A Perfect Circle
Thirteenth Step


4.5
superb

Review

by HydrusGemini USER (1 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 149 replies | 18,322 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


1 of 3 thought this review was well written

For a little misc. information, APC is currently composed of Billy Howerdel (composer and guitar) Maynard James Keenan (words and vocals) Josh Freese (drums) Jeordie White (bass guitar) and James Iha (guitar). "Thirteenth Step" is their follow up album to "Mer De Noms (French for "Sea of Names").

Ok, now here is my breakdown of A Perfect Circle's newest album, "Thirteenth Step" song by song:


"The Package": The lyrics, like most of Maynards, are fairly vague. On the surface, it seems to be about a character (Maynard?) who is struggling (or embracing/justifing) an addiction by "Feeding the monster". The addiction in this case is likely sex or simply taking advantage of others. The song starts off slow with a clean guitar and simple but deep bassline. At the chorus, the song get substancially heavier. Great Song 9/10

"Weak and Poweless": Unless you've been living under a rock for the last month, you've heard this single off the album. Nice bassline, catchy chorus, but also fairly repetetive. One of the least impressive songs on the album. 5/10

"The Noose": Beautiful, relaxing "meditative" intro. This song is nearly entirely driven by Maynard's voice and Josh Freeses drumming. The lyrics (again interpretable) are about someones "rightousness" being lost. People expect so much from this "character" that he/she is unable to follow up their current
deeds, and they are being (figuratively) crucified for it. Pretty song, but not up to "3 Libras" standard. 8/10

"Blue": Probably the worst real song on the album. Other than the chorus, the song is pretty boring. As for lyrics, I've yet to decide whether it's a love song, or about deceiving yourself about a loved one. It could also be about asphyxiating someone you loved/trusted. A very "meh" song. 4/10

"Vanishing": Very vague lyrics. It could be about anything from missed opportunities to death. It's kind of a "Chill-out, relax" type song. Musically, it's very diverse. There are an abundance of sounds, with no leading instrument. Average song. 7/10

"A Stranger": Nice, beautiful, mellow song. Simple guitar picking leads the way with Maynard backing them up. I'm not convinced, but the lyrics could be about someone who is deceived by addictive drugs and "formulate[ing] Denials of your [their] affect on me [him/her]". It could also be about someone is severely antisocial and their thoughts are eating them away emotionally. Another good song. 9/10

"The Outsider": The song that most fits the definition of "rock". Not to say it's generic, but it uses the average rock formula. Lyrically it's about someone who is either falsly suicidal for attention, or just a general anti-sucide song; "Why do wanna throw it away like this, Such a mess, I don't wanna watch you, Disconnect and self-destruct, one bullet at a time. What's your rush now everyone will have his day to die." Another above average song. 8/10

"Crimes": Pretty much filler material, barely even a song. The only lyrics are Maynard counting under his breath. He counts up to eight, then says nine 4 times and then ten 4 times. There's probably a meaning to it, but I leave it up to you to find it (if there is one). 2/10

"The Nurse Who Loved Me": A cover song from the band "Failure". Definitely the most unique (weird) song on the album. No guitar, no drums, just Maynard, a choir, and various orchastral instruments. I'm guessing most wont like it (though it has grown on me), but bonus points for having the balls to put this on the album. 7/10

"Pet": The "Judith" of Thirteenth Step. Heavy and Rhythmic. The lyrics come across corny at first ("Lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come"), but a child fearing imaginary creatures is a good analogy for the likely subject, deception by organized religion. 10/10

"Lullaby": Another filler track. The song is basically Maynard whispering "Go back to sleep." and woman singing "oooh oh oh ooooh oh" over and over. 1/10

"Gravity": Personally, my favorite song on the album. Lyrics touch on the subject of drugs (or possibly deep meditation) giving a depressed/outcasted person a reason to live through a altered consciousness and spiritual awareness. Maynard really shows how beautiful his voice can be in this one, and the instruments emphasize the emotion tenfold. 10/10

I give the album as a whole, 9/10. It's definitely another Maynard masterpiece, though it did take a while for the album to sink in. Whether it's better than Mer De Noms is debatable, but it is worth hearing none-the-less. The above are just my lyrical and musical interpretations of each song. Likely they are absolutely wrong, but I tried.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
ledfloyd_fan
November 17th 2003



23 Comments


Originally posted by metalhed873
The review above is very accurate, however, I disagree on one point. I think "Weak and Powerless" is one of the best songs on the album.


I agree, also anyone who likes Tool should give this a try.

Prodigal_Suns_Rock
November 18th 2003



4 Comments


Good review. When listening to this album I think it's important not to compare it to Mer De Noms. They are two seperate albums with different themes. That's what usually comes of prodject bands. A good album non-the-less. However, I don't like the fact that the second version of Weak And Powerless is not on the album.

HydrusGemini
November 19th 2003



2 Comments


After rereading my review a few days later, perhaps I was a little harsh on "Blue", but I stand by my thoughts on "Weak and Powerless". To me, it's basically a 30 second song repeated over and over again. However, the guitar version (the one Prodigal_Suns_Rock speaks of, I believe) is more dynamic and is substancially better (though it still suffers from repetiveness). I suggest you download it if you can find it (I can't remember where I got it).

RideTheSpiral
November 19th 2003



26 Comments


I agree totally about weak and powerless. Excellent album, maynards voice is in great form.

4/5

Bartender
Emeritus
November 19th 2003



826 Comments


I think Blue is a great song; it uses something that Maynard-related material seems to a lot - I've been calling it the orgasm method - tense, harsher music/vocals giving way to an uplifting "release", which dispels the tension and makes you feel better (or me at least). Its best shown on the Tool song Aenema, the "release" being when the grinding guitar ceases and Maynard comes out with " 'Cos I'm praying for rain/I'm praying for tidal waves" - in Blue, the release, for me, is "Mistook the(ir) nods for an approval/Just, ignore the smoke and smile" - this never fails to hit me really hard, and makes me feel great.

Anyway, I also think Weak and Powerless is a bit better than you make out; it is probably the most conventional sounding track on the album, but its still good, and to me has great value as a song that will get you hooked early on, and so encourages you to explore the album more, rather than discarding it cos its all "difficult".

And I think Crimes and Lullaby shouldn't be taken into account for this album (as Caesaro Summability, etc shouldn't be taken as part of Aenima) - they are part of it, but they are a part which only really works in the context of the rest of the album, whereas the "real" songs work as showcases on their own.

Of course all reviews are opinion, but I mostly agree with you - 9/10 (or 4.5 stars, as mx would have it).

PeEpHoLe_10
November 28th 2003



31 Comments


like alot of people, i think that blue is a very good song.
and i dont mind lullaby, cos instead of a lead in to a song, its sort of a fade out. i think its kinda cool.

IvortheEngineDriver
December 15th 2003



164 Comments


Good review, except you don't know what both "A Stranger" and "Pet" are about...

"A Stranger" is talking about Maynard's relationship with God. At the last part, he talks about the Holy Ghost (Shy away phantom) The Son (Run Away, terrified child) and the Father (Move away, you ****ing tornado)...he is denoucing religion (I'm better off without you, tearing my will down)

"Pet"-This is about Bush and the wars he is committing (Go to sleep to the rythum of the war drums) and Globalization (Swinging to the rythum of the New World Order)

Just to correct you, otherwise, good review

Mer De Noms was better, but Thirteenth Step is very good 9/10

Bartender
Emeritus
December 16th 2003



826 Comments


[QUOTE=IvortheEngineDriver]Good review, except you don't know what both "A Stranger" and "Pet" are about...

"A Stranger" is talking about Maynard's relationship with God. At the last part, he talks about the Holy Ghost (Shy away phantom) The Son (Run Away, terrified child) and the Father (Move away, you ****ing tornado)...he is denoucing religion (I'm better off without you, tearing my will down)

"Pet"-This is about Bush and the wars he is committing (Go to sleep to the rythum of the war drums) and Globalization (Swinging to the rythum of the New World Order)

Just to correct you, otherwise, good review

Mer De Noms was better, but Thirteenth Step is very good 9/10[/QUOTE]

Are these just your personal opinions (or someone elses) on what the songs are about, or have you read an interview or article or something where Maynard has said that?

Mojo2004
January 11th 2004



2 Comments


hey...gd reveiw, bt i think "weak and powerless" deserves about 7 or 8 out of 10, not 5

craigmac
January 17th 2004



18 Comments


i read in guitar world, an interveiw on APC. aparently the new album is bassed around an adiction with drugs. thus the song the nurse who loved me. "she's got everything i need. pharmacy keys... some pills in a little cup."

however the album keeps a optimistic look about it, with the last words of the last track being, "i chose to live".

i love this album. my ex bought it for me. so cool.

ciao

craigmac
January 17th 2004



18 Comments


[QUOTE=IvortheEngineDriver]Good review, except you don't know what both "A Stranger" and "Pet" are about...

"A Stranger" is talking about Maynard's relationship with God. At the last part, he talks about the Holy Ghost (Shy away phantom) The Son (Run Away, terrified child) and the Father (Move away, you ****ing tornado)...he is denoucing religion (I'm better off without you, tearing my will down)

"Pet"-This is about Bush and the wars he is committing (Go to sleep to the rythum of the war drums) and Globalization (Swinging to the rythum of the New World Order)

Just to correct you, otherwise, good review

Mer De Noms was better, but Thirteenth Step is very good 9/10[/QUOTE]

interpretations of any song can be formed into many different subjects.
so unless you read it somewhere, your post cant really be justified.

ciao

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 19th 2004



2125 Comments


[QUOTE=ledfloyd_fan]I agree, also anyone who likes Tool should give this a try.[/QUOTE]
hmmm, I don't like Tool but I love APC. I dunno, I guess they're not only for Tool fans.

Led Zeppp
January 23rd 2004



4 Comments


I really like this album and i haven't heard all of mers de noms so I can't compare it to that. I think 13th step has some great songs but also has some weaker ones, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. The Package is my fav. song.

snipey
January 25th 2004



3 Comments


Alright i thought id give a stab at this cd reviewing :thumb: so i chose one of my favorite bands APC and their new cd..i hope you find it helpful so here goes

1. The Package- 8.0/10.0 A good opener, melodic with nice rim work by josh freese. One of my only complaints with this song is that it seems to drag on a little bit..maybe a bit on the longish side. There's some nice sounding higher/maybe harmonics in the beginning and interlude of the song done by Billy. Maynard's singing is right on as usual..and the crescendo of him saying "Bring this to me" leading into the first loud part is one of my favorite parts of the song. Twiggy has a nice riff..just maybe repeated a little bit to much. James support work complements Billy nicely.

2. Weak and Powerless- 6.5/10.0 Not my first choice for a single..but a good song. The words are really what make this song as the drum part is very repetitive and the guitar doesnt shine through on this song. Twiggy does a nice opening riff but alas..repeats it alot. Maynard saves the song with the lyrics and the way he sings them..its really worth listening to the song just to hear the words.

3. The Noose- 8.5/10.0 One of my favorite songs off the new cd. Nice synth part throughout most..complements the haunting work of Billy. Twiggy doesn't seem to have a big part in this song. The real shining part of this song is the harmony parts with Maynard overdubbing himself on the last Chorus/Outro. Josh Freese shows his creative ability on this song..coming up with quite a unique beat during the verse and lots of ghost notes and ride work during the choruses.

4. Blue- 7.5/10.0 This is a nice overall song. Both guitars and bass seem to fit well together during most of it. Josh does some syncopation for most of it and provides a nice counter-rhythm to the guitar. Maynard and Billy combine for some nice harmonies as they talk about a girl and blue

5. Vanishing- 9.0/10.0 One of my personal favorites of the cd. The beginning doesnt seem like much..but it really kicks in about 0:35 and continues to grow from there. Maynard seems to really let his more melodic side show on this song and combines haunting lyrics with beautiful melodies. Josh Freese once again takes the cake on this song..coming through with one of his best performances yet with APC.

6. A Stranger- 6.0/10.0 This song seems out of place sandwiched between Vanishing and The Outsider. Its a nice change of pace..with a nice guitar riff and some well thought out if not odd lyrics.

7. The Outsider 9.5/10.0 Ahh my favorite song on the cd. The Outsider gets you hooked from the beginning with Billy playing a clean riff and then a moving drum part leading into the verse. The verse seems like a constant buildup leading into the Chorus which is harder than most of the rest of the cd. Maynard really gets up in the octave range at the end of the chorus as he sings about "everyone having his day to die". The 2nd verse/interlude is a good change with low guitar riffs and an angry sounding tom part behind it. The bridge is a nice guitar feature with Josh laying down a snare groove behind it. Leading into the 3rd chorus is a very effective 16th triplet double bass part. After that maynard screams "Over this!" leading into a guitar solo you might call it. Then the outro..the angriest part of the song. With Maynard half singing/half yelling "If you choose to pull the trigger, should your drama prove sincere, do it somewhere FAR AWAY FROM HERE."

8. Crimes 3.5/10.0 I know it wasnt meant to be a song..but i really dont think crimes should have been on here. It seemed just like a little bit of a filler..but ended up sounding like bad recording quality (which could have been the point). Its sort of novel to hear the first couple of times..but after that you'll prolly skip over it.

9. Nurse Who Loved me 5.5/10.0 One of the strangest songs on the cd..with Maynard talking about an experience with a nurse. Theres a nice synth part going through most of it and Maynard seems to have sort of a muting effect on his voice. It doesnt seem to quite come out as full as normal but it fits the atmosphere of the song very well.

10. Pet 8.0/10.0 Very nice entrance..very punchy. Almost heavy metalish guitar riff with a little bit of squealing and nice drum part behind it. It then goes quiet with Maynard singing about a "precious". The chorus picks back up into the metal feel and has some great lyrics talking about war and its effects.

11. Lullaby 4.0/10.0 Another weird filler..this one with who i presume is Maynard trying to sing about 2 octaves out of his range. (It could be Paz or another girl im not sure). An interesting listen but it sort of grates on your nerves after awhile.

12. Gravity 9.0/10.0 Nice closer song..sets the mood for the end of the cd and wraps up pretty much all thoughts that you might have. Good time sig. 7/8 for the entire song and some creative work through the entire band..Billy and James contribute even more melodic/haunting riffs and Twiggy lays down a nice backbone for the song. Josh comes through with a very unique part to the song and it seems to help push it along. Maynard comes through with some of his best singing to date with APC.

Overall i give Thirteenth Step a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It's a good cd..but a couple of songs bring down the overall feeling i think they were going for. In my opinion, it's not quite up to Mer De Noms. However, its well worth the purchase for any APC fan or anyone who loved Tool and wants to hear Maynard show his more melodic side.

Damrod
Moderator
January 25th 2004



1093 Comments


I'm sorry to be the one to tell you:

There is already a review on Thirteenth Step. Sorry...

sting-ray
January 25th 2004



92 Comments


i will merge this to the original thread.

sting-ray
January 25th 2004



92 Comments


done.

Cort2003
February 16th 2004



4 Comments


blue is one of the more touching, deep tracks on the album and evan all the fillers are as good as well. i beleive you are dead wrong on all your views. especially the fore mentioned song blue and weak and powerless. thats all have to say mmkay.

oh and ps maynard is God!!! and if you ever give one of his songs anything lower than an 8 ever again i will send you something terrible in the mail. just expect to receive a package to render you weak and powerless and you will pay for your crimes against the nurse who loved me. and you will become my pet and be a very blue man. so there's the gravity of the situation you stranger of an outsider. i hope you wrap a noose around your neck. sing yourself a lullaby and go back to sleep!!! go back to sleep!!! go back to sleep!!! precious.......

br3ad_man
Emeritus
February 21st 2004



2125 Comments


hmmm, I can't say that I really disagree with your review, but I really think that The Noose deserves a 10/10. It is my favourite song off the album, and I am getting chills just singing it in my head. I would have done the review differently, but I don't disagree with it, I just have a different viewpoint.

ieatalotoftacos
March 15th 2004



17 Comments


Is Maynard doing the soft humming at the end of Lullaby? It sort of sounds like him. Anyway, this cd is a straight listen through, almost perfect without the fillers. Very underrated, probably my favorite cd of the year.



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