Thirteen long years have passed without a whiff of new Tool material to gorge on while we’ve waited for the next album.
And let us say, it was 13 years longer than we needed it to be. Thankfully, the trailblazers decided to treat us to a 10-minute epic rollercoaster a couple of days ago, and the Internet cannot stop talking about it.
The immeasurable importance of such a band is hard to put into words – it must be felt. Nevertheless, we can’t help but wonder what changed in the 13 years since we last heard from Tool. Change is inevitable, and society is far from stagnation, especially in the 21st century. Let’s take a closer look at how society has changed in the last decade-plus and what Tool have returned to after so many years of absence.
The Change Is Apparent
Back in 2006, the world was a much simpler place.
The internet was gaining momentum, Facebook was slowly spreading its wings, Google Chrome was just an idea, and people still relied on TV to convey the truth and inform us about the world we lived in. The situation changed forever just a little bit after that.
Some people do not even remember the era of floppy disks, but back in 2006, they were still a thing. Not only that, but all kinds of similar paraphernalia were alive and kicking that we now consider antiques.
Services and Platforms
There have been massive developments in not only what we listen to, but how we listen as well.
Music, for example, suffered a myriad of changes in that department, and it is possibly the area where evolution is most evident. Back then, Spotify did not exist, and we had to wait nine more years to get introduced to Apple Music.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The technological revolution brought a host of services that people got hooked on immediately, the most notable being streaming. Before that, the only way to get music was to buy CDs or download albums, but when streaming appeared, the situation was turned on its head. Now the most popular way of accessing fresh music is to subscribe to a streaming service for a monthly fee where all music is instantly accessible to you without any hassle. And Spotify and Apple Music are just two of the most popular options – customers can choose between various other streaming services, including Tidal, YouTube, and Amazon Music.
Expectations of the Audience
When the new Tool song dropped, fans across the world were overjoyed and instantly started hitting the replay button repeatedly. Most fans agree: Tool haven’t aged a day. The new song has everything a Tool song needs to have to be branded as a trademark piece.
And that’s just the catalyst for a new debate. Is staying true to yourself still the principle we believe in? The complex notion is, in fact, a paradox. Artists who are in the industry for decades constantly need to reinvent their image while manage to stay true to themselves. In a way, staying the same and changing need to happen simultaneously, and few can manage to make that happen without suffering backlash from their loyal fans.
We have yet to see how Tool are going to adjust to the new scene, but thankfully we will have Fear Inoculum to listen to while we wait to see how it will pan out.
The Societal Framework
Perhaps the gravest changes are located at the core of society. The introduction of streaming and similar inventions changed the way we perceive the world and ourselves.
Things now move at a much faster pace, to the point that we can even go as far as to say that we now live in an Instant Society. The birth of amazing technology and gadgets provided a ton of help to our daily routines, but it has drawbacks as well. Yes, we can perform regular duties much faster now, but that inevitably left an impact on the kids of today: shorter attention spans, no patience whatsoever, and a general aversion to waiting for things to occur. If you must wait for it to load, it will be soon replaced.
The short-tempered society is so intertwined with the internet that almost all segments of our lives are found neatly compartmentalized in the vast virtual space. Listening to music is just one of those activities. Shopping, paying bills, working, playing games – you can do all that online now, and very quickly.
Social media experienced enormous growth, and with growth comes power. Today, the public’s opinion is best heard on services and sites that serve as communication channels between people that will (probably) never have a chance to meet each other.
The Canvas is Not Black
Despite all this, one thing still stands: music is, and always will be, appreciated. There will always be a special place saved for quality rock and metal music, no matter what we go through as a society. The fact that so many references to these two music genres exist in nearly all parts of the mainstream culture is a testament to the timelessness of the art these bands are creating. From movies and books to TV shows and games, music is everywhere. Even the online casino industry is filled with a surprising number of premium video slots you can play for free revolving around the legends of rock and metal music. Guns N Roses, Motorhead, Jimi Hendrix or even House of Doom – they have all been rewarded with a casino game homage.
And maybe that is how the world works now – by mixing branches and genres through pastiche, no genre or movement will ever fade away.