You’d Better Listen

August 29, 2006

The official lyrics for the Tool song Rosetta Stoned have been released. They are below. The bits in bold are just bits that were unknown before.

Alrighty, then … picture this if you will.

10 to 2 AM, X, Yogi DMT, and a box of Krispy Kremes,
in my “need to know” pose, just outside of Area 51
Contemplating the whole “chosen people” thingy
when a flaming stealth banana split the sky
like one would hope but never really expect
to see in a place like this.
Cutting right angle donuts on a dime
and stopping right at my Birkenstocks,
and me yelping…

Holy fucking shit!

Then the X-Files being,
Looking like some kind of blue-green Jackie Chan
with Isabella Rossellini lips, and breath that reeked of
vanilla Chig Champa
Did a slow-mo Matrix descent
Outta the butt end of the banana vessel
And hovered above
my bug-eyes, my gaping jaw,
and my sweaty L. Ron Hubbard upper lip,
and all I could think was:
“I hope Uncle Martin here doesn’t notice
that I pissed my fuckin’ pants.”

So light in his way,
Like an apparition, [that]
He had me crying out,
“Fuck me
It’s gotta be
the Deadhead Chemistry
The blotter got [right] on top of me
Got me seein’ E-motherfuckin’-T!”

And after calming me down
with some orange slices
and some fetal spooning,
E.T. revealed to me his singular purpose.
He said, “You are the Chosen One,
the One who will deliver the message.
A message of hope for those who choose to hear it
and a warning for those who do not.”
Me. The Chosen One?
They chose me!!!
And I didn’t even graduate from fuckin’ high school.

You’d better…
You’d better…
You’d better…
You’d better listen.

Then he looked right through me
With somniferous almond eyes
Don’t even know what that means
Must remember to write it down
This is so real
Like the time Dave floated away
See, my heart is pounding
‘Cause this shit never happens to me

I can’t breathe right now!

It was so real,
Like I woke up in Wonderland.
All sorta terrifying
I don’t wanna be all alone
While I tell this story.
And can anyone tell me why
Y’all sound like Peanuts parents?
Will I ever be coming down?
This is so real
Finally, it’s my lucky day
See, my heart is racing
‘Cause this shit never happens to me

I can’t breathe right now!

You believe me, don’t you?
Please believe what I’ve just said!
See the Dead ain’t touring
And this wasn’t all in my head.
See, they took me by the hand
And invited me right in.
Then they showed me something
I don’t even know where to begin.

Strapped down [to] my bed
Feet cold [and] eyes red
I’m out of my head
Am I alive? Am I dead?
Can’t remember what they said
God damn, shit the bed.

Hey …

Overwhelmed as one would be, placed in my position.
Such a heavy burden now to be the One
Born to bear and bring to all the details of our ending,
To write it down for all the world to see.

But I forgot my pen
Shit the bed again …

Strapped down [to] my bed
Feet cold and eyes red
I’m out of my head
Am I alive? Am I dead?
Sunkist and Sudafed
Gyroscopes and infrared
Won’t help, I’m brain dead
Can’t remember what they said
God damn, shit the bed

I can’t remember what they said to me
Can’t remember what they said to make me out to be the hero
Can’t remember what they said
Bob help me!
Can’t remember what they said

[We] don’t know, [and we] won’t know (x12)

God damn, shit the bed!

I definitely think that like the Rosetta Stone, this song is in three parts – all working in different layers but all saying the same thing. The centre of the song is the bad trip as a metaphor for someone who was shown something and did not then act on it for the better and has now become strapped down and is helpless, hence the “shit the bed” line. On one level, the lyrics could reflect that the band themselves showed people a vision on their aspirational, inspirational, realisational etc. etc. epic 2001 album Lateralus. They have even been quoted as saying that this is their blues album.

But, as always, the real beauty of Tool’s music is that it is open to interpretation in every way. However, I do think that Rosetta Stoned definitely laments in a cynical disbelieving way at the bad tripper… Mocking them for shitting the bed and basically stuffing up what they were shown through their own clumsiness and stupidity. Who the bad tripper is (is it humanity? Is it a personal story? Is it a targeted group? Is is all three?) remains a mystery – but again, that lets us team our imagination up with our open mind to interpret… A very cool song.


One comment

  1. The real meaning behind this “song” might not be so deep. Think of it as digging a well in an lake. You’r already there, stop digging. Could a stranger thing happen? why would maynerd (or whoever)write this song and stress “Please believe what I’ve just said!” Look at the next two “And this wasn’t all in my head.” & “And invited me right in.” The real question you should ask is WHO IS “THEY”

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