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Not to be confused with Ænima.
Single by Tool
from the album Ænima
Released August 9, 1997
Genre Progressive metal
Length 6:39
Tool singles chronology
"Forty Six & 2"
Music sample
Excerpt of "Ænema"

"Ænema" is a song by rock band Tool, released as the third single from their second album Ænima. Adam Jones made a video for the song using stop-motion animation that appears on Salival. The song reached number twenty-five on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in August 1997.

The song makes extensive use of hemiola, a musical technique in which the emphasis in a triple meter is changed to give the illusion that both a duple and a triple meter occur in the song. For example, during the first verse, the beat appears to be in 12/8 timing, while toward the middle of the song when the lyrics from the first verse are repeated, the beat can be perceived as being in 6/8 timing. The double bass drums are played in a triplet using the floor tom in the middle of the song making them seem twice the speed.

Lyrical references[edit]

Keenan incorporates into the lyrics part of comedian Bill Hicks' sketch "Arizona Bay" routine (from Hicks' comedy segment album of the same name) by stating the line "learn to swim, see you down in Arizona Bay." Hicks appears in the liner notes/sleeve as a doctor, and a lenticular image below the case tray illustrates a large portion of California disappearing leaving only the Pacific Ocean, as is mentioned in the song. California falling into the sea is a prediction made by Edgar Cayce, also known as "The Sleeping Prophet," about the end of days in which California and New York are to sink into the ocean among a plethora of other devastating weather changes.

"Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
Any fucking time, any fucking day
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay".

In general the song is a diatribe against celebrity culture, particularly around Los Angeles. This includes everything from the Church of Scientology with the line "Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones"; to possibly rappers ("gun-toting hip gangster wannabes"), to drug addicts, Hollywood executives and actresses whom Maynard views as scum and wishes would all be flushed down the proverbial toilet.[1]


The video for "Ænema" was directed by guitarist Adam Jones with art design by Cam de Leon and features stop-motion animation. The video revolves around a humanoid figure with alien-like features. Throughout the video the character ventures through an aquatic world and is seen to have a hose-like organ (resembling an umbilical cord) protruding from its abdomen which squirts out water that fills the room the figure is standing in. Towards the end of the video the figure is seen being tossed inside a water filled box by a human character wearing business attire.


Tool was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for "Ænema", at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998.[2]


  1. ^ 33 Things You Should Know About Tool Article on Blender :: The Ultimate Guide to Music and More[dead link]
  2. ^ Morse, Steve (January 7, 1998). "Paula Cole a leader in Grammys" (fee required). The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). Retrieved December 17, 2009.