swing on a spiral

I don’t know what it is exactly about Tool songs that make me want to listen to and analyze the lyrics. I’m not a stoner, I’m not even some diehard Tool fan, I just think that they make really good music, and the lyrics are (forgive the term) fairly deep.

Lateralus is an interesting example. The rhythm of the vocals in the verses follow the Fibonacci Sequence, loosely, almost playing with it, in a way I find beautiful. Listen to the first verse:

white are
all I see
in my infancy
red and yellow then came to be
reaching out to me
lets me see
As below so above and beyond I imagine
drawn beyond the lines of reason
push the envelope
watch it bend

Say it out loud, count out the syllables on your fingers. 1-1-2-3-5-8-5-3-13-8-5-3.

We’ll get back to the Fibonacci numbers later, but first, about the colors. I’ve read that Maynard said in an interview that he drew on Native American creation myths, where those four colors play a crucial role. I’ve also seen speculation that it is based on the order that colors appear when you’re under the influence of LSD.

It’s probably a bit of both, but I tend to believe the page¬†linked from the Wikipedia entry¬†where Maynard says explicitly:

I use the archetype stories of North American aboriginals and the themes or colours 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.

Back to the Fibonacci sequence. The numbers are related to the Golden spiral, also related to the Golden ratio, or the “Divine ratio”. Now does the lyric “swing on the spiral of our divinity” make more sense?

In all, I interpret this song personally to be a song about embracing our time here on Earth, making the most of it. Something I just so happen to be currently working on, reaching out to embrace the random and whatever may come.

Now, here’s an example of a bad comment to leave on this post:

Dude, totally wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. The song’s about…

Don’t give a shit. Art is subjective, and what you get out of a song or poem or story or movie will usually be entirely different from what I get out of it. So share your thoughts, because I love to hear new ideas, but — and this applies across the board in life — keep an open mind.