10 Best Tool Songs


Tool band photo standing outside.

Tool – Author Anne Erickson, Photo via Tim Cadiente

The great thing about a fantastic Tool song is that it lasts forever. Really. You know that feeling when you’re listening to a great song, and then, bam, it’s over, and you want to hear it again? Well, Tool songs are so long, that you get a good dose of the sound before the song is over, so you’re never left feeling cheated. Yes, Tool songs are lengthy, epic musical bodies of work that shine on their own. So, what are the best Tool songs ever?

Tool formed about 30 years ago, which is crazy to think. While the band has just five studio albums out, each of those releases offers such a rich body of work, that they still make Tool one of the most influential rock bands of their era. Tool are pioneers in progressive metal. They’re also responsible for bringing that dissonant, experimental prog-metal sound to the masses.

Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s list of the 10 best Tool songs ever. Some of these are radio hits, while others are a little off the path. Send us with your picks on Facebook here or email anne@audioinkradio.com.

10. “Intolerance”

“Intolerance” was a true introduction for Tool. The song was the first track that appeared on Tool’s debut album, 1993’s “Undertow.” While the singles on this album are what made Tool famous, “Intolerance” was the true introduction of Tool and their prog-metal to the world.

9. “Chocolate Chip Trip”

Tool have some crazy song titles, but “Chocolate Chip Trip” takes the cake, pun intended. “Chocolate Chip Trip” is the shortest song off Tool’s fifth studio album, 2019’s “Fear Inoculum.” It’s a quick, brutal dose of prog-metal that leaves the listener wanting more.

8. “Fear Inoculum”

What kind of band has the guts to release a 10 minute song as the first single off their new album? Tool is that band. Obviously. “Fear Inoculum” was the title track and lead single from the band’s fifth and latest studio album, which arrived in 2019. It actually broke the Guinness World Record for the longest song ever to chart on the Hot 100. It’s beautiful and dark and mysterious, just like Tool.

7. “The Pot”

“The Pot” was a huge moment for Tool. They were already big, but when “The Pot” was released in 2006, it scored the guys their first No. 1 song and reached the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in 2007. “The Pot” is off the band’s fourth studio album, 2006’s “10,000 Days.” Also, in an interview with BBC Radio 1 Rock Show host Daniel P. Carter, Maynard James Keenan said that if he had to pick one song to introduce someone who has never heard Tool to the band’s music, it would be “The Pot.” The album appears on the band’s 2006 album, “10,000 Days.” Keenan explained, “If you’re gonna play a song for people to kind of get them into our band, I don’t think you should start with the 27-minute one. Calm down. Don’t get all QAnon on us. Focus on ‘The Pot.’ That will be the introduction to all the other possibilities that happen in this project.”

6. “Lateralus”

Tool are big on using different time sigantures, and that’s very apparent in “Lateralus.” The song is the third single and title track of the band’s seminal 2001 album, “Lateralus.” That said, it features unique time signatures and vocal patterns that really make it stand out.

5. “Opiate”

The title track off Tool’s 1992 debut album, “Opiate,” was groundbreaking at the time, and it still is. The track brought together progressive metal and deep philosophical musings like never before. It’s a great introduction to Tool.

4. “Stinkfist”

“Stinkfist” was the first single off Tool’s 1996 release, “Ænima.” It’s one of the band’s most recognizable songs, with riffs and rhythms that just cut into your gut. The song’s music video, directed by guitarist Adam Jones, is legendary, with Tool’s famed stop-motion animation techniques.

3. “Forty Six & 2”

I know. How could we put “Forty Six & 2” above “Stinkfist?” Both appear on 1996’s “Ænima,” and both rock in their own way. But, “Forty Six & 2” is such a mysterious song, and that gives it the edge. There have always been rumors that the song’s title is based on a Carl Jung concept, but Maynard and the guys have never addressed it. Aside from the mystery, this song has massive hooks and rhythms, and it’s one of Tool’s best.

2. “Schism”

“Schism” was the first single off Tool’s 2001 “Lateralus” release. It even won the band a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance the following year. As a bass player, I’ve always loved the bass line in “Schism.” What’s more, I remember when I first started in rock radio, this song was in heavy rotation, and it gave me a chance to leave the studio for a few minutes if need be, since it was by far the longest song on the playlist.

1. “Sober”

Okay, including “Sober” as the best Tool song of all time might seem a little trite. The song, after all, is Tool’s biggest hit. But, this song is really the culmination of all things Tool. It has drama, dark atmospheres and a heavy climax. “Sober” was the first single from the band’s debut studio album, 1993’s “Undertow.” It’s reportedly about a friend of the band’s who was most artistic while under the influence. That song made Tool and instant and massive success, and for that, Tool fans should be forever grateful.

What about Tool’s albums? Here’s our list of every Tool album ranked from worst to greatest.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music, Rock

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