It’s Saturday night when I can finally sit down and listen to the new Tool album. I’ve not been listening to the band for that long. It’s not like I’ve been avoiding them, there’s just a lot of music out there, and I listen to a lot of it and Tool have just never crossed my path. But after they were announced for Download this year I thought it was time to give them a chance. Since then, I’ve listened to and purchased all four of their albums, and I’ve slowly started to become a fan.
When Maynard announced that everything they’ve ever recorded will be available to stream online, and that includes the new album, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping I could get it on CD, but looking at the price of it, £79.99, I thought streaming would be the better option. I don’t know what the deal is with the high price. Maybe they want to discourage people from buying the CD/Vinyl and just stream it instead. But at £79.99, for an album? That’s a gig ticket for a lot of people.
But I’ve got snacks, and I’ve got beer, and I’m ready for nearly 90 minutes of music, covered over ten songs. I give the opener a miss considering I’ve already listened to it earlier in the week. I open my first beer, click on track two and get stuck into my crisps. I’ve not had Disco salt and vinegar crisps since I was a child, and I highly recommend them as a perfect snack when listening to a long album like this.
Coming near to the end of the track Invincible that’s when I become distracted. I’ve forgotten about Pneuma, and I’m two beers in, one packet down and I’ve still got nearly an hour left on the album to go.
I look around the room for things to do as Descending reaches the six minute mark. I don’t have anything to read, so I get up and look out the window, but there’s nothing outside to look at, just people walking their dogs, kids kicking a football down the street and a police helicopter hovering over the park.
I open up my fourth beer during Culling Voices, and it feels like we’ve still got a long way to go.
I don’t know what to think of these long albums and long songs. I’m not so sure whether it can come across as pretentious at times or whether it’s just to fill space. I always thought the perfect album length would be around the 40 minute mark with ten songs. Maybe even a hidden track. I’ve still got three songs to go and my beers already going flat. But one thing I am sure about, the long instrumentals do showcase their talent as musicians.
During the middle of Culling Voices, I think about how important an album cover would be right now. I would love to be sitting here looking through pages of an album sleeve. I like streaming albums, but being a music fan and a fan of albums, it’s always nice to have a physical copy of the sleeve in your hands. Something to look at, read the lyrics and admire the artwork. It’s hard to get that when you’re streaming an album. Owning the last four albums Tool have done, I know they can do a good album sleeve. And I’m missing that, but right now I don’t think this album is really worth nearly £80. I’d rather spend that on a gig.
7empest, the second to last song on the album. A fifteen minute long track. And as I pointed out, a booklet with lyrics would go down well with this song. I understand I could just search online, but I’m too lazy to do that, and I’ve got one more beer to get through. I hope I can make it last the whole 15 minutes.
Two minutes in, I forget about my beer, and I don’t bother opening the next bag of disco crisps. Cheese and onion have never been my favourite anyway. They remind me of horrible school pack lunches and pub snacks to keep the kids quiet.
8 minutes in, beer is going flat and I realise this is the best track on the album, at least in my opinion anyway. It’s the only track to really hold my attention.
15 minutes on, easily the best on the album. I look at my beer and wonder whether I should drink it or not. Flat beer never works, but I drink it anyway. Can’t waste good drink, even if it has died.
The closer Mockingbeat, seems like a typical Tool way to close the album. I have no opinion on it, I’m looking around for another drink and wondering if I should just risk the cheese and onion crisps. But I don’t. No matter what’s going on in your life, going on in the world or no matter what album you’re listening to or movie you’re watching, Cheese and Onion crisps aren’t worth it.
I know I’m not a die hard fan of Tool, I’m new to the game, so it’s hard to really get around an album this long. I found myself becoming more and more distracted with other things. They’re great musicians, but when snacks and drinks take your attention away, it’s hard to get completely behind an album this long. I would rather spend £80 to go see them live, rather than spending it on the album.
Maybe I’ll wait till I come staggering in at one in the morning after spending time in the pub before I give it another listen. Maybe even try a marathon Tool listen. Get up nice and early, get a good breakfast down and take it from the start.