Tool's Essential Songs

A description of Tool's essential songs for first time listeners or people who want to share the Tool experience, in chronological order.

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01. Part Of Me

The first Tool song I ever heard, it had me hooked, nice little drum intro then the bass kicks in, then into drop D tuned guitar which is used in the majority of their songs. It wraps around about 3 and a half minutes, a nice introduction. Maynard provides good vocals, 7/10.

02. Hush

The single off the Opiate EP, it portrayed the members of Tool naked with cencor signs over their privates. A funky bass introduces us to a more aggressive song by Maynard, he conveys a message in "I can't say what I want to even if I'm not serious", "just kill me... just kill me... just kidding.." obviously angry at censors. A superb track, 9/10.

03. Opiate

Another recognizable song off the Opiate EP, the controversial issue of religion is dealt with here, whether about christian faith is yet to be properly analyzed. "Choices always were a problem for you, what you need is someone strong to guide you", saying how for instance, this person can't handle their own life, so, unable to be strong enough turns to someone else (eg. God) to tell them how to live, "Deaf and blinded, dumb and born to follow, what you need is someone strong to guide you, like me". Go to a Tool FAQ if wanting to learn more about the subject of this song. Simple music but effective, 8/10.

04. Sober

First single off Undertow, the group's first full length album, structured over a 2 chord guitar bit, metamorphasizes into an epic piece of Maynard's anger and brilliance. you will fall in love with this song but eventually it will grow off you after finding Tool's later work, 8/10.

05. Prison Sex

Tuned to drop B, this deals with the subject of abuse, Maynard was apparently abused as a child. Lyrical matter hard to tackle for first listeners, but it pictures out a perfect scenario in your head once you realise what MJK is talking about, and it proves to be a much more personal affair then bum-bum. A sweet song, shouldn't grow old anytime soon, 9/10.

06. Intolerance

"I shall not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do" - a line Maynard learnt in the army. This is the moral of the song, and at the start of the song, kicking off the album, is about 21 seconds of a kind of gurgling, drowning sound, setting the water theme for the Undertow album. A nice heavy track, one of my favourite Tool tracks over all, with a rather funny time signature at first but you'll get the groove soon, 9/10.

07. 4 Degrees

A nice sitar kind of sound on this track, will seem slow paced but once you notice the potential of this song, you wonder why it was never on the radio, but why would it need to be? Nice vocals from MJK, and bass work is good by Paul D'Amour, 7/10.

08. Crawl Away

One of the first songs the band wrote, this was being performed in Opiate times and was handed in as a demo. The best part of this is the double kick bridge, I can't get enough of it, Danny Carey shines on this song, and of course so does MJK, 8/10. (I would tell you about more of the songs off Undertow but it could end up being a really long article).

09. Stinkfist (track 1)

First single, first vid and opener for the classic Aenima album, wierd delayed kind of effects at the start, feedback, then boom hits you with full Tool. Maynard seems muffled in his words on first listen but you eventually figure the guy out. Pre-chorus is nice, and the chorus is a catchy melody you'll be humming for days. Fans of Tool are instant fans of this one, 9/10.

10. Aenima - 3rd single, and 2nd vid, the title track is one of Tool's more popular singles, people that listen to like black metal and isolate everything else know the lyrics to this song. the guitar and bass just flow off each other, while Danny plays hard and Maynard is ranting against smiley glad hands, hip gangsta wannabe's and insecure actresses. Should be one of the first songs you listen to if getting into Tool, 10/10.

11. 46 & 2

2nd single off Aenima, instantly recognisable bass intro, and Adams wall of distortion and open D comes crashing down. Once it dies down Maynard softly says his lyrics then it bursts into a full fledged chorus. 'My shadow, my shadow, changes coming through my shadow, my shadow, shedding skin, I've been picking my scabs again'. Another classic, shouldn't be skipped on your CD player, 9/10.

12. H.

4th single off Aenima. These bass intros keep on coming, this time its full on distorted bass, wouldnt normally sound good, but fits right in with the Tool sound. A rather soothing verse and a clittle clicking drum beat go with the atmosphere of this song. This was one of my other first Tool songs, and I loved it. Another monumental chorus, one of the best bridges on the album, an awesome end section then it dies down to the first kind of atmosphere on the song, this is an epic Tool song of all proportions, you might get tired of it by overplaying though, so be warned, 9.5/10.

13. Eulogy

5th and final single off Aenima, this is another song apparently, that deals with religion, more so Jesus. But Maynard not one to be specific doesnt give exact detail to whom this song is about. But the lyrics seem to fit you know who's description pretty well "he had alot to say, he alot of nothing to say", "not all martyrs see divinity, but at least you tried" "come down, get off your fucking cross, we need the fucking space, to nail the next fool martyr", "to ascend you must die, you must be crucified, for our sins and our lies, good-bye" think for yourself. Accomponied by awesome instrumentals of course, this 8 minute epic was once my favourite Tool song until being knocked off by the next review... but don't let that put you off, this is an excellent song, 10/10.

14. Pushit

Both versions. Originally on Aenima, then rehashed on Salival the live album, I had ignored this track for some time, but once I listened, I was drawn in. This song has yet to be beaten. It goes 5 seconds short of 10 minutes, make sure no one bothers you on this song. Not to be played as back ground music of any type, this needs to be turned up LOUD. Feel Maynards anger. Feel Adams giant D riffs, Justin's ploddy bass, Danny's awesome fills and rolls. Every bit is masterpiece. Not a song to listen to when first purchasing the album, just let it come to you... 11/10.

15. Third Eye

Influenced by the philosophies of Bill Hicks, Aenima, a wonderful ride of genius songs and instrumental work finishes off with something like this. Who would've thought that repeating the same words "prying open my third eye" 14 times through a song (4 at the 10 minute mark, 10 at the 13 minute mark) could be so effective!! A quote that stays in your head for quite some time without being melodic or rhythmic, just powerful! Adam Jones, a man who doesnt consider himself an actual guitarist, comes up with the most original bits on guitar! The solo at the end of this song is great, there is 2 in the whole song. if you feel you can stomach 13 minutes of raw power and anger, please enjoy your experience. Check out the Salival version too, 10/10.

16. Maynard's Dick

Off Salival, which, at least in my country of New Zealand is hard to find in stores. The 'hidden' track on the album, it is the only original piece of work the band did on it, and even though being 3 minutes something (unusual time for a Tool song post Opiate) they still pull it off like Aenima never happened. With an acoustic intro (yet another extremity for Tool), Maynard sings in a perculiar voice, yet it works for the occasion, and the chorus (slide a mile six inches at a time on Maynard's Dick) is verrry catchy. Ending in perfect Tool style (farting aside), this is another essential track, 8/10.

18. Schism

1st single off Lateralus. Probably the most well known Tool track due to its recognisable bass riff and the strange video. At this time Tool were becoming much more progressive-like, but still maintain the heavy metal side on such tracks as this one. A very well put together bridge then it breaks down to the nearly orchestral outro. "I know the pieces fit, cuz I watched them fall away", "cold silence has, a tendency to, atrophy any, sense of compassion" "between supposed lovers". All well known Maynard lyrics. First time listeners should have a place to call their own with this song, 10/10.

19. Parabol/a

The 2nd single from Lateralus, the first 3 minutes are Parabol, then Parabola comes crashing down in all its pulsating power. just don't shy away when parabol comes on, this might fool you thinking Tool has gone soft, no no, it's just an intro, build up I should say to one of Tool's most epic singles and a general favourite of fans. Guitar work (drop BE) is particularly good, so look out for Adams work on this song. Awesome 9.5/10.

20. Lateralus

3rd single off Lateralus, but not accompanied by a video. A 9 minute CLASSIC Tool song with a nice little simple introduction while the drums slowly build up until, in typical fashion, everything comes to full power as the main riff explodes. "Black and white are, all I see, in my infacny, red and yellow have came to be, reachin out to me, let's be seen" are the first few words Maynard preaches in the tight drum and bass duo. Palm muted guitar comes in. Then the chorus "over-thinking, over-analyzing separates the body from the mind". With a lot of different sections plus wicked bass sliding in the end section you have to check out this song, afraid or not afraid. It will do you well, 11/10.

21. Ticks & Leeches

The only song Maynard will not occasionly perform live, it screwed up his voice in Lateralus recordings for 3 weeks, he knew it would happen so they recorded that song last. An absolute screamer for Maynard I'm surprised he can scream this good, it; s not his usual yell. Fast paced lyrics and an unforgettable, radio-like chorus make this one.. well... unforgettable. With a bridge that repeats the same awesome riff for over 2 minutes, you know there is going to be a break down... and there is! Tool's best break down is in this song let me tell you and Maynard goes off! the stand out overall is Danny's drumming this is his song to shine and he does it with ease. Fill's that will make you fill your pants, I'm telling you, 10/10.

22. The Grudge

The opening track for Lateralus in all it's genius, this song is a staple for live shows. 8 minutes strong, it is all you can expect of Tool, but in a fully renewed Lateralus style. With one of the stand out screams that has been performed in the last 10 years... 8 bars or something... not a song to be missed. LET GO, 9.5/10

23. Disposition/Reflection/Triad

22 minute epic split into 3 sections, Dispostion the intro, Reflection the main song, and Triad the outro. Disposition serves as the relaxing point of the album and meshes well with its counterpart. Reflection is the standout part in this trio, with nice synthesizer/guitar work from Adam and innovative drum techniques from Danny. One of the longer Tool songs in their resume, this is much more instrumental, but once vocals are provided it makes the song much more established. This doesn't seem like something Tool would do, but it comes up to a nice finish and you then let Triad kick in, leave you stunned and just BEGGING for the next Tool album.

If you want any more Tool songs reviewed or any other bands songs, drop me a line.

66 comments sorted by best / new / date

    spikedemon!
    Aenima and sober were the first 2 songs that got me hooked. Tool is a completly amazing band. They effin rock.
    Covin
    They're supposed to hook up and start recording in December i heard. (New album by summer? Hopefully?)
    roo6339
    Rockin_Out89: Maynard needs to get back with them and make another album.
    their new album is expected late 2004/early 2005 (or so i heard...) it will be their last work
    doormatt
    Stop speakin out of your ass Panatonix, Tool owns you. Cold And Ugly should be up there on the list. Aenima is the best thing ever made since..... the guitar!
    no_quarter05
    Cold and Ugly all the way. That song frickin rocked when I saw it live. Tool was the first musical group i started listening to and they are the best.
    Tool33
    Good article. I can't wait for the new CD, it's killing me. And roo6339, where did you here this would be their last work? This is deeply troubling to me.
    jagcat64
    adam, dany, and justin were getting together over the summer/end of summer to start on their new album and adam said it was some of their hardest stuff yet, and when maynard finally joined the sessions he was coming up with some bad ass lyrics - i cant wait for the new album either - and once again whoever doesnt like tool, or has no respect for them or their music can go eat crayons cuz they gotta be crazy... or atleast just plain dumb...
    flawlessme
    ^You should too.Their music is unique. Thats the reason why everyone respects them. Can u think of any other modern rock band, which has a sound truly their own. I don't think you can. If u can, i'll be more than glad to be enlightened by you.
    SatchBoogie87
    I discovered something pretty ridiculous when i was listening to Lateralis a few weeks ago. The syllables of his vocals follow the fibonnaci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.). Count the syllables in these lines. Black(1) then(1) white are(2) all i see(3) in my infancy(5) red and yellow then came to me(8). It's pretty nuts, and it follows the theme of the song, spiraling out and whatnot, as the fibonacci sequence is the order for things that spiral in nature, like snail's shells. They're ***ing geniouses.
    lateraluspiral
    [Quote/]SatchBoogie87: I discovered something pretty ridiculous when i was listening to Lateralis a few weeks ago. The syllables of his vocals follow the fibonnaci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.). Count the syllables in these lines. Black(1) then(1) white are(2) all i see(3) in my infancy(5) red and yellow then came to me(8). It's pretty nuts, and it follows the theme of the song, spiraling out and whatnot, as the fibonacci sequence is the order for things that spiral in nature, like snail's shells. They're ***ing geniouses. Yeah, thats kind of old...
    matt1846
    I would say tool is the most revolutionary band since floyd. so whoever said tool sux shoul have his F***ing should have his eyes opened, it's obvious that he has no comprehension of what real, good music is.
    bassoad844
    where did you here this would be their last work? This is deeply troubling to me.
    Well maynard's like 40 or somethin now, so they're getting older. Its possible...
    radiantmoon
    yes tool are definately one of the best bands ever and i mean they are up there with ledzeppelin and pinkfloyd, this is my opinion so i dont care if you agree or not!!tool=simply amazing
    ub3r_n00b
    NOOO.. IT CAN NOT BE TRUE! Why is that everytime something decent happens it has to end! Ugh tool cant end! Im going to weep myself to sleep now on that note....
    xxgenocide98xx
    I must be the only person on earth that thinks tool is NOT the hot shit that everyone claims they are. I see people sitting here saying 'theyre the best band putting out music today' dude, where have you been? Do you only listen to mainstream rock? There are HUNDREDS of good bands out theree, I think quite a few are better than tool. They're overrated, jesus christ. They are not '***ing geniouses' or whatever. I don't see what makes them great, I never will, but I'm not going to bash them. People should open their eyes alittle.
    spookman
    tool rox my sox find a better band to get high to and trip out to the amazing drum beats, moving lyrics, crunching guitar, and evocative bass lines long live tool
    deinem
    beautiful article man. Tool is an amazing band. I love them. and to xxgenocide98xx: I realize why you are you saying those things. You are the type of person that does everything you can to non-mainstream that when you hear music that just happens to be enjoyed by a large population, you close your mind and fail to realize and accept that the band is actually very good and produces unique quality music. Im like you sometimes... I hate anyone that is on the radio, but that is bad to do. Yes, there are A LOT of crappy mainstream bands, but there are also good ones. And you have to realize that and always keep your mind open.
    DaddyTwoFoot
    Oh, and your description of Third Eye is misleading. There's a LOT more to it than "Prying open my third eye" over and over again, and that's not even counting the little snippets of Bill Hicks' recordings.
    Reverie
    If you think tool is overrated, your uneducated. If you think tool is not good at all...your considered uneducated about music in general. If you think tool are legends, consider yourself a person thinking outside the box and into the heart and soul of real music. Learn to appreciate it all and get rid of the word "taste". Get to know it all. Did we learn not to be rascist when we we younger? END OF DISCUSSION ABOUT TOOL. GO and listen to music, and appreciate it.
    antonmb
    Eulogy is not about Jesus. It's just a metaphor. It's most likely about Ron Hubbard.
    Kendawg4TooL
    A radio DJ from my town once said that he considered Tool to be the modern day Pink Floyd. It was the most intelligent thing i've ever heard that man say. When all the original members of Led Zeppelin die... Tool will be the greatest band on earth.
    Rockin_Out89
    They are a very artistic band, one of my favorite. Maynard needs to get back with them and make another album. Not a big fan of A Perfect Circle.
    AvixK7
    Ticks and Leeches was what got me hooked on Tool. And while I respect your opinion cookies Goes Moo, I think you should listen to Maynards vocals again , because they are simply amazing.
    howrylak1
    hooker with a penis definitly should be on there other than that good list.
    Zerostarr
    I ***ing love Tool so much that I done my college Artist Studies presentation on them and good job
    T00L
    good little article. but Maynard wasen't really "abused" as a child. His father was a priest which heavlly impacted his views on religion and life in general.
    Piggy088
    Ive never heard a bad tool songs, even the lateralus fillers are great to me.
    Cameo
    little article. but Maynard wasen't really "abused" as a child. His father was a priest which heavlly impacted his views on religion and life in general.
    If his father was a priest, he probably was abused. just kidding.
    DaddyTwoFoot
    Tool is the singularly most amazing band out there today. Eulogy is my favorite, but everything Maynard has ever pulled out of his head is great.
    Death Of Season
    tool is defenetly the greatest band making music right now, and probably of all time. and I second db007, everything tool does is essential... but the list is great, and lateralus is definetly the best song in the world.