"The Hollow" as written by and Maynard James/howerdel Keenan....
Run desire run
Sexual being
Run him like a blade
To and through the heart
No conscience
One Motive
Cater to the hollow

Screaming feed me here
Fill me up again
Temporarily pacify this hungering
So grow
Libido throw
Dominoes of indiscretions down
Falling all around
In cycles
In circles
Constantly consuming
Conquer and devour

'Cause it's time to bring the fire down
Bridle all this indiscretion
Long enough to edify
And permanently fill this hollow

Screaming feed me here
Fill me up again
Temporarily pacifying

Feed me here
Fill me up again
Temporarily pacifying

Lyrics submitted by Terminal

"The Hollow" as written by Maynard James Keenan Billy Howerdel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Hollow song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentPretty straight forward. Sex is only a temporary fulfillment for the hollow in your life and he's trying to search for something that will fill it up permanently.
    Beowulf_Xtremeon April 29, 2002   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI agree with most of the comments here but theres something more to this song. When keenan says "conquer and devour," he is referring to the *obsession* for sex. And he accepts it, in fact encourages it. "Run desire," "grow libido," are commands he is giving himself.
    norezenon April 06, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General Commentsex as a substitute for love
    ringoon January 27, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is my own interpretation:
    To me this song is about the way mankind has raped the world. Our conquer and devour attitude.
    Cater to the hollow could refer to the fact people are generally confused about the meaning life; they feel hollow and purposeless, so they are forever looking for a way to fill this hollow. Mostly mankind does this through consumption. The repeated use of the word indiscretion (means lack of prudence, lack of good judgment and foresight) suggests to me that humankind is not using their power of reason to realise that this over-consumption is destroying us, it is not sating us.
    There are other words that seem significant, they are:
    edify (to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge. It sort of means to enlighten.) To me this suggests that to edify is the only pure and permanent way to fill the hollow. The verse in which it is used might mean: it is time to start being prudent and take responsibly, the only way we can truly fill the hollow is through edification.
    Pacify: to mean to restore to a tranquil state, but the word invokes feelings of being controlled and manipulated. A pacified state will not remain so for long.
    Temporary: this is important to a few APC & Tool songs, since a large problem of mankind is a lack of acceptance in the temporary state of life. Also, the over-consumption and pacification are all temporary, pointless and ever-repeating false solutions.
    Libido: (instinctual psychic energy that in psychoanalytic theory is derived from primitive biological urges and that is expressed in conscious activity.) To me this means that even though we have the power of reasoning, we still lack discretion, so instead of limiting our libido in order to sustain and preserve our symbiotic relationship with the planet, we chose to go for the quick, temporary fix: we give in and reify libido. So our indiscretion is leading to misuse of the earth and could lead to self-destruction. Things happen in cycles and circles. We never learn from past mistakes, we just repeat them.
    Throttle: (means to choke/kill, but also means to decrease the flow of, or to regulate) this means that in order to fill the hollow we need to destroy indiscretion and regulate and decrease the flow of libido. This will allow us to edify, and permanently fill the hollow.

    This song is really wordy, a lot of the words relate & have double meanings. Eg: indiscretion also means imprudent, which could be related to the way that sex is another commodity in the modern world; we have lost prudence. The word prudent is related to the word prude, to mean sexual discretion. The lack of sexual discretion in the world is leading to overpopulation, which is in turn destroying the planet.

    This is probably just all a coincidence. But to me this song is the key to many of MJKs other songs. This is just my own personal take on the lyrics; what this song means to me.
    zomzaraon July 05, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentfairly straightfoward... about the need to pacify this hollow, or for sex... i'm sure there's some other meaning, haven't found it yet.
    Jondude11on December 04, 2001   Link
  • +2
    General Commentsomething is missing from his life and he uses sex as something to fill the void
    minor_geniuson March 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningLook guys this is what the song means:

    "run desire run
    sexual being run him like a blade"

    Maynard is not implicitly drawing from personal experience, its intentionally ambiguous. Regardless it does not matter, he is speaking on general concepts of metaphysical sexuality of women, ya know humans n such blah blah. He states "sexual being" referencing the common and somewhat scientific explanation of human beings, in this case, the woman is letting her desire 'run her life, guiding her, instead of ya know her heart etc., "run him like a blade" is a metaphor for her sexual desires, aka, running herself physically (sexual reference) onto him but at the same time its like she is running her body thru a knife by doing this, hurting herself, signifying her shallow and purely sexually destructive ways.

    "to and thru the heart etc."

    She is not leading with her heart or sense of self integrity, her only motive is to "cater to the hollow" the hollow being the void in her life that comes from living life without integrity etc.

    "Screamin' feed me here
    Fill me up again
    Pacify this hungerin"

    Above: obviously just Maynard expounding upon the theme of sexual shallow gratification being innately temporary and fleeting. He uses the adjective pacify bc its a temp. fix, not something integrity filling.

    "So grow, libido, throw
    Dominoes of indiscretions down
    Fallin' all around, in cycles, in
    Circles, constantly consuming
    Conquer and devour"

    Her libido, ruling life, grows larger, and thus so does the void. Dominoes describes the pattern of self destruction that will circle upon itself like a torrent over and over, consuming her. She is devouring herself by filling the void creating by being basically a whore, put plainly

    'Cause it's time to bring the fire down
    Bridle all this indiscretion
    Long enough to edify
    And permanently fill this hollow

    Maynard is saying she needs to kick her habits soon, to burn them, to finally be free. Baiscally quit being a whore and man up and kick the habit.

    Maynard is no stranger to poetry and metaphors, a great writer says ALOT in very little amount of words, which is what he does.

    johnecholson October 23, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me this song is about how there is an emptiness in most people's lives. They don't know what is missing, so they try and 'fill' it with whatever they feel works, and that can mean any kind of addiction, sex, drugs, food, anything that can temporarily end their craving, and make them feel whole, even though its only for a short time. I look at the people in my life and how they fill their hollow, like my mom who fills it with religion and others who fill it with trying to find an escape, like tv, video games, etc. Its really sad when you think about it, how many people can honestly say that they are truly happy and lead fulfilling lives?
    moonwalkonawireon March 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentget rid of your Libido so There will be no hollow, Desire is pain, no desire no pain,no hollow to fill up, no god, absolut freedom of the Body, the allien meaning of the song, i don't get it
    estealon January 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI don't think anyone has gone deep enough with the interpretation of this song yet.....remember your occult studies??? not so much occult but more alchemical, i think this song is trying to convey Maynard's ego solely hellbent on the fulfillment of his sexual desires. It gives no mercy in the struggle to have its way, which it believes will fill that hollow. But it's a temporary solution to a lifelong problem. Maynard talks of bringing the fire (of the sun) down, which alchemically can mean many things, but i think here it means bringing this unconscious desire to a conscious level and examining it long enough to change that overwhelming problem-that so many of you have touched on. The fact that most people use sex as a cover-up of some other deeply felt emotion. I really love the fact that he ends with the chorus again just to show us that our egos will almost ALWAYS BE THERE, wanting their own way in spite of ourselves! the battle goes on........and on......
    corndog121286on March 17, 2010   Link

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