you listen to what they have to say. These are the best songs created by the band from their inception until the present.

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