Lateralus (9:24)

Cover of Lateralus

From Lateralus and 41 other releases

Lateralus” is the title track of the 2001 album of the same name by the American band Tool’.

-Mathematical significance-
Counting between pauses, the syllables in Maynard James Keenan’s vocals during the verses form the first few Fibonacci numbers, ascending and descending:
(1) Black,
(1) then,
(2) white are,
(3) all I see,
(5) in my infancy,
(8) red and yellow then came to be,
(5) reaching out to me,
(3) lets me see.
(2) There is,
(1) so,
(1) much,
(2) more and
(3) beckons me,

(5) to look through to these,
(8) infinite possibilities.
(13) As below so above and beyond I imagine,
(8) drawn beyond the lines of reason.
(5) Push the envelope.
(3) Watch it bend.

The Fibonacci sequence shares a relationship with spirals, which are mentioned several times later in the lyrics.
The time signatures of the chorus change from 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8; as drummer Danny Carey says, “It was originally titled 9-8-7. For the time signatures. Then it turned out that 987 was the 17th step of the Fibonacci sequence. So that was cool.”

-Interpretation-
In a 2001 interview, Keenan commented on the lyric mentioning black, white, red and yellow: “I use the archetype stories of North American aboriginals and the themes or colours which appear over and over again in the oral stories handed down through generations. Black, white, red, and yellow play very heavily in aboriginal stories of creation.”

Common Interpretations
You might want to re-listen to the song while reading the line-breaks to make sure you agree that they are legit ahead of time. Otherwise, you may have a hard time believing this…

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Black then white are all I see in my infancy.
Red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
Lets me see.
As below, so above and beyond, I imagine

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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