From Tool’s inception back in the ‘90s, they’ve been redefining the boundaries of rock.
The band features Maynard James Keenan on vocals, Adam Jones on guitar, Justin Chancellor on bass, and Danny Carey on drums - four dudes who know how to make some music masterpieces.
Tool use intricate rhythms and captivating soundscapes of progressive metal, and their sound takes on a complex blend of metal, art rock, and a splash of psychedelic flavour. With die-hard fans around the world, including a solid New Zealand fanbase - they must've been high in The Rock 2000 countdown.
Let’s open up the huge spreadsheet of Rock 2000 data from across the years (including Rock 500, Rock 1000, and Rock 1500 countdowns), to get a definitive list of Tool’s best-performing songs in The Rock 2000, as voted by Rock listeners.
The 15 best-performing Tool songs across all Rock 2000 countdowns:
15. No Quarter (2000)
"No Quarter" is a cover of a Led Zeppelin classic featured on Tool's "Salival" album, but with a darker interpretation that reflects Tool’s unique style. This version adds to the classic track by extending its length and incorporating synthesisers.
Though it’s never reached the top 100 in The Rock 2000 countdown, it’s appeared seven times with an average ranking of around #550, peaking at #300 in 2019.
14. Fear Inoculum (2019)
The title track "Fear Inoculum" marked Tool's return after a 13-year hiatus. The song represents the overarching theme of the album, focusing on wisdom gained with age. With its complex rhythmic patterns and over 10-minute runtime, it exemplifies Tool's signature progressive style.
The song has appeared in The Rock 2000 every year since its release, peaking at #68 the year of its release, and maintaining a median ranking of #172.5.
13. Prison Sex (1993)
Tool's "Prison Sex" from "Undertow" has made nine appearances in Rock 2000 countdowns.
The song deals with themes of abuse and healing, with a controversial video directed by lead singer Maynard James Keenan. Its jarring visuals and metaphorical imagery complement the song's dark subject matter, highlighting Tool's penchant for pushing boundaries.
‘Prison Sex’ has maintained a solid average ranking of #327 across its nine Rock 2000 appearances, peaking at #130 in 2016.
12. Jambi (2006)
"Jambi" is featured on the "10,000 Days" album, and the title refers to a character from the TV show "Pee-wee's Playhouse." With its heavy riffs and use of a talk box, the track showcases Tool's ability to blend traditional rock elements with their progressive style.
Jambi has never slipped lower than the #257 mark in the six appearances it's made in the Rock 2000, with a peak of #115.
11. H (1996)
From "Ænima", "H" has appeared 13 times in The Rock 2000. The song's ambiguous lyrics have sparked various interpretations, with some believing it explores Maynard's relationship with his son. Its blend of soft verses and intense choruses illustrates Tool's mastery of dynamics, making it an emotional standout in their catalogue.
“H” has a solid average ranking of #318 in The Rock 2000 countdown, and while that’s a higher average than ‘Jambi,’ it’s appeared over double the amount of times in the countdown.
10. Parabola (2001)
From Tool’s "Lateralus" album, ‘Parabola’ and its accompanying video serve as a meditation on transcendence and unity. Its intricate musicianship and philosophical lyrics reflect Tool's commitment to exploring deeper spiritual and existential themes within their music.
Appearing across 15 Rock 2000 countdowns, the track sits around the #291 average ranking, with a peak of #81 in 2019.
9. Vicarious (2006)
"Vicarious," featured on "10,000 Days", explores society's obsession with violence and media.
It’s appeared in The Rock 2000 11 times, holding a solid average ranking of #188, and never dropping out of the top 500.
8. Lateralus (2001)
Also from "Lateralus", the title track is renowned for its alignment with the Fibonacci sequence, the song's lyrics follow a mathematical pattern. This unique approach to songwriting represents Tool's willingness to merge art, music, and mathematics into a cohesive whole.
Appearing across 16 countdowns, ‘Lateralus’ has an average ranking of #289 and a median ranking of #117, peaking at a solid #35.
We’ll be honest - the stats for ‘Vicarious’ and ‘Lateralus’ were pretty similar, and while ‘Vicarious’ holds a lower average, the latter has appeared in five more countdowns and holds a lower median ranking.
7. Eulogy (1996)
This track from "Ænima" has made seven appearances in countdowns, and is rumoured to be about various public figures, with the song criticising hero worship and blind following.
‘Eulogy’ has rated high in its seven Rock 2000 appearances, and on average has a solid #98 ranking, reaching as high as #41 in 2019.
6. Schism (2001)
"Schism," another track from "Lateralus", has appeared a solid 19 times in The Rock 2000. With its odd time signatures, the song is a technical marvel and has become symbolic of Tool's complex style. It's often interpreted as a metaphor for miscommunication, reflecting the need for emotional connection in relationships.
Schism has a solid median ranking of #96, an average rank of #257, and reached a solid high of #23 last year (2022.)
5. Aenema (1996)
"Aenema" is from the album "Ænima" - and yes the spelling is bloody confusing. The song serves as a harsh critique of Hollywood culture, combining humour with biting commentary.
With 14 countdown appearances, and an average rank of #162, Aenema is always a pretty strong player in The Rock 2000. It peaked at #20 in 2016, and hasn’t dropped out of the top 100 since then.
4. Forty Six & 2 (1996)
Also from "Ænima,” “Forty Six & 2” explores Jungian psychology and personal transformation, with its title referring to an evolutionary step in human chromosomes. Its deep thematic content and musical prowess have made it a live favourite.
The track has appeared across a solid 20 countdowns, and even cracked the top 10 last year (2022), coming in at #6. It has an average of #237 - which is a pretty impressive average to hold considering it’s nearly appeared in all Rock 2000 countdowns.
3. The Pot (2006)
"The Pot," featured on "10,000 Days", takes a critical look at hypocrisy, using the metaphor of a pot calling a kettle black.
It maintained a position in the top 10 from 2018 to 2021, slipping out last year (2022) at #13 - still a very impressive number to be at.
2. Stinkfist (1996)
"Stinkfist," from "Ænima" (1996), is another strong contender in The Rock 2000.
The song explores desensitisation and sensory overload, and was a commercial success, despite its controversial title and subject matter.
‘Stinkfist’ has reached a spot that not many have reached in The Rock 2000 - it won the coveted #1 spot in 2014, and appeared in the top 10 at #8 in 2016.
Across its 21 countdown appearances, ‘The Pot’ has maintained an incredible average rank of #30, and has never dropped out of the top 80.
1. Sober ( 1993)
"Sober," was the released as the first single from Tool’s debut album “Undertow,” and is without a doubt the band’s most successful song in The Rock 2000.
While many interpret the song as dealing directly with substance abuse, lead singer Maynard James Keenan has stated that it's more broadly about obsessions and the things that people use to anaesthetise themselves. The refrain "Why can't we not be sober?" encapsulates the song's painful questioning of self-control and longing for clarity.
Like “Stinkfist,” “Sober” has appeared across 21 Rock 2000 countdowns, and took out the #1 position in 2013. Furthermore, it’s appeared in the top 10 a total of eight times (2002, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, & 2019).
‘Sober’ has an incredible average rank of #17, and has never slipped out of the top 50 in all of its countdown appearances, solidifying it as Tool’s most successful Rock 2000 song, as voted by Rock listeners.
Tool’s remarkable catalogue continues to resonate with not only Rock listeners and in The Rock 2000 countdown, but around the world.