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Some say the end is near
Some say we'll see Armageddon soon
I certainly hope we will
I sure could use a vacation from this

Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of
Freaks

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call L.A.
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

Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and
Fret for your lawsuit and
Fret for your hairpiece and
Fret for your Prozac and
Fret for your pilot and
Fret for your contract and
Fret for your car

It's a
Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of
Freaks

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call L.A.
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

Some say a comet will fall from the sky
Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves
Followed by fault lines that cannot sit still
Followed by millions of dumbfounded dip-shits

Some say the end is near
Some say we'll see Armageddon soon
I certainly hope we will because
I sure could use a vacation from this

Silly shit, stupid shit . . .

One great big festering neon distraction
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied

Learn to swim

Mom's going to fix it all soon
Mom's coming around to put it back the way it ought to be

Learn to swim

Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and
Fuck all his clones
Fuck all those gun-toting
Hip gangster wannabes

Learn to swim

Fuck retro anything
Fuck your tattoos
Fuck all you junkies and
Fuck your short memory

Learn to swim

Fuck smiley glad-hands
With hidden agendas
Fuck these dysfunctional
Insecure actresses

Learn to swim

Because I'm praying for rain
And I'm praying for tidal waves
I want to see the ground give way
I want to watch it all go down
Mom, please flush it all away
I want to see it go right in and down
I want to watch it go right in
Watch you flush it all away

Tell him to bring it down again
Don't just call me pessimist
Try and read between the lines

I can't imagine why you wouldn't
Welcome any change, my friend

I want to see it all come down
Suck it down
Flush it down


Lyrics submitted by implode, edited by quetzalmex, mjoa, travisbr

Aenema song meanings
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565 Comments

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  • +12
    General CommentI'm quite surprised on how little some people know about Tool. The CD this song comes from was entirely dedicated to the late great Bill Hicks (R.I.P.), and some of the lyrics, this song specifically, are actually plays off rants that Bill Hicks had. Maynard (and Tool) and Bill Hicks were close friends. Bill Hicks had mentioned numerous times about how much he hates L.A. and just wants to flush the whole thing down, so people better start learning to swim or they will drowned in their own filth. And the "see you down in Arizona Bay" part, Bill Hicks had also said that too. So all in all, this song is pretty straight forward if you know of the legendary Bill Hicks.
    Chrismbaxon May 19, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General CommentI think this song follows a similar theme to that of many Tool songs - enlightenment. It seems it can be taken at face value and that the 'narrator' is just sick of everything that is wrong with L.A. Taken to a deeper level of meaning, however, and I think the song is about hope for better rather than worse. Here is what the song translates to, in my opinion of course;

    Most of the song is written from a negative perspective and in such a way that it really resonates with the disillusionment in many people. I think many people would derive a sick pleasure from watching the world collapse and to feel that their own misery is near an end, but i think the narrator sums it up perfectly when he says 'Don't just call me pessimist, try and read between the lines. I can't imagine why you wouldn't welcome any change, my friend.' To me this part implies that, although the narrator is speaking from a negative point of view, the desire is a positive one.

    As with many of Tool's songs, Keenan suggests that by simply living in the here and now and by accepting each moment as the only thing that truly exists, one can be freed from the bonds of human existence and from a position in time (Parabola, perhaps?)in order to feel truly connected with the 'oneness' of consciousness. For most people, enlightenment is an esoteric concept rather than a freedom achievable with anyone who so strongly desires it. For those who do become enlightened, a large proportion had to suffer greatly in order for the transmutation to commence. Some became enlightened due to the death of a loved one, or through severe illness. In my case, I experienced a sudden flash of enlightened awareness after years of suffering from severe depression and anxiety. I am still practicing in order to get to that peaceful place again.

    To me, the song seems to imply that the narrator hopes for a cataclysmic event to wake up those whose eyes are closed to the true and beautiful nature of existence.

    Cheers.
    myeyehurtson November 02, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentHey everyone!
    I just gotta say, by lookin past the surface of this song, or at least by tryin too, I get a lot more out of it. It goes past bein angry at how fake and superficial people and LA are. The word AEenma is a mixture of the word Enema, which is clearing of the bowels with fluid, and the word Anima, which is, in Jungian theory, the true inner subconscious self. It seems to me that this song is about clearing away those attachments to stupid useless shit that we don't need, and getting back to nature. He makes multiple references to mom, which is probably Mother Nature. Its about getting back to our true inner selves, uncovering what's hidden in our subconcious, and clearing away all of the shit, and learning how to swim. LEARN TO SWIM,
    The Full Effect
    TheFullEffect82on January 05, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song took maynard 6 whole mounths to write the song. Every second was well spent. Incredible meaning and sound. Genius's, all of em....
    toolbuffon December 09, 2001   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe 'learn to swim' part is a message for all Californians because maynards praying for it to sink into the ocean...if you notice in the in-lay of Tool's cd the 3-d picture, if you move it...only California dissappears.

    "fret for your pilot" hes talking about a television pilot..etc

    this song is just one big fuck you to Los Angeles, the entertainment industry, and to all the narcissistic people in california.
    savannahon January 10, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAgain fellow Tool Fans, just KISS (Keep It Simple Silly)! This song is on the '96 album AEnima, a tribute to Bill Hicks, another dead hero, who passed in '94 (no doubt the song writing began soon after the 32 y/o died). The album title requires you ignore the "E" (so Anima translates "life force" or "soul").

    Then with the album's title track, spelled AEnema, you are to ignore the "A," you know, to start the detoxing process. Brilliant word smithing by MJK and the band! Bill Hicks in the afterlife is loving it!The song is simply about the famous phrase "sink or swim." Or, to be more L.A. like, "detox or die!"

    If you... Read Between The Lines (by the lines I mean "Learn To Swim"), you'll see the "sink" parts (things we fret for, things that make us followers) and the "swim" parts (things to say f-you to, ways to go left when everyone else is going right).

    If this song were written today, I'm sure Tool would have mentioned another item to fret: The Mother-F-ing Cell Phone!!! I'm a math professor at a California college who recently went to open a classroom door at which my students were waiting. As I was walking toward the door, I noticed at least 80% of them with their heads down playing with their cell phones (themselves... metaphorically... if you consider F-Book). Sadly, behind them was one of the most spectacular sunsets I'd ever seen. I'm not sure any of my 40 students even noticed "MOM's" work. That says a lot if you think about it.

    And speaking of saying a lot, a certain magazine's person of the year is "The PROTESTOR." If you really want to protest something worthwhile, "Protest The Cell." If for no other reason, do it for the sake of humanity.

    We're going to reap what we sow in 20-30 years when we start realizing the long term effects of carrying cell phones with their ever-increasing (4G, 8G, 16G, ...) electropollution (EMFs) being emitted 24-7 so near our collective reproductive organs.

    "Learn To Swim" well enough to make it to the "Arizona Bay."

    Translations?

    Get the cells away from the bells! This goes for us ladies too.

    Got EMF-ed? Ignore the EMF, and what do you get?

    If you limp, you a wimp!

    If you sink, we can't link!

    Don't treat your "TOOL" that way and you'll make it to the Arizona Bay!

    Learn to swim!

    Oh, and don't forget about the little swimmers. I'm imagining headlines in 2030: All the franks are shooting blanks! No more eggs between the legs!

    For the sake of humanity, to hell with the cell. Learn to swim!
    rad4761on December 17, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe incredible urge to be rid of unpleasant old L.A. California. Love this song as it can be applied to the majority of america in a way. I want to watch it all go down.
    AquilusDominion August 10, 2012   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionBy the way, isn't it "i'm praying for rain, i'm praying for tidal waves", not "praying for mayhem"? last i knew it was "praying for rain", which makes more sense than using the word mayhem. rain is cleansing, rain washes things away.
    AquilusDominion August 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe didn't just use LA as an example... he truly wants that city to be wiped off the face of the world...

    and MHR i dont think that you should be ashamed of Tool for taking that look... because if you would do your research ... they are From LA ... i think they have a pretty good idea of what it is like.


    Interpretation is a Gateway into the soul, when you hear anothers interpretation it gives you just a little glimpse at who they truly are....


    - unScathed

    unScathedon February 05, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenteveryone has their own opinion meredith, and ours is that we like tool. we recognize the talant and identify with a lot of what their songs say. don't diss on that. and if tool and us are so fucking lame, what are you doing even posting that? why waste your precious time? this song and this band rock, and that's about all i have to say about that.
    stonetemplechickon February 23, 2002   Link

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