you must have been high …

I’ve been listening to Tool, a band you will quite often find in any “favourite bands” list that also features Radiohead.

The parallels are fascinating. Both bands emerged – or erupted? – during a moment when rock music was still all about grunge, but just as Nirvana was dissolving. Both Radiohead’s first album, Pablo Honey, and Tool’s – Undertow – came out in 1993. They were followed by The Bends (1995) and Ænima (1996), respectively. While Ænima was Tool’s widely acknowledged “classic” album, Radiohead’s classic, OK Computer, was released one year later in 1997.

More recently, Radiohead’s fanbase suffered during a hiatus of five years between the release of The King of Limbs (2011) and A Moon Shaped Pool (2016). But spare a thought for Tool’s long-suffering fans, who are speculating desperately about the release of the next album by their band, because the last one – 10,000 Days – came out ten years ago, in 2006.

Musical and lyrical parallels between these bands are apparent too. They are more complex, and the differences are just as interesting. But when looking for points of contact between the two bands, I was struck by these two songs – “The Pot”, by Tool, and “2 + 2 = 5” by Radiohead – as a case in point. Note the timing again: The Pot is from 2006, 2 + 2 = 5 is from 2003.

You could reasonably argue that both songs deal with government hypocrisy – “the pot” in Tool’s song is a reference to the notion of “the pot calling the kettle black”, while “2 + 2 = 5” in Radiohead’s song is about doublethink as conveyed by Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four. (Incidentally, 2 + 2 = 5 was on the Hail to the Thief album, whose title appears to be a skit on the name of the official Presidential Anthem of the United States, Hail to the Chief.)

Anyway, here they are …

 

 

Who are you to wave your finger?
You must have been outta your head.
Eye hole deep in muddy waters.
You practically raised the dead.

Rob the grave to snow the cradle.
Then burn the evidence down.
Soapbox, house of cards and glass,
So don’t go tossin’ your stones around.

You must have been high.
You must have been high.
You must have been.

Foot in mouth and head up ass.
So whatcha talkin’ ’bout?
Difficult to dance ’round this one
‘Til you pull it out, boy!

You must have been so high.
You must have been so high.

Steal, borrow, refer, save your shady inference.
Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.

Now you’re weeping shades of cozened indigo
Got lemon juice up in your eye!
When you pissed all over my black kettle
You must have been high, high
You must have been high, high

Who are you to wave your finger?
So full of it.
Eyeballs deep in muddy waters
Fuckin’ hypocrite.

Liar, lawyer, mirror, show me what’s the difference?
Kangaroo done hung the guilty with the innocent.

Now you’re weeping shades of cozened indigo
Got lemon juice up in your eye, eye.
When you pissed all over my black kettle
You must’ve been!

So who are you to wave your finger?
Who are you to wave your fatty fingers at me?
You must have been out your mind!

Weepin’ shades of indigo shed without a reason
Weepin’ shades of indigo

Liar, lawyer, mirror for you, what’s the difference?
Kangaroo be stoned. He’s guilty as the government

Now you’re weeping shades of cozened indigo
Got lemon juice up in your eye, eye!
Now when you pissed all over my black kettle.
You must’ve been high, high, high, high.

Eyeballs deep in muddy waters
Your balls deep in muddy waters.
Ganja, please, you must have been out your mind!

 

 

 

Are you such a dreamer
To put the world to rights?
I’ll stay home forever
Where two and two always makes up five

I’ll lay down the tracks
Sandbag and hide
January has April’s showers
And two and two always makes up five

It’s the devil’s way now
There is no way out
You can scream and you can shout
It is too late now

Because you have not been
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
You have not been
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
You have not been
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
You have not been
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention

Oh

I try to sing along
I get it all wrong
‘Cause I’m not
‘Cause I’m not
I swat em like flies
But like flies the buggers keep coming back
But I’m not
Oh hail to the thief
Oh hail to the thief
But I’m not
But I’m not
But I’m not
But I’m not

Don’t question my authority or put me in the dock
‘Cause I’m not
‘Cause I’m not
Oh, go and tell the king that the sky is falling in
When it’s not
When it’s not
When it’s not
Maybe not
Maybe not