Sober (Tool song)

Last updated

"Sober"
Sobers.gif
Single by Tool
from the album Undertow
ReleasedMay 1993
Format
Recorded1992
Genre Alternative metal [1]
Length5:05
Label Zoo
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Tool singles chronology
"Hush"
(1992)
"Sober"
(1993)
"Prison Sex"
(1993)
Alternative cover
Promo sober.jpg
Cover for the promotional single.

"Sober" is a song by American rock band Tool. The song was released as the first single from their debut studio album, Undertow . Tool guitarist Adam Jones has stated in an interview that the song is about a friend of the band whose artistic expression only comes out when he is under the influence. "A lot of people give him shit for that," Jones explains. "If you become addicted and a junkie, well, that's your fault." [2]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Tool (band) American alternative metal band

Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. 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>Undertow</i> (Tool album) 1993 studio album by Tool

Undertow is the debut studio album by American rock band Tool, released on April 6, 1993 by Zoo Entertainment. Produced by the band and Sylvia Massy, it was recorded from October to December 1992 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys and Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood. The album includes some tracks the band decided to not release on their debut EP Opiate.

Contents

Writing

"Sober" is one of the earliest songs composed by Maynard James Keenan, with roots dating back to a 1987 live performance (released as Peace Day with his first band, Children of the Anachronistic Dynasty) in which the song was called "Burn About Out". The song contains some lyrics from the first verse of "Sober", with the same basic melody, although the melody is considerably faster and has an instrumental chorus.

Maynard James Keenan American musician

James Herbert Keenan, known professionally as Maynard James Keenan or MJK, is an American singer songwriter and the vocalist for the rock bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer.

Children of the Anachronistic Dynasty was an American rock band based in Grand Rapids, Michigan notable for being one of the early bands of Maynard James Keenan, later of the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer among others.

The song was recorded by Keenan with Tool for the first time in mid-1991 on a demo tape titled 72826 .

Demo (music) song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release

A demo is a song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release. A demo is a way for a musician to approximate their ideas in a fixed format, such as cassette tape, compact disc, or digital audio files, and to thereby pass along those ideas to record labels, producers, or other artists.

Music video

Screenshot of the Sober music video depicting the humanoid being. Tool-Sober-video-screencap.jpg
Screenshot of the Sober music video depicting the humanoid being.

A video for "Sober" was made in 1993. It debuted in May of that same year and was directed by Fred Stuhr. [3] It was filmed using stop-motion animation, with the characters' models designed by Adam Jones. It was the first of Tool's videos to be made in stop motion, the earlier promo video for "Hush" being live action. Whereas all four band members could be seen at all times during the previous clip, "Sober" shows only brief flashes of them. A live-action clay figure is shown twitching and vibrating violently.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

Stop motion animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own

Stop motion is an animated-film making technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion when the series of frames is played back as a fast sequence. Dolls with movable joints or clay figures are often used in stop motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop-motion animation using plasticine figures is called clay animation or "clay-mation". Not all stop motion, however, requires figures or models: stop-motion films can also be made using humans, household appliances, and other objects, usually for comedic effect. Stop motion using humans is sometimes referred to as pixilation or pixilate animation.

"Hush" is a song by Tool from their 1992 debut EP Opiate, recorded by producer Sylvia Massy at Sound City Studios. It was the only single released from Opiate and was the first song that helped establish the band's reputation. The lyrics protest Tipper Gore and censorship, which is a recurring theme in Tool songs.

The video's protagonist is a small, humanoid being, who lives and sleeps in an abandoned mansion, in a rusty room sparsely decorated with a table, a chair, and a bed with no mattress and a curtain as a blanket. He happens to stumble upon a wooden box, which he opens near the beginning. Its contents are kept hidden for the majority of the video's duration, but it seems whatever it is has had adverse mind altering effects – there are repeated shots of the humanoid levitating in his chair, and his head and arm vibrating wildly. While experiencing these effects, the figure ventures through his living quarters and its many corridors.

Humanoid something that has an appearance resembling a human without actually being one; creatures with a mostly human shape

A humanoid is something that has an appearance resembling a human without actually being one. The earliest recorded use of the term, in 1870, referred to indigenous peoples in areas colonized by Europeans. By the 20th century, the term came to describe fossils which were morphologically similar, but not identical, to those of the human skeleton.

The climax provides a barrage of imagery and revelations: a figure attached to a wall behind a translucent screen, a sentry of sorts wielding a mobile, robotic cannon and an organic substance flowing through a pipe found in the house. At the end, the box is empty, leaving the viewer to determine its meaning.

Formats and track listings

US single
No.TitleLength
1."Sober" (album version)5:06
Australian and German single
No.TitleLength
1."Sober" (album version)5:06
2."Bottom" (live)6:24
3."Intolerance" (live)4:43
UK 12" single
No.TitleLength
1."Sober" (album version)5:06
2."Prison Sex" (album version)4:55
3."Intolerance" (album version)4:34
Sober – Tales from the Darkside
No.TitleLength
1."Sober" (album version)5:06
2."Undertow" (live at Lollapalooza '93 – 8/6/93)5:42
3."Sober" (live at Lollapalooza '93 – 8/6/93)5:10
4."Opiate" (live at Lollapalooza '93 – 8/6/93)6:17
5."Flood" (live at Lollapalooza '93 – 8/6/93)3:40
6."Prison Sex" (live at Lollapalooza '93 – 8/6/93)4:50
7."Jerk-Off" (live at Lollapalooza '93 – 8/6/93)4:18
8."Prison Sex" (live at Lowland Paradise Festival, Dronten, The Netherlands – 8/29/93)5:01
9."Bottom" (live at Lowland Paradise Festival, Dronten, The Netherlands – 8/29/93)6:24

Personnel

Tool

Singing act of producing musical sounds with the voice

Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.

Adam Jones (musician) musician

Adam Thomas Jones is a three-time Grammy Award-winning American musician and visual artist, best known for his position as the guitarist for Tool. Jones has been rated the 75th Greatest Guitarist of all time by the Rolling Stone and placed ninth in Guitar World's Top 100 Greatest metal Guitarists. Jones is also the director of the majority of Tool's music videos.

Guitar fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

Release history

RegionDateLabelFormatCatalog
Germany1993 Zoo CD74321-21849-2
AustraliaCD74321-21849-2
UKVinyl picture disc74321-22043-1
Promo vinylTOOL 001
U.S.Promo CDZP17121-2
NetherlandsCD74321 22604 2

Notable performances and covers

In media

Chart performance

Chart (1993–94)Peak
position
US Mainstream Rock ( Billboard ) [5] 13

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References

  1. Grierson, Tim. "Top 10 Essential Alt-Metal Songs". About.com . Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  2. citing Guitar School, March 1994
  3. http://www.mvdbase.com/video.php?id=28107
  4. Blackie, Andrew (November 16, 2006). "Staind: The Singles 1996–2006". Popmatters.com. Retrieved April 10, 2015. An unplugged replica of Tool’s “Sober” manages to conjure a sense of brooding even more evident than in the original, and amplify Adam Jones’ discordant riffage.
  5. "Tool Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2017.