Mer de Noms (French for "sea of names") is the debut album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. The album was released under Compact Disc format on May 23, 2000. It was certified platinum by the RIAA on October 31, 2000. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 4, making it the highest ever Billboard 200 debut for a rock band's first album. It sold over 188,000 copies in the first week, and stayed on the charts for 51 consecutive weeks. The album peaked at No. 27 on the BillboardTop Pop Catalog Albums on October 4, 2003, three years after the album's release. Mer de Noms has since been released on vinyl record format.
Most of the album's lyrics were dedicated to various people that lead singer Maynard James Keenan knew. The track listing consists of various names such as "Judith", "Breña", "Rose", "Thomas", "Magdalena", "Orestes", and "Renholdër" (for musician Danny Lohner).
The band's music deviates from Tool in a number of different ways, one being that the guitars are lowered a half step down to D♭ tuning. Another major aspect is the usage of triple meter. "A Perfect Circle" has been the mensuration sign for ¾ time signature since the middle ages when it represented the Holy Trinity in musical form. 4/4 time is rarely used for an entire song except in "Magdalena", "Thomas", "Thinking of You", and "Brena" though 3/4 bars are occasionally thrown in.
The symbols on the front cover of the album can be translated to "La Cascade des Prénoms," which translated to English means "the waterfall of first names".
Inside the insert the track names appear to be randomly spelled out in symbols. One way to decipher the symbols is to match the song titles using the normal alphabet with the song titles inside the insert.
The symbols which have popularly become known online as “APC Text”, “Mayan”, or “Elegant Mayan”, have become widespread, appearing in tattoos, computer fonts, and independent artwork.
Inside the insert there are twelve pictures (one for each song) and next to each one a song title, and beneath that a portion of the song's lyrics all written out in the symbols shown above. An example of this would be the drawing of the red octopus, which has the song name "Orestes" and "Sever this umbilical residue" beneath it.