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May 9, 2006

10,000 Days

Well, I guess I'm ready to write my review of Tool's latest release, 10,000 Days. Here's the short version: It's disappointing. I love Tool, but these are not the songs you are looking for.

If you like songs like Prison Sex, H, Stinkfist, The Grudge, 4 Degrees, and Aenema, but are less interested in the long, wandering, "jam sessions" like Flood and Third Eye (though, even I loved the live version on Salival), you are likely to be as disappointed as I am. There is also a shitload of "filler" on 10000 days (optimists call them "segues") similar to Die Eier Von Satan, Faaip de Oiad, Useful Idiot, and Ions.

10000 Days CD CoverVicarious and Jambi are both decent. The rest of the songs, I've listened to several times and I can't bring myself to get excited about them. I've read the lyrics, and they're clever, but mostly "spoken" over bongos, "beeps", fuzz, and drawn-out guitar-stroking. There are certainly parts of several songs that I like, but 10 great seconds in a 12 minute epic, does not a good song make.

If you want music you can put on and let fade into the background, then I guess most of this CD works for that. I find it hard to believe that most musicians want to be known for making "background music", though.

I've read plenty of reviews of this CD and most fans seem happy with it. They talk about the emotion and a bunch of other crap I'm not hearing. I guess I'm just not "evolving" along with Tool's sound; I've been left behind.

Really, I see two options for why I don't like this CD:

  1. They threw some poop together with a couple decent songs knowing duped fans like me would buy it and many would proclaim how handsome the emperor looked in his new clothes. If this is the case, I'm super-pissed...super-pissed.
  2. This is the direction Tool is headed. They've outgrown my songs like Eulogy, Hooker, and Opiate. If this is the case, I'm just sad. My favorite band won't be making any more music that will make me feel like I did the first time I heard their earlier work.
My personal opinion is that Ænima was their masterpiece. Opiate offers a glimpse into where they "came from", the title song seems to be a good "tie-in" to Undertow. Undertow had them writing tight, dynamic songs while avoiding "verse, chorus, verse". Ænima blew me away, clever, hard, emotional songs, one right after another. Ænima has it's share of what I call "filler", but there's enough quality on this CD to rival any other album created in my generation. Lateralus built on Ænima and started to go in another direction. A great CD, but until recently, I would have called Lateralus my least-favorite Tool release. I see a strong relationship from Lateralus to 10000 Days. I think Days built on some of the style they used on Lateralus, but for most of Days I feel they built on some of the things I didn't like so much in Lateralus. Vicarious (which I would call a "solid" song) feels like it was cut from the same cloth as Schism and Parabola (which I definitely like).

The liner notes and case are non-standard. It's actually a "book" with lenses. The lenses are for viewing some stereoscopic images in the notes, making the images look "3D" or as if they were viewed in the Viewmaster you had as a kid. The art is pretty cool and my wife and I were both impressed with the originality. As always, no lyrics. I thought the stereoscopic pictures of the band members were lame. They seemed "un-tool-like". I've always appreciated that (with the exception of one) they were noticeably absent from their videos, CD covers, and most promotional material. It kept an air of mystery and gave me the impression that they wanted their art to be more self-standing than about them, the artists. The band pictures just looked like "Hey, look at us, we're all standing/sitting in some semi-creepy settings looking self-satisfied." The scenes actually reminded me of NIN's Perfect Drug video. Maybe I'm being overly critical because I was so disappointed with the CD.

So if you're a die-hard Tool fan, you've already got 10000 Days and can form your own opinion. If you're a casual fan, then you might want to skip this one.

Posted 14 years, 4 months ago on May 9, 2006
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