Saturday, November 6, 2010

Opiate

Alright. As previously mentioned i'm doing two reviews today. First up is the first EP from a band you have probably heard of. That's right folks today's first album of the day is "Opiate" by Tool.

In March 1992, Zoo entertainment published the band's first effort, Opiate. Described by the band as "slam and bang" heavy metal and the "hardest sounding" six songs they had written to that point, the six song long EP included the singles "Hush" and "Opiate". The band's first music video, "Hush", promoted their dissenting views about the then-prominent Parents Music Resource Center and its advocacy of the censorship of music. The video featured the band members naked with their genitalia covered by parental advisory stickers and their mouths covered by duct tape.

In my opinion this is Tool's best album overall. It is short, sweet, fast, and every song tells a story.

The album starts off with "Sweat" which starts the album with a bang. With a drudgy bass line and kick ass drumming "Sweat" is an awesome song to start off the album. I think the song is about losing your sense of well being or about someone who can't seem to handle their anxiety. These lines from the song give me that impression.


"I'm sweating, and breathing
and staring and thinking
and sinking deeper.
It's almost like I'm swimming"

"Seems like I've been here before.
Seems so familiar.
Seems like I'm slipping
into a dream within a dream."

"It drags me under and takes me home."

This is one of the weaker songs on the album but that's not saying much since all the songs on this album are spectacular.

Next up is "Hush" which is probably my favorites on the album. "Hush" is all about censorship. This song is short and to the point. It pokes fun at censorship, and pretty much says "Why can't I say what I want to even if I'm not serious?"


Lyrics:

"I can't say what I want to,
even if I'm not serious.

Things like....
"Fuck yourself,
kill yourself,
you piece of shit." 

People tell me what to say,
what to think ,
and what to play. 

I say...
"Go fuck yourself,
you piece of shit.
Why don't you go kill yourself?" 

Just kidding."

Next up is "Part of me", which is probably my least favorite song on the album. Don't get me wrong though, its a good song, but it doesn't really fit in well with the rest of the songs on the album. Oh and did I mention its about jacking off?
Lyrics:


"I know you well. You are a part of me.
I know you better than I know myself.

I know you best, better than anyone.
I know you better than I know myself.

You are a part of me.

You are just a part of me.
You are just a part of me.
You are just a part of me.
You are just a part of me.

Give it up...

You don't speak.
You don't judge.
You can't leave.
You can't hurt me.
You're just here for me to use.

I know you well. You are a part of me.
I know you better than I know myself.

I know you best, better than anyone.
I know you better than I know myself.

I know you well, better than one might think.
I know you better than I know myself.

I know you well. You are a part of me.
I know you best, better than anyone.

I know you well. You are a part of me.
I know you best, better than one might think.

It's time for you
To make a sacrifice.
It's time to die a little.
Give it up.

I know you best, better than anyone.
I know you better than I know myself.

A part of me."

So after a song telling censors to go fucking kill themselves and a song about choking the chicken its time to get back to more serious topics. The next song on the album is called "Cold and Ugly". The recording on the album is a live recording. The song intros with the bands vocalist Maynard James Keenan telling someone to "Throw that Bob Marley wanna-be motherfucker out of here." The original theory was that during this live recording, some guy with dreadlocks kept blowing an air horn, forcing the band to start over. A telephone hotline takes credit for this; it may have been Maynard kidding around with the singer from Green Jelly. After that the guitar riff kicks in and Maynard lets off a growl. My interpretation of this song is that it takes place through the eyes of someone(possibly Maynard) who meets someone who hides their true self away from the world. She never lets emotion get to her and just follows the masses because she is scared of being herself.. He sees that in her and realizes that everyone does that to an extent and is trying to tell her he is scared as well. This is probably my second favorite song on the album.

Lyrics:

"Underneath her skin and jewelry,
hidden in her words and eyes
is a wall that's cold and ugly
and she's scared as hell.

Trembling at the thought of feeling.
Wide awake and keeping distance.
Nothing seems to penetrate her. 
She's scared as hell.

I am frightened to.

Wide awake
and keeping distance from my soul.
I am scared like you."

You would think that this next song would be the one about masturbation but that's Tool for you. "Jerk-off" Is the 5th track on the album and easily my favorite. It starts off with Maynard saying "used to be a bunch of assholes that lived in this part of the building here, but we systematically exterminated them like you would any other termite or roach." This plays into the theme of the song which Maynard has stated to be based on an ethics system known as consequentialism. Consequentialism essentially is the line of thinking where one believes that the ends justify the means. Maynard said "Information, itself, is pure. Take a knife, for example. You can use it to cut up vegetables, meat, butter your bread, etc. Or you can use it as a weapon. The way in which information exists in its many forms leaves for us the decision as to how it is we wish to use it. Information itself has a certain purity. Humans have intentionality. It's humans who decide how it is they wish to behave. Information and technology are pure". The song itself tells a story of someone thinking about someone else they see or know and thinking that that person would be better off dead. And in the song the protagonist thinks he should just shoot that jerk-off right in his fucking head.

Lyrics:

"Someone told me once
that there's a right and wrong,
and that punishment
would come to those
who dare to cross the line.
But it must not be true
for jerk-offs like you.
Maybe it takes longer to catch a total asshole.
but I'm tired of waiting.
Maybe it's just bullshit and I should play GOD,
and shoot you myself.*
Because I'm tired of waiting.
Consequences dictate
our course of action
and it doesn't matter what's right.
It's only wrong if you get caught.
If consequences dictate
my course of action
I should play GOD
and shoot you myself.*
I'm very tired of waiting.
I should
kick you,
beat you,
fuck you,
and then shoot you in your fucking head.* "

* All references to "shoot you in your fucking head" are now performed live as "fuck you in your fucking ass" -- clearly a more appropriate message for the times.

Last but not least we move on to the title track "Opiate".  This song is a satirical representation of organized religion, and it's control of the people. As the deaf, dumb and blind followers are led, they are being violated. This song is a bit dramatic, with rants of God wanting to rape the listener and blind them with his lies, but it does provide a thoughtful message into Tool's feelings towards hypocrisy and corruption in the church. The title, Opiate, is allusion to Karl Marx's quote "Religion is the opiate of the masses" 

Lyrics:
"Choices always were a problem for you.
What you need is someone strong to guide you.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,
what you need is someone strong to use you...

like me, like me.

If you want to get your soul to heaven,
trust in me.
Don't judge or question.
You are broken now,
but faith can heal you.
Just do everything I tell you to do.
 
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

My God's will
becomes me.
When he speaks out,
he speaks through me.
He has needs
like I do.
We both want
to rape you.

Jesus Christ, why don't you come save my life.
Open my eyes and blind me with your light
and your lies."

And there you are. All six songs on the albu-WAIT A MINUTE. "Opiate" ends around 5:30 of the song. From there until 6:06 is complete silence. Once it gets to 6:06(6 minutes and 6 seconds of the 6th track...666) another song can be heard. This so called secret track is called "The Gaping Lotus Experience." 
Lyrics:

"I had a friend once he took some acid
Now he thinks he's a fire truck
It's okay until he pisses on your lighter
Kinda smells kinda cool kinda funny anyway
satan, satan, satan...
I had a friend once he took some ecstasy
Tried to marry me and every one in the room
He was sort of loving kinda caring,
kinda tried to fuck my lazy boy
It got a bit messy all over the curtains,
arm chair covers, throw pillows, and carpeting
satan, satan, satan...
I'm getting bored again..."

That's it for today folks. I said I was going to do two but this took me almost 3 hours to type up and I need some sleep. 
You can listen to the whole album here:

23 comments:

  1. Kewl story, bra! waiting for updates from you

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  2. TOOL wow havent heard them in ages i used to love that tune they did with RAGE? whats it called can you get ?

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  3. I love this stuff mate! Keep it up!

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  4. Tool is a pretty good band, I only have a few of their songs though :/

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  5. Good posts. thanks for sharing

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Geeze, haven't heard TOOL in the longest time.

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  8. Sounds like a good album. I generally like tool.

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  9. solid stuff! Hey I see you are rocking the grooveshark playlists now! awesome stuff eh! it really helps get the music to the people!
    that being said I LOVE tool, saw them 4 times over the years

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  10. that looks like it will be a good album

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