Opiate
by Tool

Songfacts®:

  • This relates to Karl Marx's statement that "Religion is the opiate of the masses." People relied on the church for direction in their lives, and carried on with their lives. Marx felt that the church kept people from "waking up and smelling the coffee." This is one of the themes of the CD: the band makes fun of the way people let others think for them. That is, it's one thing to have religious beliefs, but it's another thing to let someone else interpret those beliefs and force them on you. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Landon - Effingham, IL
  • A telephone rings at the very end of the song. it starts at 4:44 and rings only twice. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    robynowitz - greenville, NC
  • According to Tool drummer Danny Carey in Revolver Magazine Presents Tool, "A lot of the songs for Undertow were already written when we did Opiate, but we felt like no one would take us seriously unless we recorded only our most aggressive, in-your-face song and put them out there at one time. And I think that got us typecast as a metal band. It's kind of funny, because the song I thought was the least aggressive, 'Opiate,' was the more popular on the record." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jamin King - Puyallup, WA

Comments: 50

  • Eric from United StatesRE: Danny Carey's comment about Opiate being surprisingly popular: I doubt Danny Carey will ever read this, but the reason that song took off is because it is the birthplace of what would become Tool drums in years to come. The others on the album were plenty capable, but easy enough for any relatively experienced drummer to replicate. "Opiate" is really the first piece on a released album where we see a prelude to what you became in Ænima and beyond. I love Undertow, but the followup album is really where you started to truly differentiate yourself and become one of the most intricate drummers of all time. Even the Rush, Dream Theater, etc. crowd begrudgingly put you in the top five, but Tool is doing it with an astonishingly unique sound that always manages to be ahead of the times, unlike those previously mentioned who are doing a fantastic job of mastering the 80's.
  • Eric from United StatesFirst of all, thumbs down for not having dates on posts here... Those below this could be 20 years old.

    It's rather baffling to me that this song's message isn't loud and clear to everyone, but I guess people hear what they want to hear.

    The entire song is sung from conversing perspectives of Jesus (or perhaps priests) and someone finding religion. It's a harsh criticism to how weak a mind it must be to buy into it. "Just do everything I tell you to do. Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow. What you need is someone strong to guide you... like me".

    Religion exists by indoctrinating the minds of children so that it's already a firmly held belief by the time one can make his own decisions. If you heard the story of any religion at age 30, you would roll your eyes and laugh at the idiocy... just as every religious person does with religions other than his own.

    Note: I'm not starting a religious debate here. I don't care what asinine beliefs you have. Maynard and I agree that you are too weak to have your own moral compass and have to externalize your morality through religion.
  • Luke from Manchester, United KingdomMaynard doesn't sing "Satan" at the end of Opiate, the song you're listening to is a hidden track called "The Gaping Lotus Experience."
  • Jachin from Lee\\, MoI am a christian but however I do believe it is showing how some of its theories can be invalid, in the sense of making someone love you and respect them with out their consent ( raping them ). Along with stating to blind them when they open their eyes, and that people are born dumb or walking retards ( which in a sense maybe true ) but he is the only one to make them right. Which in a sense may baffle the masses, and to make it worse at the end of the song sing "SATAN!!"

    So in a way it is to show the sides of christianity that doesn't make sense but to also piss off the people who won't take another point of view other
    people.
  • Hildy from Los, CaLove the song very much was forced into catholic religion as a child was not a good experience so all I get from it is Catholic Priests=Child and Mind Molesters or Rapists...yup jaded
  • Dillon from Orlando, FlCody an opiate is any drug or narcotic that originates from the poppy plant
  • Uros from Belgrade, Yugoslavia@cody->Karl Marx actualy said "...ist das OPIUM des Volkes" which means it is the opium of the people, BUT its transated to many languages including mine (serbian) and english as opiate of the masses so ur kind both right.
  • Cody from St Joe, Moand im pretty confidant the marx did say "opiate". and that marx statement has absolutely nothing to do with opium
  • Cody from St Joe, Moan opiate is a word used to describe basically anything that you can get addicted to. coffee and soda could be opiates. in this case its definitly about how religion blinds people who just want the easy definition of life
  • Jon from West Bend, IaMichael, Marx DID say "opiate," and opiate is not a main ingredient in opium. An opiate is anything derived from the opium poppy. For example: Opium, morphine, heroin.
  • Derek from Boston, MaOk, I would just like to comment on a few misconceptions people seem to have with this song.
    "Maynard says during a number of shows:"Ever heard of Jesus, or Buddha, or Krushna, or Mohammed? they had some pretty good ideas, then their agents tryed to make some money off of them and f---ed everything up, never trust an agent this song is about those agents." He is talking about agents in the MUSIC industry!"

    No, it is not about the music industry. The "agents" would an analogy for people who use religion (initially well intentioned concepts) for their own power, wealth, and personal gain. Like they are trying to "sell" their religion.

    "Why does everyone assume the entire song is on relegion... Yeah obviously Maynards refrencing Jesus being a "Savior" and i'm thinking although he is making it clear that he is not convinced about jesus, how I understand it is... He is comparing himself to god "If you want to get your soul to heaven, trust in me.Don't judge or question.You are broken now, but faith can heal you.Just do everything I tell you to do.Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.Let me lay MY HOLY hand upon you.""

    The song IS about religion. Maynard is clearly talking from a religious authority's point of view in that part of the song, not his own.
  • Haus from Syracuse, NyIf you actually listen to the lyrics its about most of you.
  • John from Pittsburgh, PaI seen a live version of this song on youtube and there was a guy dressed up like Jeses. Maynard said "This song's about him."
  • Brandon from Manchester, United KingdomThere is a hillarious hidden track at the end!
  • Nick from Chicago, IlI do not believe this song is an anti-religious song, it is an anti not believing in your own beliefs song. He is saying there is no one on this Earth that you can follow and tell you everything you need to know. "My Gods will
    becomes me. When he speaks out, he speaks through me. He has needs like I do. We both want
    to rape you." This statement is clearly mocking the idea that there is one person that God speaks through (Jesus Christ he then references later in the song) and when it comes down to it whoever is feeding you their theological rhetoric is just as human as you and has the same restraints and weaknesses.
  • Michael from Heers, BelgiumFirst of all, Karl Marx said 'Religion is the OPIUM of the masses, not the Opiate.' But as opiate is a main ingredient in opium, the rest is still a true comment. This song is about religion. About how people are too blind and deaf to real problems and trust in some guy talking about a godlike being. I think he wants to say, in a comical way, if you really need some guy to follow blindly and put your money into, pick me instead of another god. It's hilarious in a way.
  • Tom from Bellingham, WaIn response to the quote posted by Shadows in Eagle, WI: In case anyone is interested, the New Testament was written in Greek not Aramaic. The words Yahweh or Jehovah are Hebrew (YHVH)and they are the name for God in the Old Testament. It's rough translation is "I am the one who is" or "Self existent One". Jehovah or Yahweh does not mean light or love, although those are charateristics of Yahweh :) In the original Greek, John 1:1 is pretty straight foward, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "THEOS" means God, and "LOGOS" means word...no other way to translate it. Later in John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Again "LOGOS" means word and "SARKS" means flesh.
    If the quote is accurate it seems Maynard has some misconceptions concerning Christianity. Content aside, I like Tool, very solid band. But it's too bad he feels the way he does, especially if he feel strongly enough about it to spread his misconception to others.
  • Shadows from Eagle, Wireligion and faith: quote by maynard himself on a dvd comentary for the song judith

    "This sort of behavior is left to the psychotic, dogmatic, fundamentalist believers you see on T.V. everyday letting off bombs and killing people in the name of God. Beliefs are dangerous. Beliefs allow the mind to stop functioning. A non-functioning mind is clinically dead. Believe in everything and nothing."

    "John 1:1--"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God." In the original Aramaic text, that word was Yahweh or Jehovah, which means light and love. We've twisted it to mean this guy with a beard passing judgement, but it's not. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was Love and Light; infinite, unconditional, and without judgement. At that point you can pretty much close the book, you know?"
  • Mauricio from San Jose, CaI also hate people who try to convert people into their beliefs. I'm a Catholic, and beleive in what I BELIVE, not in what the church wants me to believe. I admit, that I base my belifs in th church's, but it's not exactly the same. I just try to follow God my way, and in the end, it is what makes me happy. It is the same for the ones who don't belive. They don't want anyone to came to them telling them what to believe. At the same time, I get annoyed when non-belivers try to convince people there is no God... If they hate so much when eligious people try to convert them, why they keep trying to prove something un-proveable?
    I think we all should live our lives and not others'
  • Defy from Wellington, New Zealandi think he just put the phone ringing there cos he could, it's just a sound put in yo make us ask why? random sounds are like cool and stuff. The mans only human
  • Jake Gignac from Belle River, CanadaMaynard and Tool are brilliant, best band out there
  • Jen from Braidwood, Ilto answer the questions about if maynard is anti-christian..he is, but he's anti-organized religion...look at the song Judith from A Perfect Circle (one of maynards other bands), but Opiate is saying that everyone may start off with a good idea and mean well, but eventually humans change and become hungry for power whether it be for security in money or religion...and the lyric in the song "we both want to rape you" means that everyone wants something out of everyone else....simple as that
  • Matt from Cleveland, Oh....this is a song about how everyone in society follows each other...noone thinking for themselves "born to follow"...which is all what religion is following someone elses beliefs...maynard says "If you want to get your soul to heaven,trust in me. Don't judge or question." hes saying how everyone wants to get to heaven by believeing in a faith to lead u there...towards the end when he says "he has needs like i do...we both want to rape u" ... well whenever something good happens people always thank god and wen something bad happens its always gods fault..so wen maynard says we both want rape u... its juss the rapist looking for an excuse to get away with his mistakes
  • Adam from Wauseon, OhPeople people...i dont know why all you say this stuff...none of you really know!!! This is Maynards music, nots yours!!! Unless one person on here is Maynard disguised, or Maynard told you personlly. Then you will know.
  • Sarah from Salt Lake City, UtI think that the phone ringing is intended to be a distraction from other things going on in the background.
  • Brianne from Phoeniz, AzWhat's up with the hidden track? We they just high as hell, or where did that come from?
  • Wendyrx from Lynnwood, WaMaynard says during a number of shows:"Ever heard of Jesus, or Buddha, or Krushna, or Mohammed? they had some pretty good ideas, then their agents tryed to make some money off of them and f---ed everything up, never trust an agent this song is about those agents."
    He is talking about agents in the MUSIC industry! Not the agents and priests of Jesus, Buddha, etc.
    I can't believe that this many people didn't know this.
  • Christine from Belmont, NhWhy does everyone assume the entire song is on relegion... Yeah obviously Maynards refrencing Jesus being a "Savior" and i'm thinking although he is making it clear that he is not convinced about jesus, how I understand it is... He is comparing himself to god "If you want to get your soul to heaven, trust in me.Don't judge or question.You are broken now, but faith can heal you.Just do everything I tell you to do.Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.Let me lay MY HOLY hand upon you." I see it as him talking to someone, one person in this song. A person he dominates because the person is weak and doesnt, cant, or wont think for Her self.>>> this is why i say HER "He has needs like I do. We both want to rape you" The song is great no matter what the hell he is talking about... Maynard would win the comparison match... Don't you think?
  • Jordan from Oakwood, GaIf you ever get the rare opportunity to listen to the Tool bootleg 'Lachrymology' he explains that, in his opinion, all major religious figures, be it Ghandi, Jesus, Mohammed, etc., had good ideas but none were completely right. He then goes to say that this song is from the view of a crooked evangelist pushing his belief.
  • Kevin from Independence, Mo"I'd venture to guess that Maynard is anti organized religion. He certainly seems to be very spiritual and is hardly a clear-cut atheist, but he also seems to very much value thinking for one's self, and not just swallowing the premade beliefs of others as the followers of organized religions do.- Peter, Ottawa, Canada"
    "I have always wondered if Maynard is anti god. As in the idea of one super natural being that created and rules the universe. Or just anti jesus, God of the christians.Just something to think about.- Robert, Seattle, WA"
    Did either of you morons stop to think, just for a second that the song could be him singing to a spiritually lost person. Hey it is very easy to guide someone spiritually. If you open your minds a little more instead of your mouths you WILL understand that there is more to life than your close minded christian values.
  • Peter from Ottawa, CanadaI'd venture to guess that Maynard is anti organized religion. He certainly seems to be very spiritual and is hardly a clear-cut atheist, but he also seems to very much value thinking for one's self, and not just swallowing the premade beliefs of others as the followers of organized religions do.
  • Robert from Seattle, WaI have always wondered if Maynard is anti god. As in the idea of one super natural being that created and rules the universe. Or just anti jesus, God of the christians.Just something to think about.
  • David from Grandy, NcI think the phone ringing in the background repersents the call of religon but as you can tell it is not answered
  • David from Grandy, NcI think the phone ringing in the background repersents the call of religon but as you noticed it is not answered.
  • George from Hell, PaDid anyone hear the Layne Staley w/Tool version, if so does anyone know where I can find it. P.S. You can find the Maynard w/Chains Man in the Box on Ares if you're interested.
  • Anthony from Newport News, VaIn my opinion, this song translates to meaning people follow a religion, or anything that appeals to them. When he says deaf, and blind, and dumb and born to follow; it's true. Also, when he says what you need is someone strong to guide you, like me. It shows that people will follow anything. Anyway, just a 16 year olds opinion :) take it like ya want it.
  • Rob from Lititz, PaSome have said that it has a lot to do with Nietzsche's quote "Religion is the opiate of the masses", which directly correllates with Marx's quote, "Religion is the Opiate of the People". It is my belief, through examining these quotes, that we are somewhat sedated through religion, and anything that we are taught -- anything we are told -- will register as the ultimate truth.
  • Meagan Wilson from Afton, OkIt's about how people want so much to have a dictator that they will listen to anyone who has the best offer.
  • Jake from Miami, Flreligion is the opiate of the masses, but if you stop there then your just as well off as a christian. Atheism is a opiate as well. These numb you from the truth, that everything is one. when maynard wrote most of this alblum, he only realized half of the truth. By the time he wrote aenima and lateralus, he obtained the gift of disernment. music is just a TooL.
  • A Demon Hunter from Away From You :)As we all know, Tool can be a very anti-religious group. Just because Tool tells you religion sucks doesnt mean you should turn away from it.
    Heck, I found religion was the best thing for me. So I guess the point is, don't let Tool make your religious opinions for you. Decide that yourself.
  • Topher from Chicago, Ilyeah... it's a soft ring around 4:40... not so much a ring... but if you listen you hear something different
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohchristian from boston kinda has an ironic name... maybe they're angry about this?
  • Unknown from La, CaThe phone ringing means you gotta answer the call..........the call for religion/being a Christian. They are mocking religion with it.
  • Jake from Traverse City, MiMaynard says himself in an interview and in a couple live concerts. "Ever heard of Jesus, or Buddha, or Krushna, or Mohammed? they had some pretty good ideas, then their agents tryed to make some money off of them and f---ed everything up, never trust an agent this song is about those agents." So what he's saying is all the religious prophets had great ideas but somewhere along the line it got f'ed up by some priest or agent.
  • Christian from Boston, MaReligion IS the opiate of the masses, it is nothing but the truth. People need to wake up and stop living in their hopeless phantasms of faith. The Bible, along with all these other religious texts are nothing more than storybooks and I truly pity those who base their whole lives around it.
  • Ben from Clemmons, Ndmaybe you all just have s**tty headphones or somethin cus all i hear are some well thought out overdrive placements . . .
  • Flavio from Miami, Fli love it when tool puts those random noises in there songs it just makes them so much more interesting
  • John from Boca Raton, FlHmmm, is the phone ringing a tribute to Led Zeppelin? They covered Zeppelin's "No Quarter". On the Zeppelin song "The Ocean" a phone rings twice at about the minute-and-a-half mark.
  • Nick from Berea, KyI think that i heard a phone ringing in it somewhere near the end.
  • Nick from Paramus, NjIt is said that you can hear a phone ringing in the background somewhere in this song. I haven't noticed it so I can't tell you where.
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