I have spent a good portion of my time as a Tool fan trying to figure what the FUCK is up in their videos. Does anyone really know? Does Maynard James Keenan even know?
Let’s face it, Tool has a serious catalog of disturbing music videos that I could write about, so it was a toss up to pick just one. Eventually I had to go with “Aenema,” since it’s a tune that’s close to my heart. Don’t do the math, but this song was pretty big when I was in middle school. I recall it vividly being played on MTV2, back when MTV2 showed some really killer alternative/metal videos instead of reruns of shit like Jersey Shore.
But I digress. The lyrics are basically an invitation to whatever higher power one might believe in to finally end everything for the human race. Maynard was really feeling nihilistic the day he wrote this staggering work of genius and angst. Thehowever? Who knows what the fuck was going on in anyone’s head when it was made. This is sheer WTFery in it’s purest form.
The first part of the video depicts a humanoid person with the face of what I can only assume is a smothered alien baby with some definite handicaps. He seems like a normal dude, aside from those quirks, until he pushes on the walls of the room he enters and ventures into a strange aquatic world. Also, there’s some kind of actual weird alien baby thing involved. It looks like something out of H.R. Giger’s artwork mated with Abe Sapien from Hellboy. The little alien baby dude effectively (I think) drowns a couple of other little dudes, via a strange tubelike organ on his body that fills a room with a bunch of water. Meanwhile, Maynard James Keenan is singing about learning to swim and flushing it all away. Ironic much? There’s a host of other freaky things going on in this vid that I can’t even begin to comprehend, so I’ll let you at it.
This video sparks the eternal debate: What’s more freaky… Marilyn Manson wearing frilly granny panties and a leg brace, caressing himself, or the menagerie of strange creatures he’s surrounded himself with in this video?
Medical equipment, people eating bugs… this video has it all! The video focuses at first on Manson fondling himself and showing off a creature of his own creation, as suggested by the lyrics, a corseted woman who has no lower half. Instead, she moves by way of wheel. This is all still pretty normal for a Manson vid, right? Unfortunately I can’t coherently describe to you the events that take place after the first two minutes of the video. From there on it becomes a strange orgy of haunting debauchery that includes, among other thing,s I can’t even possibly begin to wrap my head around: goth golem person dancing/flailing, goth golem person biting, a glittery horse, tubing coming out of peoples’ mouths, Manson wearing an outfit that looks made out of yellow tubes and tinfoil, freaks writhing on the ground, and what I’m almost positive is Marilyn Manson farting into some sort of recording device at one point (you’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as you see it; you can’t unsee it and you’re welcome).
In theory none of this sounds too extreme, especially when I put it all as eloquently as I have, but the effect works wonders on a young person’s psyche upon the first viewing. I speak from experience. This was released right around the same time was “Aenema” was. It’s a wonder I grew up as well-adjusted as I did, but that’s a matter of opinion. The point is that this video will leave you feeling disoriented, confused, and you won’t be wanting to building that dreamgirl down in your basement for a while. On the other hand, if it gives you some ideas, more power to you.
No.3 “A Little Piece of Heaven”
“I always knew that my little crime would be cold, that’s why I got a heater for your thighs.” I’ll give you three guesses as to what this song is about. The first two don’t count. Don’t worry, it’s not just about necrophilia; no, no, it’s instead a beautiful love song that just happens to be about wanting to hump your dead girlfriend.
The video for this song has the distinct honor of being the only animated video on this list. I shouldn’t have to say that it’s a little cartoonish, but that doesn’t stop it from being balls-to-the-wall awesome — and gory too.
The video follows the story of the song to a T. The video depicts the band as skeletons reminiscent from 1920s animation, except colorized and a little more stylized. A young man gets ready to propose to his lady love, but she laughs in his face. Ouch. Harsh. His natural response is to stab her “50 fuckin’ times” and rip her heart out as the band cheers him on to eat it. He does a rudimentary job of sewing her back together and, ah, he continues to show his love for her.
Little does he know that his lover isn’t going to stay dead for long; she comes back and hasn’t quite forgiven him. She settles the score by murdering him in the same manner that she was murdered. But remember how I said this was a beautiful love song? IT IS. The man returns from the dead to seek forgiveness from hissweetheart. Other start to rise from their graves and the whole lot of them crash a wedding to make it their own. I guess that this song is just proof that everyone deserves a happy ending, even those who crave the flesh of the living… and fuck dead people.
No.2 “We Are Water”
Most of you probably better know Eric Wareheim as Eric from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Or as the Mayor from Tom Goes To The Mayor. Did you know he’s also a kick-ass music video? He did “The Youth” by MGMT and “Polite Dance Song” by The Bird and The Bee, among others. Granted, those two videos/artists may not be up everyone’s alleys, but the man has talent. “We Are Water” by HEALTH is like nothing you’ve ever seen in a music video before, let alone directed by one-half of a comedy duo.
The video starts out with a shot of snow falling in a forest as a girl sprints across the wide expanse, dressed in what I can only describe as a get-up that signals that someone tried to make her their human dolly. This is no game; however, the obviously distressed woman is running from a blood-covered man wielding a machete and wearing only his underwear. Their chase scene is one that is tense and unnerving even in this medium. The slowed down visuals coupled with the noiseand lyrics of, “Our bones won’t grow when we’re dead” make for one of the most epic, blood-covered music video of a cat-and-mouse game that you could ever witness. The video is beautifully shot and it, in a sick way, actually leaves you wanting to see more. It comes across as a short film with a very fitting soundtrack.
No.1 “Happiness In Slavery”
Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor singing, “Don’t open your eyes, you won’t like what you see” seems to be the most appropriate descriptor of this video. The music video features a dapper man in a business suit readying an altar for… something, almost as if it’s a ritual. He takes the strange ritual angle a notch up when he starts to bathe himself in preparation. What’s he preparing for, you ask? Oh, just the usual Friday night routine for most yuppies; they’re all pervs, you know.
This particular kink goes above and beyond most whips and chains, however. Our now fully nude (oh yes, you get the wang shot) lies down on an odd contraptation that moves like a dentist’s chair from hell and straps him in almost immediately. The machine begins to… pleasure the man in a variety of ways that most of us would not ever want to be pleasured in. Namely, he has nipples torn off by the machine’s pinchers. For added weirdness, his blood also seems to be fertilizing some kind of garden. Goddamned yuppies. His skin is torn to bits, in addition to being drilled in various places.
Now, dear male readers, I want you to know that I love men. I really do. And I’m sorry to have included two videos in this list (I won’t mention the other one; I’m going to leave it as a surprise!) that include genital torture, so I’ll just give you full disclosure on this one… the machine rips his dick off. And he loves it. Put that in your proverbial pipes and smoke it. The next time that any of you say you have a weird fetish, I want you to use this music video as a reference point. If it’s not as weird as this dude’s fetish, shut the hell up. It’s no wonder that this video was banned universally right after it’s release. Sheesh.