Lateralus (song)

Last updated

"Lateralus"
Tool lateralus.png
Single by Tool
from the album Lateralus
ReleasedFebruary 2002
Format CD
Recorded2000
Genre Progressive metal [1]
Length
  • 9:24(album version)
  • 5:47 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Tool
Tool singles chronology
"Parabola"
(2002)
"Lateralus"
(2002)
"Vicarious"
(2006)
Audio sample
Excerpt of "Lateralus".

"Lateralus" is a song by American progressive metal band Tool. The song is the third single and title track of their third studio album Lateralus .

Progressive metal is a fusion genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock that combines the loud "aggression" and amplified guitar-driven sound of the former with the more experimental, cerebral or "pseudo-classical" compositions of the latter.

Tool (band) American metal band

Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has been the band's bassist since 1995, replacing their original bassist Paul D'Amour. Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries.

<i>Lateralus</i> 2001 studio album by Tool

Lateralus is the third studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released on May 15, 2001 through Volcano Entertainment. The album was recorded at Cello Studios in Hollywood and The Hook, Big Empty Space, and The Lodge, in North Hollywood, between October 2000 and January 2001. David Bottrill, who had produced the band's two previous releases Ænima and Salival, produced the album along with the band. On August 23, 2005, Lateralus was released as a limited edition two-picture-disc vinyl LP in a holographic gatefold package.

Contents

Overview and background

The song is known for its distinct time signatures and corresponding lyrical patterns. The time signatures of the chorus of the song change from 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8; as drummer Danny Carey says, "It was originally titled 9-8-7. For the time signatures. Then it turned out that 987 was the 16th number of the Fibonacci sequence. So that was cool." [2]

Danny Carey musician, songwriter

Daniel Edwin Carey is an American drummer and instrumentalist best known for his work in American Grammy Award-winning progressive metal band Tool. He has also contributed to albums by artists such as Zaum, Green Jellö, Pigface, Skinny Puppy, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, Carole King, Collide, Lusk, and the Melvins.

Fibonacci number integer in the infinite Fibonacci sequence

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers, commonly denoted Fn form a sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, such that each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, starting from 0 and 1. That is,

Interpretation

In a 2001 interview, singer Maynard James Keenan commented on the lyric mentioning black, white, red and yellow: "I use the archetype stories of North American aboriginals and the themes or colors which appear over and over again in the oral stories handed down through generations. Black, white, red, and yellow play very heavily in aboriginal stories of creation." [3]

Maynard James Keenan American musician

Maynard James Keenan is an American singer-songwriter. He is the lead singer of the rock bands Tool and A Perfect Circle with whom he has released five and four studio albums, respectively. In 2003, he created Puscifer as a side project, with which he has released three studio albums.

Indigenous peoples Ethnic group descended from and identified with the original inhabitants of a given region

Indigenous peoples, also known as First peoples, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original owners and caretakers of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary) or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent of the world.

The song could also be about the order of colors seen while under the influence of LSD. Alex Grey (the visionary artist who did the album artwork for Lateralus) stated that when he closed his eyes on an LSD trip, he saw a black and white spiral, and when he tried it a few more times it became a red and yellow spiral. [4]

Alex Grey American artist

Alex Grey is an American visionary artist, author, teacher, and Vajrayana practitioner. His body of work spans a variety of forms including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture, visionary art, and painting. Grey is a member of the Integral Institute. He is also on the board of advisors for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and is the Chair of Wisdom University's Sacred Art Department. He and his wife Allyson Grey are the co-founders of The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a non-profit church supporting Visionary Culture in Wappingers Falls, New York.

Visionary art

Visionary art is art that purports to transcend the physical world and portray a wider vision of awareness including spiritual or mystical themes, or is based in such experiences.

The line "As below so above and beyond, I imagine" is a reference to Hermeticism and the Emerald Tablet.

Hermeticism set of beliefs and practices whose aim is the influencing of the world through contact with the heavenly forces

Hermeticism, also called Hermetism, is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. These writings have greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition traces its origin to a prisca theologia, a doctrine that affirms the existence of a single, true theology that is present in all religions and that was given by God to man in antiquity.

<i>Emerald Tablet</i> alchemical and Hermetic text

The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Tablet, or Tabula Smaragdina, is a compact and cryptic piece of the Hermetica reputed to contain the secret of the prima materia and its transmutation. It was highly regarded by European alchemists as the foundation of their art and its Hermetic tradition. The original source of the Emerald Tablet is unknown. Although Hermes Trismegistus is the author named in the text, its first known appearance is in a book written in Arabic between the sixth and eighth centuries. The text was first translated into Latin in the twelfth century. Numerous translations, interpretations and commentaries followed.

An interesting side note, in alchemy "The Great Work" begins with the Nigredo (black), then moves to the Albedo (white), then the Citrinitas (yellow), then the Rubedo (red).

Mathematical significance

In July 2017, Maynard's friend Joe Rogan described his writing process in his podcast; "He wrote a song to the Fibonacci sequence. The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical sequence. It starts from one, the next number is one, and the next number being two, creates the 2+1 which is three, continuing in this mathematical progression. That's how they found the chord progression. It began linking up to the Fibonacci sequence." The syllables Maynard sings in the first verse follow the first six numbers in the pattern, ascending and descending in the sequence 1-1-2-3-5-8-5-3. "Black (one), then (one), white are (two), all I see (three), in my infancy (five). Red and yellow then came to be (eight), reaching out to me (five). Lets me see (three)." In the next verse, Maynard begins with the seventh number of the Fibonacci sequence (13), implying a missing verse in between. He descends back down with the following pattern; 13-8-5-3. "As below so above and beyond I imagine (13). Drawn beyond the lines of reason (eight). Push the envelope (five). Watch it bend (three)." The second verse adds the missing line to complete the sequence; "There is (two), so (one), much (one), more and (two), beckons me (three), to look through to these (five), infinite possibilities (eight)." 1-1-2-3-5-8-5-3-2-1-1-2-3-5-8-13-8-5-3. [5] [3] [6]

Joe Rogan American martial artist, podcaster, sports commentator and comedian

Joseph James Rogan is an American stand-up comedian, mixed martial arts color commentator, podcast host, and former actor and television host.

Reception

Loudwire listed "Lateralus" as number one on the list of the Top 50 Metal Songs of the 21st Century. [7]

Chart performance

Chart (2001–02)Peak
position
US Alternative Songs ( Billboard ) [8] 18
US Mainstream Rock ( Billboard ) [9] 14

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References

  1. "No. 1: Tool, 'Lateralus' – Top 21st Century Metal Songs". Loudwire . Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  2. Norris, Chris (2001). "Hammer Of The Gods". Archived from the original on April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2007.
  3. 1 2 diCarlo, Christopher (2001). "Interview with Maynard James Keenan". Archived from the original on April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  4. Maititab. "Lateralus Tab" . Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  5. Buchanan, Brett (January 14, 2018). "Joe Rogan Reveals How 'Fucking Maniac' Maynard James Keenan Got Him Sick". Alternative Nation. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  6. Lewis Goldberg (June 1, 2006). "Finnegans Shake". New Times Broward-Palm Beach . Retrieved January 27, 2008.
  7. Hartmann, Graham. "No. 1: Tool, 'Lateralus' – Top 21st Century Metal Songs", Loudwire . Retrieved on 05 September 2012.
  8. "Tool Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  9. "Tool Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2017.