Los Angeles Skyline
If everything East of the San Andreas Fault fell into the Atlantic ocean, California would double its current coastline. And Tool would be even more pissed.
As it is, if you ever need an Old Testament prophet to call upon the Dude Deity To The Extreme to go all Sodom-and-Gomorrah on your least favorite city, just get Maynard James Keenan to show you how it's done. He'll show up with his electric guitar and proceed to cast a hoodoo with extra mojo on your target, laying down the divine smackdown in a rarely seen art form we commonly call "a curse."
Plenty of curse words in the lyrics, too. The target of Tool's "Ænema," a single from their successful triple-platinum 1996 album Ænima
, is none other than El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciancula - better known to we short-winded people as L.A. And his ire - let's just take the order...
He hopes for Armageddon. Hopes for the Big Splash - when California drops into the Pacific, courtesy of that fault we mentioned earlier - and says he'll see you in Arizona Bay. Calls a kibosh on lattes, lawsuits, hairpieces, Prozac, etc. Can't fix it, flush it all away. Predict comet from the sky, meteor showers, tidal waves. Anti-L. Ron Hubbard, his clones, gun-toting hipster wannabes. Tattoos, junkies...
And what's the deal with airline food, huh? Actually, the part about "Arizona Bay" really is taken from a stand-up comedy skit by Bill Hicks. Which should be a hint: don't take it all so seriously. Even the lyrics say towards the end: "Don't just call me pessimist; try and read between the lines." Tool is a progressive rock band, and while this song is only partially coming off as humorous, it has within its provocative parts a kernel of common aggravation shared by all Americans, at the dredges of American culture.
Downtown Los Angeles
It doesn't matter if you're talking about Los Angeles or anywhere else. You find annoying people on Prozac sipping lattes while they arrange lawsuits over their mobile phones in just about any major city. Wherever you stand on Scientology, you have to admit that there is some division out there between people who practice it and people who hate it. By the way, this is one of the few, if not only, songs to mention L. Ron Hubbard by his full name. The modern Internet-based group known as "Anonymous" (look for their Guy Fawkes masks at a Wal-Mart near you!) would approve.
So in the end, we have very little in this song that is specific to L.A. You could find a lot of the same in New York, Miami, or Austin, Texas. But when the lowest of American society rears its head, it does kind of happen in California first. This is why James Brady said, "We can see California coming, and we're scared."
The album itself was composed and recorded at the Ocean Way studio in Hollywood, California, and at The Hook studio in North Hollywood, California. We can't think of a better place than North Hollywood to stand in condemnatory judgment of all that you can see to the horizon. And on break, you can go across the street to the Starbucks and get in line with the other yuppies for your venti triple-latte. You just know they
Browse all Songplaces