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tool madness 2011 forty-six and two and sixteen more

Welcome, one and all, to the 2011 Tool Madness tournament!

Tool has released 62 songs so far in their career (64 if you count the live version of "Pushit" from Salival and their performance of "Divorced" with the Melvins). Since the NCAA March Madness tournament (which features 64 teams) just ended this week, now is the perfect time to have Tool fans everywhere vote on which song should lay claim to being the Greatest!

1. The Basics

It's pretty straightforward. Each matchup will be resolved by a poll; every day, we'll post new polls to the News page (and crosspost it to this page).

Each poll will remain open for at least 24 hours; extended to 48 hours if a statistical winner doesn't emerge.

The idea is to vote for the GREATEST song, not your personal favorite.

2. The Current Bracket


Download full-size: Updated bracket | Blank bracket

3. Your Final 4 ballots

During the first round, you were able to cast your ballot with your picks for the songs you thought would make it to the Final 4.

You can now check out results, scores, and other people's picks, all on the Leaderboard!

4. Vote for the Greatest!

  • Championship Results
  • Here it is: the winning song in Tool Madness 2011, the song that has been voted "the Greatest Tool song" by you, is ... "Lateralus"!

    "Lateralus" beat out runner-up "Third Eye" convincingly, collecting nearly twice as many votes as the older song. Looking at the picks that you filled out back when this all started, it turns out that 509 of the 1621 ballots had picked "Lateralus" to win it all, while only 141 thought "Third Eye" would. And there was a last-minute upset: "10,000 Days" beat "Sober" for the third-place trophy, showing that the band did not peak back in the early 1990s.

    And speaking of your picks, of the 1621 people who submitted valid picks for the Final 4, the official overall winner is … Josh Abbott. Josh wins some fleeting notoriety and a mention of his Twitter feed; send him a congratulatory note at @LiverFluke. More data will be posted here soon for you data-lovers.

    A grand total of 93,557 votes were cast in the tournament. I heard from many of you that you had fun playing along. It seemed like a fun way to pass some time while waiting for there to be any actual Tool news. Glad you all enjoyed the Madness!

  • To prevent chicanery, results are hidden until a poll ends.

  • The Best Final 4 Picks
  • At the beginning, many of you made your picks for who would reach the Final 4 and the finals. Check out the best picks and a bunch of stats on the leaderboard!

  • Table of Winners
  • Curious which song was the biggest winner overall, or in each round? Which song lost most badly? Take a look at the Table of Winners!

5. Stay Current

The best way to stay updated (apart from checking this page daily) is to follow @thetoolpage on Twitter, or the hash tag #ToolMadness.

6. Results from All Matchups

For faster loading, links to the actual polls are archived on separate pages for the first round and for all other matchups, but the results are printed here, along with the original introductions for each matchup.

  • Matchup 64/Championship
  • Here it is. The final matchup. The winner can lay claim to the title "Greatest Tool song." Both "Lateralus" and "Third Eye" have edged out worthy competitors along the way. "Third Eye" has survived some close matchups, but it also faced off against more popular songs. Neither was a #1 seed, meaning neither is the most listened-to, but that's what has made Tool Madness so much fun: turns out you don't have to be popular to be the greatest. May the best song win.

    "Lateralus" def. "Third Eye", 2559-1345 (65.5% - 34.5%)

  • Matchup 63
  • As they do at the World Cup, the penultimate matchup in Tool Madness is to determine the third-place song. The two losing songs from the semifinals meet here, to determine which of the two is greater. Both "Sober" and "10,000 Days" lost badly, but it remains to be seen which of these two will come out on top.

    "10,000 Days" def. "Sober", 1946-1252 (60.9% - 39.1%)

  • Matchup 62
  • "Third Eye" has been set as one finalist, representing the pre-2000 era. Your task here is to decide which of the two remaining songs from the post-2000 era should move on to the finals: "Lateralus" or "10,000 Days." Both are the title tracks from the two albums released in the last ten years, which means the band has either gotten better at writing title tracks, or at selecting them. Also, the loser from this matchup will meet "Sober" in a fight for 3rd place.

    "Lateralus" def. "10,000 Days", 1327-339 (79.7% - 20.3%)

  • Matchup 61
  • Here we have two songs battling for supremacy among songs released in the 1990s. "Sober" and "Third Eye" need no introduction. Each has knocked off worthy competitors on their way to this point. This one has stirred up some heated debate - you've got a defining single vs an epic composition.

    "Third Eye" def. "Sober", 1329-495 (72.9% - 27.1%)

  • Wrapup: Elite Eight Round
  • With the fourth round of Tool Madness now over, there are only the Final 4 songs remaining. Sure looks like popularity has not been the key to being great; the four songs were ranked #1, #3, #9, and #10 in their brackets.

    Only a few matchups remain; we should have a winner this week. And not just a winning song; back when this all started, 1621 of you filled out your picks for the Final 4 and the championship rounds. We're posting results of those ballots to the leaderboard page, which will be updated daily throughout this final week. Of all the submissions, 35 people picked the Final 4 correctly.

    Of the four winning songs last week, three received fifty-something percent of the vote. "Lateralus", on the other hand, defeated "The Grudge" with over 78% of your votes. Will be interesting to see how this all ends.

    A total of 82,965 votes have been cast in Tool Madness so far. Onwards!

  • Matchup 60
  • Perhaps the most enigmatic corner of the bracket, the album 10,000 Days doesn't seem to have a clear favorite to advance. The only song picked to reach the Final 4 by more than 20% of you was "Vicarious", which has long been eliminated. So take a listen to both "10,000 Days" and "Jambi", and consider which of the two deserves to represent the album in the Final 4.

    "10,000 Days" def. "Jambi", 1111-948 (54% - 46%)

  • Matchup 59
  • "Lateralus" has carved up its competition so far, by huge margins (see detailed results below), and looks pretty unstoppable. "The Grudge", however, has held off challenges from #1 seed "Schism" and the epic "No Quarter". Which of these songs from the album Lateralus can lay claim to being the Greatest?

    "Lateralus" def. "The Grudge", 1309-348 (79% - 21%)

  • Matchup 58
  • Opinion on this one is pretty split. Some feel that "Stinkfist", as one of the most recognizeable songs, should move on to the Final 4. Others feel that if "Third Eye" doesn't win this one, this whole thing truly will be Madness. Which of these will lay claim to being the Greatest from Ænima?

    "Third Eye" def. "Stinkfist", 948-681 (58.2% - 41.8%)

  • Matchup 57
  • At last, the battle for Undertow supremacy. Both singles from the album have made it to this stage, and a compelling argument can be made for the greatness of both "Sober" and "Prison Sex."

    "Sober" def. "Prison Sex", 845-700 (54.7% - 45.3%)

  • Wrapup: Sweet Sixteen Round
  • The third round of Tool Madness has ended, leaving only eight songs standing. It's a solid group, though they are not necessarily the most popular of the band's catalog. Again, seeding (ranking) was determined by the iTunes play count of songs via However, popularity has not been enough; only two #1 seeds have made it this far, along with a #2, two #3's, a #4, a #9, and a #10.

    Both of those low seeds barely made it; #10 seed "Third Eye" squeaked past "Forty-Six & 2"; and #9 seed "10,000 Days" held on to defeat both "Rosetta Stoned" and "Right in Two" in their tiebreaker matchups.

    Going forward, here's some info about your Final 4 ballot picks. Back when this first started, we had 1621 valid submissions. Of those, only 75 still have a chance at a perfect Final 4. (Oddly, that's 4.62% ... like the song title).

    Glad you've all been having fun playing along; there have now been nearly 79,000 total votes cast since the Madness began!

  • Matchup 56
  • The final matchup of the Sweet 16 round is one that has no obvious winner. Both "Jambi" and "The Pot" can lay claim to greatness, but if you actually listen to both of them back to back before voting, you might have a challenging time voting for only one.

    "Jambi" def. "The Pot", 1137-586 (66% - 34%)

  • Matchup 55A and 55B - Tiebreaker for Matchup 46
  • In the second round, "Rosetta Stoned" and "Right in Two" tied. Here's the tiebreaker procedure:

    Each song faces off against the next challenger; judging them against a common opponent will let us fairly determine which of the two is greater; in this case, we'll have "Rosetta Stoned" v "10,000 Days", and "Right in Two" v "10,000 Days".

    a) If "10,000 Days" wins both, it advances to the Elite 8. The loser with the higher win percentage earns the tiebreak, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup.

    b) If "10,000 Days" loses both, it will not advance. The winner with the higher win percentage advances to the Elite 8, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup.

    c) If "10,000 Days" only wins one, and scores higher than the other winner: "10,000 Days" advances to the Elite 8. the other winner earns the tiebreak, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup.

    d) If "10,000 Days" only wins one, and scores lower than the other winner: the other winner advances to the Elite 8, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup. ("10,000 Days" cannot advance to be the Greatest if it can't emerge as the most dominant of the three.)
    "10,000 Days" def. "Right in Two", 1069-888 (54.6% - 45.4%)

    "10,000 Days" def. "Rosetta Stoned", 1014-940 (51.9% - 48.1%)

    "10,000 Days" defeated both songs, and will advance. "Rosetta Stoned" had a better showing against their common opponent, so it will be recorded as the winner versus "Right in Two".

  • Matchup 54
  • There's two ways of looking at this one. "Parabola" was a radio single and is also the higher seed, meaning it is listened to more often, according to crowdsourced iTunes data. "Lateralus" is the album's title track, and carved up its competition in the last round, beating "The Patient" by a margin of over 72%; the biggest second-round victory over a non-segue track. Two worthy contenders, but only one will advance to face "The Grudge."

    "Lateralus" def. "Parabola", 1385-308 (81.8% - 18.2%)

  • Matchup 53
  • "Schism" is the most-played song on Lateralus, according to - but then, maybe only certain types of people use It also won the 2002 Grammy for Best Metal Performance. But "The Grudge" isn't going to give up without a fight. Both songs deal with similar themes; one about an relationship atrophied by silence, one about a relationship ruined by a lack of forgiveness. This one will be tough; you could say it's a real grudge match. (But you probably won't.)

    "The Grudge" def. "Schism", 905-672 (57.4% - 42.6%)

  • Matchup 52
  • This one could be very close. "Forty-Six & 2" just barely squeaked past "Ænema" in the last round, in the closest victory so far. And despite being a popular pick to reach the Final 4, "Third Eye" still had a close fight last round with "Eulogy." One of these songs from Ænima will get to the Elite 8; which will it be?

    "Third Eye" def. "Forty-Six & 2", 956-905 (51.4% - 48.6%)

  • Matchup 51
  • "H." has destroyed both of its challengers so far, but "Stinkfist" is heavily favored to win this one, even though it didn't defeat its last opponent (Salival's "Pushit") by much.

    "Stinkfist" def. "H.", 1058-750 (58.5% - 41.5%)

  • Matchup 50
  • I have no idea what background to offer you on "Intolerance" and "Prison Sex" that you don't already have. But consider: the winner will move on to challenge "Sober" for a spot in the Final 4. Good luck deciding.

    "Prison Sex" def. "Intolerance", 1124-551 (67.1% - 32.9%)

  • Matchup 49A and 49B - Tiebreaker for Matchup 34
  • In the second round, "Undertow" and "4°" tied. Here's the tiebreaker procedure:

    Have two polls. Each song will face off against the next challenger; judging them against a common opponent will let us fairly determine which of the two is greater; in this case, we'll have "Undertow" v "Sober", and "4°" v "Sober".

    a) If "Sober" wins both, it advances to the Elite 8. The loser with the higher win percentage earns the tiebreak, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup.

    b) If "Sober" loses both, it will not advance. The winner with the higher win percentage advances to the Elite 8, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup.

    c) If "Sober" only wins one, and scores higher than the other winner: Sober advances to the Elite 8. the other winner earns the tiebreak, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup.

    d) If "Sober" only wins one, and scores lower than the other winner: the other winner advances to the Elite 8, and is recorded as the winner of the tied matchup. ("Sober" cannot advance to be the Greatest if it can't emerge as the most dominant of the three.)

  • "Sober" def. "4°", 912-555 (62.2% - 37.8%)

    "Sober" def. "Undertow", 877-543 (61.8% - 38.2%)

    "Sober" defeated both songs, and will advance. "Undertow" had a better showing against their common opponent, so it will be recorded as the winner versus "4°".

  • Wrapup: Second Round
  • As the second round comes to a close, there have now been over 61,000 votes cast in Tool Madness!

    Of the sixteen matchups, two ended in ties! Also, the radio singles were not all shoo-ins as you might have expected; "Stinkfist", "Schism", "Ænema", and "Forty-Six & 2" all received less than 53% of the vote in their matchups. Also worth noting: the Lateralus bracket is represented by the songs seeded #1 through #4, suggesting that at least on that album, the most popular tracks are also the most highly-regarded.

    No covers and no segues made it to the Sweet 16. Only two title tracks remain in the competition: "Lateralus" and "10,000 Days".

    One #1 seed ("Vicarious") was eliminated. All four #2 seeds are still contenders. The only #3 seed to be eliminated is "Ænema". The lowest surviving seed is #10-seed "Third Eye."

  • Wrapup: Second Round, Second Half
  • Most notably, the end of the second round had a tie matchup, just as the first half of the round did. "Rosetta Stoned" and "Right in Two" will have a tiebreaker before we move on to the Sweet Sixteen. "Schism" squeaked past "Reflection", and looks to have some even more serious competition in the next round. "10,000 Days" dispatched #1-seeded "Vicarious", showing again that being a radio single won't be enough to get you to the finals.

  • Matchup 48
  • The only "segue" track to advance out of the first round was "Lost Keys", which wound up defeating another segue last time around. Now, however, it stands almost no chance against "The Pot." Let the votes be cast, mercifully.

    "The Pot" def. "Lost Keys", 1609-138 (92.1% - 7.9%)

  • Matchup 47
  • The gentle "Intension" got into the second round by beating a song eighteen years its senior ("Maynard's Dick"). But now it faces a real test, facing off against a much stronger contender: "Jambi".

    "Jambi" def. "Intension", 1534-186 (89.2% - 10.8%)

  • Matchup 46
  • Two complex tracks from 10,000 Days meet here. The challenging, multi-layered "Rosetta Stoned" goes to places no other Tool song has, while "Right in Two" captures the essence of what so many people love about this band. Your task is to decide which will move on to the Sweet Sixteen.

    "Right in Two" TIED "Rosetta Stoned", 1153-1153 (50% - 50%)

    This one was tied over and over again. After three days, an exact tie resulted. A tiebreaker will take place after the second round. The original poll data is here.

  • Matchup 45
  • In one corner is "Vicarious", which is the leadoff track, the first single, and the song with the highest play count off the album 10,000 Days. In the other corner is "10,000 Days", which is not only the album's title track, but its longest song as well. The other three #1 seeds have advanced to the next round; will this make it four-for-four? A true heavyweight contest.

    "10,000 Days" def. "Vicarious", 1183-939 (55.7% - 44.3%)

    This was the first #1 seed to be upset by a challenger.

  • Matchup 44
  • As a #10 seed, "Ticks & Leeches" is the lowest remaining seed on the right side of the bracket. In order to advance, though, it would have to be deemed greater than "Parabola", the second single off Lateralus. Both songs are loved by some fans, and disliked by others, which might make this a close one.

    "Parabola" def. "Ticks & Leeches", 1075-430 (71.4% - 28.6%)

  • Matchup 43
  • Being a title track has not helped in this tournament, as "Opiate" and "Ænema" have both gone down to defeat, and "Undertow" is awaiting the results of a tiebreaker. "Lateralus" here seeks to advance past "The Patient", though judging from the Final 4 ballots that were submitted, fans are expecting this one to be a blowout.

    "Lateralus" def. "The Patient", 1258-200 (86.3% - 13.7%)

  • Matchup 42
  • They don't get any easier here. "No Quarter" is the only cover to get to the second round, and far from being a simple copy of the original, it is a highly interpretative version of the Led Zeppelin classic. "The Grudge" opens Lateralus with its own thundering intensity, and of course, features "the scream" at the end. One warns of having "no quarter" ("no mercy"), the other encourages you to "let go" of the anger. For a real challenge, try listening to both, then voting.

    "The Grudge" def. "No Quarter", 1200-346 (77.6% - 22.4%)

  • Matchup 41
  • So far, both #1 seeds have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. However, of Tool's two Grammy-winning songs, one ("Ænema") has been eliminated. The other one, #1 seed "Schism", has an interesting challenger here. "Reflection" was a live staple during the Lateralus era, but in recent years was shelved in favor of newer songs. Does the eleven-minute epic have a chance to be deemed "greater" than the Grammy-winning radio single?

    "Schism" def. "Reflection", 915-835 (52.3% - 47.7%)

  • Wrapup: Second Round, First Half
  • So far, the second round has featured eight matchups, and only in three of them did the winner get more than 60% of the votes. Not surprising, as many of these decisions were very hard for voters. "Forty-Six & 2" edged out Grammy winner "Ænema", in a contest so close it could very well go a different way if we voted on it again next month (which we probably won't do).

    At least it pulled out a 1.5% lead; "Undertow" and "4°" were locked in a much closer battle, which will be resolved by a tiebreaker at the end of the second round.

    "Ænema" became the first #3 seed to lose, and the second title track (it's basically the title track) to lose. "Eulogy" became the first #2 seed to lose. Many of you foresee a #1 seed losing sometime soon...

  • Matchup 40
  • Two powerhouses from Ænima meet in this second round matchup. Will it be "goodbye" for old favorite "Eulogy", or will the less-played "Third Eye" fail to advance, despite being a very popular pick to reach the Final 4?

    "Third Eye" def. "Eulogy", 844-696 (54.8% - 45.2%)

  • Matchup 39
  • This could be the most difficult matchup of the second round. Both "Forty-Six & 2" and "Ænema" clearly deserve to advance far, but thanks to the seeding, they meet here; only one can advance. I have no idea how you decide which one you think is Greater, all I know is that it's up to you. Good luck.

    "Forty-Six & 2" def. "Ænema", 1134-1101 (50.7% - 49.3%)

    This was close, but the winner held on to a 1% lead for the final twelve hours of voting. The Grammy winning "Ænema" is eliminated.

  • Matchup 38
  • Here we have the two songs off Ænima that begin with the letter H. (Well, that's as far as one of them goes.) Both are old favorites, and both crushed easy competition in the first round. Now, it's up to you to decide between "Hooker with a Penis" and "H."

    "H." def. "Hooker with a Penis", 1241-417 (74.8% - 25.2%)

  • Matchup 37
  • "Greater" can mean many things; lyrically, musically, compositionally, emotionally, or just chart-wise. But which do you consider to be greater: a defining single ("Stinkfist"), or an epic re-interpretation of a classic ("Pushit, Salival version")?

    "Stinkfist" def. "Pushit (Salival)", 976-875 (52.7% - 47.3%)

  • Matchup 36
  • "Prison Sex" deals with a very personal subject via another dark metaphor, while "Bottom" takes a different approach to reclaiming one's inner strength. This one could be pretty lopsided.

    "Prison Sex" def. "Bottom", 882-295 (74.9% - 25.1%)

  • Matchup 35
  • Let's get the next one underway. "Crawl Away" offers a version of "my love for you", and "Intolerance" admonishes one who "lies, cheats, and steals." Topically diverse, yet musically related.

    "Intolerance" def. "Crawl Away", 826-291 (73.9% - 26.1%)

  • Matchup 34 -- TIED.
  • These two songs are neighbors on Undertow, and both advanced with less than 61% of the vote in the last round. "Undertow" aggressively exhorts you to "shut up", while "4°" subtly suggests you "free yourself from yourself." Two very different styles; a tough one to predict.

    "Undertow" TIED "4°", 778-778 (50% - 50%)

    An exact tie resulted; neither was gaining a definitive lead. A tiebreaker will take place after the second round. The original poll data is here.

  • Matchup 33
  • Now, it gets harder. The first of the 2nd-round matchups features two very popular songs. "Sober" was many people's introduction to the band, and "Flood" was the first of many epic songs to come.

    This was the second-closest result so far. Of all the Final 4 ballots submitted, 12% had "Flood" reaching the Final 4.

    "Sober" def. "Flood", 911-709 (56.2% - 43.8%)

  • Wrapup: First Round
  • The first round of Tool Madness is over. You can see the updated bracket for the quick hit of results, but here's some deeper analysis:

    34,919 votes were cast! There were many blowouts, owing largely to the fact that there were so many segue-type tracks.

    Of the 32 matchups, there were 15 songs that won with more than 90% of the vote. The biggest loser was "Useful Idiot", getting only 1.2% of the vote against "Ænema." The lowest percent of votes for a traditional song went to "The Gaping Lotus Experience" (5.9%).

    Only 5 songs won without reaching 60%. The closest battle by far saw "Undertow" defeat "Opiate", with only 52.5% voting for the winner. Expect more close ones to happen as we go forward. The Madness continues!

    Also: every #1, #2, #3, #6, and #9 seed advanced. All four #8 seeds were upset by the #9s. The only #4 seed to lose was "Swamp Song" (defeated by the only #13 to advance: "4°"). The only #5 seed to lose was "Parabol" (defeated by the only #12 to advance: "No Quarter").

  • Wrapup: First Round, 10,000 Days and More Bracket
  • All fairly predictable outcomes, though it was interesting to see the two halves of the "Wings for Marie" suite face off against each other. This quadrant of the bracket contained five songs that did not appear on the album 10,000 Days; none of them advanced.

    Detailed results follow.

  • Matchup 32
  • The final first-round contest is between a popular single ("The Pot") and a song many of you have not heard ("Divorced"). The latter is a collaboration with the Melvins, and is probably worth checking out if you don't know it; could be a fun way to wave goodbye to the first round.

    "The Pot" def. "Divorced", 1307-84 (94% - 6%)

  • Matchup 31
  • Through the quirks of seeding this bracket, this is the only matchup in the entire first round to pit two segue tracks up against one another. It will be interesting to see if one wins decisively; "Lost Keys" at least features some of the band's usual instrumentation, while "Lipan Conjuring" ... doesn't.

    "Lost Keys" def. "Lipan Conjuring", 1016-340 (74.9% - 25.1%)

  • Matchup 30
  • A song in many ways unlike the others from the catalog, "Jambi" is a popular pick for Greatest song from this side of the bracket. "L.A.M.C.", a set of voicemail prompts off Salival, is not.

    "Jambi" def. "L.A.M.C.", 1332-37 (97.3% - 2.7%)

  • Matchup 29
  • Perhaps an upset in the making, here's a quiet and recent song ("Intension") up against one of Tool's oldest tracks; one which wasn't released for until nearly a decade had passed and was even then only a hidden track ("Maynard's Dick"). Consider, then: which is Greater?

    "Intension" def. "Maynard's Dick", 776-560 (58.1% - 41.9%)

  • Matchup 28
  • The masterful composition that caps off the album 10,000 Days, "Right in Two" is a chic pick to get to the Final 4. First, though, it has to fend off a challenge from the hidden track on Opiate. One song focuses on "angels", the other calls out for "Satan, Satan." A classic showdown.

    "Right in Two" def. "The Gaping Lotus Experience", 1239-77 (94.1% - 5.9%)

  • Matchup 27
  • A unique song among Tool's catalog, "Rosetta Stoned" may actually have lyrics that are more incomprehensible than the challenger here ("Message to Harry Manback II"). So we have one sonic tour de force battling a segue originally recorded for Ænima but not released until Salival, four years later.

    "Rosetta Stoned" def. "Message to Harry Manback II", 1271-27 (97.9% - 2.1%)

  • Matchup 26
  • In Matchup 18 below, two movements of one composition faced each other, and the longer second movement advanced. Here, two parts of one piece are up against one another again. It's up to you to decide if the quieter "Wings For Marie" or the title track "10,000 Days" is greater.

    "10,000 Days" def. "Wings for Marie", 1173-111 (91.4% - 8.6%)

  • Matchup 25
  • The 10,000 Days bracket kicks off with a battle of tracks that start with V and end in S - and the similarities end there. The opening song and lead single ("Vicarious") shouldn't have much trouble dispatching of the final track ("Viginti Tres") ...

    "Vicarious" def. "Viginti Tres", 1145-28 (97.6% - 2.4%)

  • Wrapup: First Round, Lateralus & Salival Bracket
  • No real surprises here, though the not-often-played "No Quarter" is the first #12 seed to advance, and the first cover. "Reflection" steamrolled over companion song "Disposition", so through three quadrants of the bracket, we have yet to see a #8 seed advance. The remaining losers this round were two segues, two introductory songs, two instrumentals, and the cover of "You Lied."

    Detailed results follow.

  • Matchup 24
  • In the last of the unfair Lateralus-era matchups, here we have a powerhouse single ("Parabola") up against the noise made by squeezing some cats ("Mantra"). Not much of a contest here, right?

    "Parabola" def. "Mantra", 1136-21 (98.2% - 1.8%)

  • Matchup 23
  • Perhaps the most aggressive track from Lateralus, "Ticks & Leeches" here goes head-to-head with a doleful guitar solo ("Eon Blue Apocalypse"). No instrumentals thus far have advanced past the first round, but maybe this one is great enough to break the trend...

    "Ticks & Leeches" def. "Eon Blue Apocalypse", 1000-137 (88% - 12%)

  • Matchup 22
  • The title track from Lateralus is many people's favorite to win the whole thing; its first opponent on the road to victory is the enigmatic "Merkaba", a live instrumental that was used as the introduction to "Sober" for years.

    "Lateralus" def. "Merkaba", 1374-34 (97.6% - 2.4%)

  • Matchup 21
  • Another song with wordplay in the title ("The Patient") goes head-to-head with the instrumental jam that caps off the album ("Triad"). We'll see if a song with no lyrics can advance past one with poignant words - and even a sigh or two.

    "The Patient" def. "Triad", 1111-265 (80.7% - 19.3%)

  • Matchup 20
  • The opening song on Lateralus ("The Grudge") is a popular pick to go to the Final 4, but first it has to get past a live cover of "You Lied" by Peach, Justin's old band. From a songwriting perspective, each song shares Justin's bass work, which is one of many factors to consider in this matchup.

    "The Grudge" def. "You Lied", 1091-141 (88.6% - 11.4%)

  • Matchup 19
  • The sixth track on Lateralus is named for both its alphabetic position before its parent song, and for the play on words between "parable" and its title: "Parabol." Its gentle cleverness has a tough task here, trying to defeat an epic cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter."

    "No Quarter" def. "Parabol", 734-498 (59.6% - 40.4%)

  • Matchup 18
  • One of the most intriguing first round matchups, here we have two tracks that are actually the first two parts of one three-movement composition. "Disposition" and "Reflection" have always been played together live, but the Greater of the two will advance to the next round alone.

    "Reflection" def. "Disposition", 1030-325 (76% - 24%)

  • Matchup 17
  • The Lateralus bracket picks up where the previous one left off: the leadoff single from the album ("Schism") goes up against a mysterious mix of noises ("Faaip de Oiad").

    "Schism" def. "Faaip de Oiad", 1306-57 (95.8% - 4.2%)

  • Wrapup: First Round, Ænima Bracket
  • As expected, all of the six segue tracks from the album were soundly defeated, though "Die Eier von Satan" was the only one to at least put up a fight. Interesting to see that the Salival version of "Pushit" moves on, leaving the original album version behind, though it was not a blowout. The only other song that will not move on is "Jimmy", which only received a quarter of your votes versus "Third Eye."

    Detailed results follow.

  • Matchup 16
  • The last of the matchups in the Ænima bracket is another unfair one, with a fan favorite ("Eulogy") ready to steamroll over a pile of sound effects ("Cesaro Summability").

    "Eulogy" def. "Cesaro Summability", 1041-13 (98.8% - 1.2%)

  • Matchup 15
  • The first of Tool's songs over ten minutes ("Third Eye") has been picked by many fans to win the title of Greatest song, but it will have to fend off a song that was once introduced as the "sequel to Prison Sex, the next step in the cycle" ("Jimmy").

    "Third Eye" def. "Jimmy", 783-246 (76.1% - 23.9%)

  • Matchup 11, 12, 13, 14
  • These matchups between songs and segues are pretty unfair, but such is the nature of the bracket, and of Ænima as a whole. We'll do these four matchups at once, and they'll all close early, barring a miraculous upset.

    So, you decide if an Italian voicemail, a German recipe, a keyboard riff, and a record scratch should knock off "Hooker with a Penis", "H.", "Forty-Six and 2", and "Ænema." (As Nathan Muellenberg said on Twitter, "that's like Mike Tyson vs Urkel.")

    No surprises here, though interesting to note that one of the four losers got a much higher percent of votes than the others...

    "Ænema" def. "Useful Idiot", 1161-14 (98.8% - 1.2%)

    "Forty-Six & 2" def. "Intermission", 1134-28 (97.6% - 2.4%)

    "H." def. "Die Eier von Satan", 1059-97 (91.6% - 8.4%)

    "Hooker with a Penis" def. "Message to Harry Manback", 1082-65 (94.3% - 5.7%)

  • Matchup 10
  • It's an old question - which is the greater musical performance of "Pushit"? Some say the studio version, from Ænima. Others choose the re-interpreted version which appeared on Salival. What say you?

    Not quite a landslide, but the slower live "Salival" version upset the more-played but less-preferred original track...

    "Pushit (Salival)" def. "Pushit (Ænima)", 895-630 (58.7% - 41.3%)

  • Matchup 09
  • We begin the Ænima bracket with a matchup between a true #1 seed ("Stinkfist"), and a song that you may not have even imported into iTunes, which will now require me to use five punctuation marks in a row to introduce it ("(-) Ions").

    "Stinkfist" def. "(-) Ions", 240-10 (96% - 4%)

  • Wrapup: First Round, Opiate & Undertow Bracket
  • Well then. No songs off Opiate made it out of the first round, so none will be crowned "Greatest" at the end. The closest one was "Opiate", which lost an extremely close contest. The only songs off Undertow that didn't advance were "Swamp Song" and "Disgustipated"; the other eight all move on.

    Detailed results follow.

  • Matchup 08
  • The last of the first-round matchups in the Opiate & Undertow bracket features a song whose video was so dark it was banned by MTV ("Prison Sex"), and a song which was so good live, a studio version was never released ("Cold & Ugly"). This is the last chance for any song off Opiate to win!

    "Prison Sex" def. "Cold & Ugly", 405-100 (80.2% - 19.8%)

  • Matchup 07
  • Henry Rollins was the first guest musician to appear on a Tool song, doing the spoken word part in the middle of "Bottom." His performance may be a factor in trying to hold off the challenger "Part of Me."

    "Bottom" def. "Part of Me", 407-201 (66.9% - 33.1%)

  • Matchup 06
  • After a few years, the lyrics to "Jerk-Off" were deemed "irresponsible", and changed in live performances to avoid advocating shooting people. But the venerable song gets a chance to reclaim its glory against fan favorite "Intolerance", the lead track from the band's second release.

    "Intolerance" def. "Jerk-Off", 420-202 (67.5% - 32.5%)

  • Matchup 05
  • Both of these songs were written for Tool's first EP, but only "Sweat" made it, as the leadoff track. "Crawl Away", meanwhile, waited another year before being released. There may not be an obvious winner here, but we'll see.

    "Crawl Away" def. "Sweat", 460-357 (56.3% - 43.7%)

  • Matchup 04
  • Another song which has been played at many shows over the past eighteen years ("Swamp Song") goes up against perhaps the most chill song from the early days ("4°"), one which isn't too popular with iTunes users but perhaps should be.

    "4°" def. "Swamp Song", 485-313 (60.8% - 39.2%)

  • Matchup 03
  • This is an intriguing one, between the title tracks from the band's first two records. "Opiate" has far fewer plays on iTunes than the more popular "Undertow", but it has been a staple of live shows for years. This one may be ripe for an upset...

    ... and it was very close. Was actually tied after 440 votes, and wound up going to overtime; but after 24 hours and nearly 1200 votes, a winner finally emerged. The first title track has bowed out, but maybe it will do better next tournament.

    "Undertow" def. "Opiate", 628-567 (52.6% - 47.4%)

  • Matchup 02
  • The second matchup is between the first single and video the band released ("Hush") and the climax of their full-length debut ("Flood"). One of these two was my personal favorite for years...

    "Flood" def. "Hush", 416-142 (74.6% - 25.4%)

  • Matchup 01
  • The first matchup is between Tool's breakthrough hit song ("Sober") and the last enigmatic track from Undertow ("Disgustipated"). Can the underdog knock down the champ?

    ... No. No it couldn't.

    "Sober" def. "Disgustipated", 462-73 (86.4% - 13.6%)

The Details

Here's some background, for those who are interested in how the songs were seeded.

Basically, songs were seeded within each quadrant by play count, as reported by over the past six months. Some liberties were taken, as discussed below. Notably, all "segues", hidden tracks, and tracks you might classify as "other songs" were bumped to the lowest seeds in their quadrant.

  • opiate & undertow
  • This quadrant was pretty straightforward, with sixteen songs total. "Disgustipated" was bumped to the lowest seed, as discussed above. Also, "Undertow" and "Swamp Song" were swapped to create a matchup of the title tracks.
  • ænima
  • This quadrant has all fifteen tracks from the album, plus the version of "Pushit" from Salival, which is the only considerably different version of a song that has been officially released. Seeding was slightly adjusted to get a "Pushit" faceoff in round 1; all six segues on the album were moved to the lowest seeds.
  • lateralus & salival
  • This quadrant features all thirteen songs from the record, plus the three new non-bonus tracks on Salival ("Merkaba", the cover of Peach's "You Lied", and the cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter"). Two segues on Lateralus were moved to the lowest seeds.
  • 10,000 days & other songs
  • The final quadrant has all eleven songs off the album, plus the two segues from Salival, the hidden track on Salival, the hidden track on Opiate, and "Divorced", a song released by the Melvins which features Tool performing.

kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n