"Vicarious" as written by Daniel Carey, Justin Chancellor, Adam Jones and Maynard James Keenan....
Eye on the TV
'Cause tragedy thrills me
Whatever flavor it happens to be like
Killed by the husband
Drowned by the ocean
Shot by his own son
She used a poison

In his tea
And kissed him goodbye
That's my kind of story
It's no fun until someone dies

Don't look at me like
I am a monster
Frown out your one face
But with the other
Stare like a junkie
Into the TV
Stare like a zombie
While the mother

Holds her child
Watches him die
Hands to the sky crying
"Why, oh why?"

'Cause I need to watch things die, from a distance
Vicariously I live while the whole world dies
You all need it too, don't lie

Why can't we just admit it?
Why can't we just admit it?
We won't give pause until the blood is flowing
Neither the brave nor bold
Were writers of the stories told
We won't give pause until the blood is flowing

I need to watch things die
From a good safe distance
Vicariously I live while the whole world dies
You all feel the same, so

Why can't we just admit it?

Blood like rain come down
Drum on grave and ground

Part vampire
Part warrior
Carnivore and voyeur
Still have the transmitter
Synched to the death rattle

La, la, la, la, la, la-la-lie
La, la, la, la, la, la-la-lie
La, la, la, la, la, la-la-lie
La, la, la, la, la, la-la-lie

Credulous at best
Your desire to believe in
Angels in the hearts of men
Pull your head out of your hippie haze
and give a listen
Shouldn't have to say it all again

The universe is hostile, so impersonal
Devour to survive, so it is, so it's always been

We all feed on tragedy
It's like blood to a vampire

Vicariously I live while the whole world dies
Much better you than I


Lyrics submitted by DarkAntiCrista, edited by InConSciOUS, xvicariousx

"Vicarious" as written by Daniel Carey Adam Jones

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Vicarious song meanings
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  • +14
    Song MeaningMaynard is a man who know much about psychology, and I totally agree with him on this one. The civilized mankind today is overprotected. Yet we feel unsafe, and most of all bored. To keep our mind of things we watch television and read the paper to hear the news from this world.
    What Maynard wants to say is that: WHY IS THE MOST INTERESTING STORIES IN THE NEWS THE SAD AND HORRIBLE ONES? People feel safe when they hear about other peoples deaths. And thet need to hear it. It is something satisfying about it in a non-maschistic way. Don't get me wrong here... we aren't vicous killers.
    This world is filled with violence. We hate it, but we love to hate it.

    Think about it... When you see a newspaper with a big fat title "Stabbed by husband." you don't go like "hm... who cares." You grab it, buy it, read it, and go "I'm glad that wasen't me." og "pfft! what are the odds of that happening to me?" Then you go on with your life with one less worry.

    Violence is like pornograhpy for your mind.

    I hope you understand.
    and please don't get for a murderer, or a suicidel dumbnut ;)
    KeeperOfToolon January 15, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General CommentBrainNevelle, if you just want to hear Maynard sing without the other 3 members then you aren't a Tool fan. Tool is one of if not the best band out there because of all it's members. Danny Carey may be the best drummer ever, and without his complex and powerful polyrythms Tool and Maynard would have no backbone to their songs. Same goes for the gripping and thundering guitar riffs and baselines by Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor. You have no right to call anyone a fake fan.. if people are true fans, they listen to the whole band. Not just Maynard, don't get me wrong, I still think he is a god, but you have to get the whole picture. If Maynard wanted himself to be more prominent he would have done so. You probably have no appreciation for songs like Reflection on Lateralus.
    stonekirbyon April 19, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentRegarding what BrainNeville has pointed out, I also agree that vocals in the song are on the background. But this is not something new for Tool at all. There are many examples where Maynard used his voice like an "instrument with words". My examples would be Reflection, You Lied, No Quarter and parts of other songs to.

    Interviews have also shown that Tool has aimed to use Maynard's voice like an instrument via effects and tricks. My counter argument is that we have to stop idealizing Maynard which makes us unable to concentrate on the music that these 4 talents make.

    This is teamwork and why do we always have to see an idol, a frontman. Maynard is no Kurt Cobain. It's his style. Every single individual in Tool sees that all the other guys have suplendid talents and they like to present the whole picture. I appreciate and agree that Maynard has a extraordinarily divine voice and love listening to him like I'm hearing messeages from above.

    However, due to the reason that Maynard is not a frontman in Tool, and should not be, Maynard's voice should not override those of others. And still, I believe there are adequate (although when it comes to Maynard I never get enough) songs to hear him.

    I hope this new album will be another chance to hear Maynard's voice both infront of all others and as an instrument by himself. I take it either way.
    cherbeon April 19, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is more down to earth than usual from Maynard. It hits hard because it is not about hidden meanings. At first, the lack of mystery is almost disappointing for a die-hard. But the song itself is devastating and true tool. The meaning, as I see it: we consume information about the world's tragedies like vultures because, in part, it satisfies a need of ours. Why can't we just admit it? Because this vicariousness is horribly shameful. So we (la, la, la) lie about it. Maynard tells us to accept the truth, though, he really doesn't need or want to 'say it all again'.
    This is a song about a human need that Maynard thinks is timeless ('so it is, so it's always been'): living vicariously off other people's tragedy. He does not hope for change, he demands recognition of this ailment. Because maybe we really should be ashamed.
    lipanconjuringon April 18, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think that this song is about the hypocrisies of today's society. How everyone is entertained by death, as along as it doesnt effect them.
    nirvanarox7on July 29, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentSimple enough, as human beings we watch others to judge our own behaviour in comparison. The problem is that in today's 24 hour media society we've become obsessed with the miniutae of watching others suffer but we can do it "from a safe distance" and no one needs to know how much we enjoy it.TV, newspapers, websites, it's all there, all the gory, nasty detail we could ever want to revel in and with no strings attached! You ask anyone if they enjoyed it and they will all say, "Oooh no! It's disgusting and tragic. I can't understand why.", just admit you enjoyed watching someone else suffer and be thankful it wasn't you!

    Brilliant track.
    fuzzypiggyon April 12, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhen this album first came out I was listening to Vicarious while driving. I was stuck in traffic behind a taxi that had an advertisement on it for an exhibition called "The Human Body", where various aspects of the body are studied and put on display, like muscle/bone structures, skin fibres, vital organs etc etc. Funnily enough, the photo on the ad was very much like the cover of Lateralus, with the photo of a human being illustrating the layers beneath the skin.
    What really caught my attention were the words in bold italic underneath the image: "REAL BODIES ON DISPLAY"

    This song really made sense to me after I saw that: I could picture people at the exhibition bypassing all the fake plastic skeletons, respiratory system drawings, etc etc, and heading straight for the "real bodies" where they would stand in droves and "stare like zombies" at this dead body on the table.

    I could also imagine that people "wouldn't give pause" to even consider going to the exhibition until they learn that real dead bodies are on display. And the fact that the advertisers found it necessary to even mention it on the ad as if that makes the whole experience more "appealing".

    But the funny thing is: I am no different. I would have been there front row centre, looking at the dead body. Even though it's wrong, you can't help but look. "Why can't we just admit it?"

    We are all "Part vampire, Part warrior. Carnivore and voyeur." We are infatuated at the misfortune and suffering of others. "Like blood to a vampire"

    What genius. Thank you Tool.

    Anyway, I was late to work that day. But who cares!!!

    One last parting thought: Think about all those times you watch TV, or watch a movie, or even watch a motor race and hope for a crash, a murder scene, etc. We are all monsters. We just need to admit it.
    joe164on August 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWoo, first comment.

    Incredible song, I'm pretty sure it's about how we all sit on the couch, hypnotized, watching TV and all the tragedies that are broadcasted that we take pleasure in viewing. Vicarious shows a sarcastic view of this.

    I can't wait for the new album to be out!
    rather_dirty_nationon April 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song isn't about getting up and doing something though, Luca303. It isn't about thinking we're better off than the people we watch on TV.


    The song is about how we all love to watch the garbage on TV, even though many refuse to admit. There's no point judging people who relish in it; we can't change.
    "Your desire to believe in
    Angels in the hearts of men
    But pull your head on out..."

    The world is dying and there's nothing we can do except sit back, watch, and enjoy from a distance.
    maxxxon April 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThese lyrics are not correct, try these ones.... the only thing that might not be 100% is the, "She used a poison, in his tea, and kissed him goodbye" but I know it's not "he used to poison, and in his dreams" or whatever you got up here, another thing, it's, "Credulous, Divest" not "Credulous at best"

    Tool - Vicarious

    Eye on the T.V. 'cause tragedy thrills me.
    Whatever flavor it happens to be like..
    "Killed by the husband",
    "Drowned by the ocean",
    "Shot by his own son",
    "She used the poison in his tea
    and kissed him goodbye".
    That's my kinda story.
    It's no fun until someone dies.

    Don't look at me like I am a monster.
    Thrown out your one face,
    But with the other.
    Stare like a junkie into the T.V..
    Stare like a zombie,
    While the mother holds her child.
    Watches him die.
    Pleads to the sky crying:
    "Why, oh why?"

    Cause I need to watch things die... from a distance.
    Vicariously I live while the whole world dies.
    You all need it too - don't lie.

    Why can't we just admit it?
    Why can't we just admit?

    We won't give pause until the blood is flowing.
    Neither the brave nor bold, or writers of stories told.
    We won't give pause until the blood is flowing.

    I need to watch things die.. from a good safe distance.
    Vicariously I live while the whole world dies.
    You all feel the same so..

    Why can't we just admit it?

    Blood like rain come down.
    Drown on grave and ground.

    Part vampire.
    Part warrior.
    Carnivore and voyeur.
    Stare at the transmitter.
    Sing to the death rattle.

    Lie (4x)

    (Background news headline)

    Credulous, divest your desire to believe in
    Angels in the hearts of men.
    Pull your head on out.
    Your head believes it give a listen.
    Shouldn't have to say it all again.
    The universe is hostile,
    So impersonal.
    Devour to survive, so it is,
    So it's always been.

    We all feed on tragedy.
    It's like blood to a vampire.

    Vicariously, I live while the whole world dies.
    Much better you than I.
    Endorphoenixon April 18, 2006   Link

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