A Song That I Listen To When I’m Angry | Pushing and Shoving Me

21 Jul | 30 days of music / art / music / personal | 2 comments

I am naturally a very emotional person. I tend to feel things powerfully, take things personally, and react in kind.

This is, for my purposes, a negative personal quality.

As a consequence, I’ve spent a good portion of my adulthood more or less suppressing my emotions. Not completely, of course; it wouldn’t suit my temperament. Just enough to keep me from getting hurt too much or hurting others.

When I was in high school, my best friend introduced me to a LOT of music. Some of it was terrible. Some of it was amazing. Some of it was so fantastic it changed my worldview. It’s fairly safe to say that all of it, though, had a serious effect so far as shaping who I am musically is concerned. Which is to say that it’s his fault you’re reading this, I guess.

One of the bands to which he turned me on is Tool. Back then, I loved them. Yes, I counted myself a follower of a band that those who don’t like them refer to as “the first band named after their fans.”

It’s funny, sadly, because it’s mostly true. Only mostly, though. I don’t consider myself a tool. Well, maybe sometimes, a tiny screwdriver or something. But, you know, not like a table saw or anything.


I’ve grown apart from Tool as I’ve grown up. There are a few reasons for this. For one, I think their newer material is simply weaker. It’s good, yes, but it just doesn’t have the same impact on me that their earlier music did. Then there’s the course of changing taste as time passes. I don’t fault them, or me, for that inevitable change.

Perhaps most importantly, though, I just don’t feel the way I did then. Because I’ve forced myself not to feel as hard, I’ve lost some of the contact I had with a band whose music, with its passion, its complexity, the way it forces engagement, enforces strong emotion.

I am loathe to feel as strongly as one needs to feel to appreciate what they have to say.

That doesn’t mean that I never do. Sometimes, I get very angry. When I am very angry, I know they will be there.

I’ve shown a tendency in the past to have Pavlovian reactions to things, to associate unrelated things in my mind. I used to get tired at the thought of doing homework, because the only time I had to do homework was in the middle of the night when I should have been sleeping.

I probably negatively affected my grades, now that I think about it.

I wonder if I will develop that reaction with Tool’s music. I almost always listen to them in states of high emotion and/or high stress. It’s not remotely beyond the pale of reason that they will cause the heightened state of feeling at some point, as opposed to serving the mood as they do now.

When I think about it like that, it makes me not want to listen to the music in those situations. It makes me want to go back to the time when I had no preconceptions, when I was hearing it for the first time, when I first truly started to learn me.

That learning is never ending, I’m finally coming to find.


  1. Adi

    I love Tool. I think they’re talented and interesting and their music is just plain good. Parabol is one of those songs that really just works for me