View Full Version : Completely different perception

01-12-2003, 11:57 AM
This is not one of my favorite Tool songs, but the lyrics have always intrigued me... however, upon coming here I realized I had a totally different perception of the song than anyone else seems to have. I re-read the lyrics and my concept of it still seems to fit, but I have a feeling it's only being fueled by ideas and experiences in my own mind and the rest of you are probably much more on the right track. I saw Bottom as being, less specifically, about being controlled by someone, unable to rise against them, but building more and more hatred for them as time goes by-- more specifically, some type of slavery (I was thinking sexual for some reason) in which the slave has no real power but his thoughts of hatred. He embraces those thoughts in a way, because they are the only thing keeping him alive. Little clues within the song contributed to my conception of it, but my mind is horribly sick and twisted so I'm probably looking for something where it does not exist.

My compassion is broken now. My will is eroded,
and my desire stolen and it makes me feel ugly.
I'm on my knees and burning.
My piss and moans are the fuel that set my head on fire.
So smell my soul burning.
I'm broken, looking up to see the enemy.
I have swallowed the poison you feed me ...
but I survive on it,
and it leaves me guilt fed, hatred fed, weakness fed..
and I feel ugly, and dead inside.

Something about this verse just makes me think it's some kind of sexual slavery. Perhaps it is the references to being on the ground (or "bottom" as in the submissive sexual position), looking up to see the enemy, references to emotions and will being broken, as well as the phrase "my desire is stolen." I suppose "I have swallowed the poison you feed me" can be taken in a few different ways, but I took it as a possible reference to swallowing semen. Perhaps the person feels "guilt fed" because sex in this society is an inherently guilty thing, especially when it is being abused. Perhaps he feels guilty for allowing this to happen, or for being defiled and dirty. He feels hatred-fed because of his hatred for the one who has enslaved him, and feels weakness-fed because he is in an incredibly weak position. He feels ugly and dead inside because the slavery and abuse has numbed him and made him feel worthless.

Shit adds up at the bottom.

This could be a possibly reference to the fact that he has no way of escape, and will therefore stay at the bottom, but "shit" (his hatred and anger) is piling up and something is going to have to happen. It implies a danger towards the abuser when the "shit" pile grows too high.

You've left me no choice but to go inside and rebuild
what's broken.
Too much, too far, too late to lie down now.
I must arm myself to fight you
by making weapons out of my imperfections.
It's all I have left.
There's no other choice.
I'm shameless, nameless, nothing, and noone now.
But my soul must be iron for my fear is naked.
I'm naked and fearless.
But I'm dead inside.
You see.. shit adds up, now I'm dead inside.
Hatred, weakness, and guilt keep me alive
at the bottom.

I think this verse is saying that the enslaved person feels he has endured too much and gone too far to simply give up and "lay down" now. He is basically helpless, with no weapons but those that he can make out of himself. This is the only course of action he can take. He is "shameless, nameless, nothing and no one now" because the slavery had degraded him to the point that he feels he has lost his identity-- he is no one, nameless, and therefore he has nothing to fear or be ashamed of. He is "naked" because he is completely vulnerable, and his "soul must be iron" because he is otherwise so vulnerable and unarmed. He is dead inside-- no longer feeling or governed by any type of emotion, because he has numbed himself as a survival tool. This enables him to rise up from the bottom, even if he will be damaged forever, because he has no other course of action than to rise up or surrender.

I have a lot of doubts about this interpretation, but it was my first impression of the song. I am interested to hear what others think of it.

02-05-2003, 05:59 PM
I don't like the sex idea....i dont like the idea of any Tool song being about sex...although im sure some are....To me the bottom represents a major depression in ones life....and the song talks about how you can learn and grow from depression, song has major personal meaning to me b/c after I got out of a major depression I was the happiest person ever, perhaps it's b/c of the struggle it takes to get out.

02-06-2003, 06:58 PM
i always thought what stinkfistjeff explained, but how you explained it could also be what the song is intended. You know some tool songs are about something sexual from the song "prison sex" so i dont find it at all impossible to be the intended meaning.