Album: The 13th Step (2003)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about how a person didn't want to know the truth and refused to accept it. The line, "Just Ignore the smoke and smile" implies ignorance of an event to a person has happened. "Call it aftermath, she's turning blue what a lovely color for you" in the last line adds a lighthearted tone to the song. Call it aftermath, something has happened, and as a result she's turning pale. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sarah - Sydney, Australia

Comments: 30

  • Adam from PaIt's about his mom being taken off life support
  • Jess from Detroit Douglas from Illinois

    Yes you’re correct, and her name is Blue.
  • Mark Humphreys from Wintersprings FlaIts not call it aftermath.......its "call an optimist "
  • Douglas from IllinoisMaynard has said this song is about a girl he was dating who was a heroin addict but he refused to believe it until friends convinced him of it he said I just thought she was tired all the time.
  • Omega-man from U.s.I always understood to be 'she' was choking in front of him, and instead of helping her, he watched her turn blue implying that she was dying.
  • Mo from OhioOkay so maybe I'm the idiot for taking this song too literally but... Maynard did say this album has a lot to do with the 12 step recovery program... Soooo Why is no one picking up on - "She's turning blue" which is exactly what happens when someone ODs on Heroin, not to mention- "mistook the nods for an approval"... Nods meaning, she was so high she was nodding off... It sounds like he was so upset and in denial about how bad her addiction was that he had to close his eyes just to look at her, and he just ignored the smoke and smiled, meaning, where there's smoke there's fire... "Call an optimist, she's turning blue, such a lovely color for you" meaning even though he's aware she turning blue because she's ODing, he's desperately searching for a positive thing there, and all he can come up with is- well... Blue IS "such a lovely color for you"... He just sits and stares at her because he didn't wanna know"... Again, he's lying to himself about the fact that this girl is on her death bed because there's nothing he can do to help...
    Just my interpretation...
  • Stephanie Miller from UsaJust about everyone of you who previously comments don't have a damn clue and it is sad that you get the privilege to listen to good music with idiotic ideas, I hope you never do get this song. Ignorance is Bliss, right?
  • Jord from Greenville, ScMight be about Maynard pulling his mother Judith's life support plug and others opinion's about his decision.
  • Danielle from Kettering, OhAlso the lyrics are call an optimist, she's turning blue such a lovely color for you. call it aftermath she's turning blue while I just sit and stare at you.
  • Danielle from Kettering, OhI think this song has to do with a serial killer or a kidnapper. Thats what I get form it.
  • Gabriele from Sydney, AustraliaWhy is it that on every post on a tool song, people always go back to drugs!!???
    Theres more to it people.
  • Amber from Kingston, CanadaREPLY TO EMILY FROM MEMPHIS TN

    The actual tool site is..

    toolshed.down.net
  • Adam from Atttleboro, MaWatching someone dig there grave slowly could be there friend family or just someone that happenes to know the person. but you see them destroying themselves and you decided to do nothing but let it happen and sit and watch
  • Kayla from Alamogordo, NmI firmly believe that this song is about a soon to be ex-boyfriend who is being dumped so he , rapes and kills his girl friend.as heard when it is said "taken but the seamless vision".seamless spelled like pant seam, then the cops want him talk because she has gone missing, the cops try to get him to tell them where she is at. as head when said "mistook the nods for an approval." "ignore the smoke and smile" meaning he's not gonna talk."she turning blue such a lovely color for you" mean since she is dead she is all his and he like her that way. i dk i could be totally off but i like my story better than the ones already posted._ren
  • Squid from Los Angeles, CaThe Whole Band has stated that this album (13th Step)is a theme album and Is not only in refference to drug addiction it self, but what the 13th step to the 12 step programs is, which is deailing with the world (More so you and ones who love you) perceptions of you and your addiction. For Blue, it is written from the view of someone like a parent, or mate, who refuses to see not only the damage, but the comming death. (Known as the enabler or sometime codependant) as such when the man person who's view we are hearing, even at time of death they are refusing to recongnize that there was ever a problem to begin with
  • Emily from Memphis, TnPeople always get APC and Tool lyrics wrong. ALL the time. Well, if you want accurate ones, straight from Maynard himself. go to:
    tool.down.net
    no www.
  • Jak from Dalton, GaIts about the way that people feel about someone elses sorrow, the feeling of uncaring and reluctanacy of listening to someone grieving for a lost loved one. the reluctancy of knowing that a friend or loved one of your friend dies, but you don't want to know,
    ignore the smoke and smile, go on with your life.
  • Bluefir111 from Epa, United Kingdomthis song can also be linked to someone that is going through a relationship break up and is trying not to awknowldge it at all. or this can be a song about revenge since it could be that someone is cheating on him and then hes getting a slow revenge since the line says "while i sit and stare at you"
  • Kyle from Shreveport, Laok maybe he is wanting someone else to help assure him what he wants to believe is true so the lyric is "call an optimist"
  • Lennie from Winston Salem, NcMUCH AGREEMENT WITH DevO1d THE best singer alive. Also, perhaps .....The death of one is viewed by MJK as being the ending of life for one in the family who saw his rough childhood, cared for him/he cared for them, ...but still he or she kept their f@#$%^g mouth shut and did nothing to help. Something many of us have seen.
  • Trent from Trabuco Cyn, CaAlthough the song would follow the theme of the album if it was about the denial of of your addiction causing you more harm than good. However knowing how MJK feels about religion I believe he is also taking a "stab" at "believing".
  • Jessica from Chattanooga, Tnwell going by the video whic isnt always true its about a girl who was psest with a guy and unbaries him and keeps him maybe they got that from 3 days i think that had to do with janes addiction dont rember how i found this out maybe it was a dream
  • Kayla from Somewhere, Nyalso i just found this about the lyrics but i'm still unsure because it doesn't sound like really either of then because i don't hear and IT like call IT aftermath i hear AN so i don't know which is right but here it is:
    "APC released a DVD/CD package entitled 'aMOTION'. During Maynard's commentary on the (contest winner) video for 'Blue', he quotes the song's lyrics as 'Call an optimist, she's turning blue.' I have yet to come across a lyric site that doesn't list 'Call it aftermath, she's turning blue' as the correct words."
  • Kayla from Somewhere, NyI heard that this song is about a girlfriend Maynard had who was using drugs and his friends kept telling him and telling him about it but he was in denial of the fact that she was basically killing herself right in front of him by using these drugs...
  • Ryan from Sheridan, WyThis song is definitely about denial, but not over a dead loved one. The name of the album is "The Thirteenth Step", as a reference to 12 step programs. The whole thing is about addiction. The big denial referenced here is the denial of having a substance abouse problem. Think about any alcoholic or drug addict you know, going about as if there is no problem even though the signs are there (ie. smoke would indicate a fire, being the problem). Examples; losing a job, losing touch with friends or family due to changes in behavior. "Mistook the nods for an approval"; haven't you ever nodded at someone who was being an ass because you could think of nothing else to say? The problem continues when the addict in question escelates use because it's easier to ignore the problem than to face it-"I didn't want to know."
  • Jeremy from Fayetteville, NcPersonally, I get the impression that the song is about denial. Possibly the singer is talking about the passing of a loved one, however in the chorus, he's talking about almost being happy about it, possibly it's an ex-girlfriend he still harbors feelings for, but he also hates at the same time. In the chorus 'ignore the smoke and smile,' possibly he's smoking some mind-alertering substance and having a halucinations about her.
  • Sam from Austin, Txin the lyrics for blue at the top of the page it says "call it aftermath, shes turning blue" while in the song it says "call an OPTIMIST shes turning blue". hmmmmmmm
  • Justin from Indianapolis, InI think the song is about the near-impossible to get rid of feelings associated with being betrayed, particularly, being cheated on.

    The simple line "I didn't want to know" is one heard from many people regarding their significant other's extramarital relations. If they exist, they just don't want to know... it's easier that way. It's not heart-rending and life-destroying.

    "Best to keep things in the shallow end, because I never quite learned how to swim" is a parallel with the inability to deal with the selfish, hateful actions of others. It also explains why one "wouldn't want to know".

    "close my eyes and ignore the smoke" is one's way of coping, dealing, moving into a stable enough position to react and take care of the problem. One removes oneself from the conflict and issue to gather broken pieces, forcing themselves to look beyond the issue, or aftermath, which would cause "the smoke".

    "She's turning blue, such a lovely color for you" is talking about two seperate people, or else it would have said 'such a lovely color for her': one who has died, a woman, and is blue, probably by drowning or strangulation, because these are the two kinds of deaths other than hypothermia associated with being exceptionally blue... and previously, there was already a reference to water. This figure is probably the one whom the narrator's significant other cheated with, possibly dead by the narrator's hands, proverbially if not literally. "such a lovely color for you" implies that the narrator has entertained thoughts of doing the same to the significant other.

    "Mistook their nods for an approval" relates to the fact that the narrator knew the person involved in the affair at some point, looking back and thinking about the time where they were unaware of the situation. But he again "ignores the smoke and smiles" because he's trying to move beyond the issue, despite the lingering, haunting smoke of the aftermath.

    Or maybe I butchered it. But it certainly appealed to me this way.
  • Kat from Richard City, TnBlue is about someone not wanting to know that someone's dead. The fact that maynor says "She's turning blue, Why don't I just sit and stare at you" is saying "she's turning blue" and once some one passes away they get blue around parts of their face no matter what make up and it may be at wake because the whole sit and stare. The fact that he says "Perfect color for your eyes" makes a sympathy vibe. Maybe the person was cremated and that's why they say "ignore the smoke and smile." I just think that the person just wants to ignore the fact that the person passed away and just figure that he can still talk to that person who passed away so it doesnt hurt them as much.....
    -Kat
  • Dev01d from Wollongong, AustraliaTo make the filmclip for this song there was an online competition. The winner and 3 runner's up can be found on the aMOTION DVD. I'm pretty dure MJK says the song is about denying the truth to the point where the person dies and their friend/relative whatever still won't accept what's happened. Hence in the filmclip the lady is having a meal with her dead husband. That's what I basically got from it anyway. Great song though and THE best singer in rock music.
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