Vicarious (song)

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Vicarious Single1.jpg
Single by Tool
from the album 10,000 Days
Released April 17, 2006
December 18, 2007 (CD and DVD)
Format DVD, Compact Disc, vinyl
Recorded August–December 2005
Genre Progressive metal
Length 7:06
Label Volcano II
Tool Dissectional (U.S.)
Writer(s) Danny Carey, Justin Chancellor, Adam Jones, Maynard James Keenan
Producer(s) Tool
Tool singles chronology
"The Pot"
Promotional cover

"Vicarious" is a song by American rock band Tool. The song is the first single released from their fourth full-length studio album 10,000 Days. Debuting on Maynard's 42nd birthday, April 17, 2006 on commercial radio, the seven-minute song entered the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts both at number 2.[1] It received a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.[2]


The song features a 5/4 riff[3] and describes the vicarious thrill the public receives from living through others in the media eye.[4]

In the June 12, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone magazine the song was included on the list of top 100 guitar songs of all time. It was ranked one-hundredth.[5]

The song is a playable track in Guitar Hero World Tour.

About the concept behind the song, this was stated by Maynard James Keenan in an interview:

"People make their own choices, that's the bottom line. I think... to me it's like those kind of frustrations, that kind of social frustration that comes about people lashing out it's because of undressed aggressions, repressed emotions, that kind of stuff.

So to me, when you see some movie about someone just doing some horrific deeds, in a way, by watching that movie you have related to express that emotion, or that desire, and therefore you don't need to go deal with it.

But the more you repress it, and deny it, the more It's gonna come out somewhere and It's not gonna be pretty when it happens, It's gonna be real when it happens rather than interest. A walker story, film or song.

I think It's important, cause we have all those nasty things we read about or come up with or see in a film or hear about in a song, those things are in you, and if you deny that those things are in you, they're gonna come... they're gonna bite you."[6]

Music video[edit]

The DVD released on December 18, 2007 contains an extended version of the much-delayed video counterpart for the song.[7] The video is completely made through use of CGI, making it Tool's second full CGI video, as opposed to stop-motion animation, which the band has used in their past videos.

The video was co-directed by guitarist Adam Jones and artist Alex Grey and also features creative input from Chet Zar. Also included on the DVD are short documentaries on the making of the video and on Jones's previous work in film and television, and commentaries on the video from comedian David Cross.



  1. ^ "Modern Rock Singles Chart". Retrieved 2006-05-02. 
  2. ^ "SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, STONE SOUR Among GRAMMY Nominees". 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  3. ^ Dan Wohl (2006-05-01). "CD Review: Tool's '10,000 Days' is worth the wait". HighBeam Research University Wire. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 'Vicarious' has everything that makes a classic Tool song: a mind-blowing 5/4 riff by Adam Jones... 
  4. ^ Theakston, Rob (2006). "Review". 10,000 Days. AllMusic. Retrieved 2006-05-02. 
  5. ^ Rolling Stone - The Greatest 100 Guitar Songs of All Time at the Wayback Machine (archived May 30, 2008). Retrieved 2011-01-24. "This is as arty as new metal has ever gotten. Guitarist Adam Jones' cadmium-heavy riffs are mostly in 5/4 time (with a few extra rhythmic hiccups), and he batters away at them with inhuman precision. Even though it runs long at seven minutes, the song still became a crossover hit, peaking at Number Two on modern-rock radio."
  6. ^ dAWeed
  7. ^ "Tool News, 18 October 2007". Retrieved 2007-10-20.