In the world of metal and, indeed, music in general, few bands have managed to create such an obscure sound as Tool. Fronted by the peculiar and incredibly talented Maynard James Keenan, the outfit has been a frontline effort for psychedelic-inspired grunge for the better part of three decades and is a household name in rock and metal.
As much as their music is curious and mind-bending instrumentally, their lyrical content also follows a similar path. As such, many of their songs are open to interpretation and are the front for debate between many of Tool’s fans. One thing that might come as some surprise, however, is that Tool does indeed possess a hefty number of love songs under their belt.
So without further ado, here is my list of the best Tool love songs for your enjoyment!
When it comes to love songs in Tool’s catalog, few tracks hit the mark quite like “Schism”. This track in particular earned cult-like status within its fan base due to its hypnotic bass line and Maynard’s curious rhythmic vocal patterns.
This song explores the crumble of a relationship, as it sours from bad to worse through a lack of communication. The song conveys a message on the importance of letting people into your problems, while also listening to the needs of the other.
One mostly consistent theme within Tool’s discography is that of eventual resolution; while some songs seem bleak initially, there is some kind of light that presents itself at the end of the tunnel. Curiously, “Sober” is one of the very few tracks in this iconic band’s catalog in which I felt fairly hopeless.
This song has multiple interpretations, but I take it as a warning to other people that the protagonist is not meant to be in a relationship.
3. Rosetta Stoned
Album: 10,000 Days
If there’s one thing that Tool fans love, it’s getting high. Be it on the increasingly popular cannabis or the one that partially kickstarted this band’s success (acid), many fans will agree that Tool is a go-to for recreational listening.
While this song might not fall into a true love song, it explores something the band’s image and fanbase alike certainly admire.
4. Wings For Marie, Pt. 1
Album: 10,000 Days
There are very few songs by Tool that create a massively emotional atmosphere; much of their work feels metaphorical as opposed to based on an explicit experience. That goes out the window, however, for the next two songs.
“Wings For Marie, Pt. 1” is a heart-wrenching ode to Maynard’s late mother, who had a large impact on him. The amount of love in this track is immeasurable, and the loss must have been great indeed.
5. 10,000 Days (Wings Pt. 2)
Album: 10,000 Days
Continuing from the emotional rollercoaster that is “Wings For Marie, Pt 1” is the other ‘half’, “10,000 Days”, also known as “Wings Pt. 2”. Whereas Part 1 was more personalized and loving, Part 2 exp[lores wider themes and ties the whole track back to a more Tool-oriented soundscape.
That’s not to say you won’t shed a tear or two during this highly emotional passage.
Album: 10,000 Days
There are many different ways in which we can interpret songs by Tool, and there are many reasons for that. Firstly, their instrumentals don’t always match the lyrics, creating a perplexing environment at times. Secondly, Maynard’s use of metaphors and hidden meanings can make a surface theme obsolete once we dig a little deeper.
“Jambi” has been the subject of debate amongst many Tool fans since 10,000 Days was released in 2006. In an interview, Maynard mentioned that the song is about his son and how his life changed when he became a father, which I also attribute to the song.
While Tool might not have an extensive discography of love songs, the few songs that do tackle the heart and its curious qualities explore many different aspects of this complex emotion. One theme that Tool seems to explore often is that of self-healing.
The nature of Tool’s self-healing properties likely derives from the band’s use of psychedelics to explore their deeper personalities and egos, thus translating those experiences into musical movements.
Album: Fear Inoculum
Fear Inoculum’s release was an intense period for Tool fans. Their first release in over 10 years: how would it fare? Would they still have the same spirit, so to speak? It transpires that the answer is “Yes, and then some”. Tool are just as powerful now as they were when they initiated their musical journey.
The meaning of “Pneuma” is ambiguous, but I understand it as an emphasis on the importance of letting go of anger and negativity in the pursuit of happiness. As they sing, we have one life to live.
Despite this song’s popularity, “H.” hasn’t ever been played in the time that Tool has been touring. The reason for this is that this is an incredibly personal song for Maynard, as it explores the abuse he received as a child.
However, fans also interpret it as a song of self-redemption and love. They also understand it as a commentary on loving someone so much that, despite being with them damages you, you choose to remain with them.
10. Part Of Me
Finishing off this list of the 10 best love songs from Tool is one that is entirely different from the rest. “Part Of Me” is an incredibly touching track that the band wrote practically in direct conversation with their fanbase.
The band acknowledges that without the fans, the band is nothing, and their experiences would not have been fulfilled without them. In a broader context, the band emphasizes that we are all the same, and share the same world.
Alex is a man of many talents. He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years. Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.