Tool: Crawl Away Meaning
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Crawl Away Lyrics
To begin I believe this song is sung from the point of view of an abuser and antagonist.For anyone who has been in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship , this could be a spouse,father ,mother,sibling any one abusing in any manner, you will know that they love to be abusive. And taking a look at the song "prison sex" this abuser (not necessarily the same one as in this song) abuses another because it makes them feel better.But in th song "crawl away" gives the image of someone damaged and so in order to save themselves all they can do to get away is crawl. He says "this is love" " this is my love for you " but is really a love of abusing this other person and self love.Abusers try to keep you in a " stranglehold" with supposed love for you .The "love" for this person is contradicted in lines such as "But what you want and what you need
don't mean a fuck to me. " and "I can see your back is turning.
If I could I'd, stick the knife in!"
Once you decide to not play their game anymore they try even harder"which gets scary because they become even more desperate to get at you. But you if decide to leaving they become angry.I say game because it is a game to them, a very enjoyable activity. When someone antagonizes you into reacting negatively this is a form of abuse. They are using you for their own pleasurable game. That's what most alerted me to this meaning is when he used the lines "So what you're trying to say,
is you don't wanna play."
And the hatred this abuser feel for this person trying to "crawl away".
"You crawled away from me,
slipped away from me.
I tried to keep a hold,
but there was nothing I could say.
Slid away from me,
and crept away from me,
tried to keep you down,
and there was nothing I could say"
I most see a person who has had enough and is walking away and not giving in to the antagonist who no longer knows what to say to make this person react whether it is to cower or fight back. Abusers try to make you feel like you are small and try to keep you down.
The abusers starts to feel inferior all over again and so want to react violently ,which they may or may not have been doing the the first place: the later lines of " got you in a stranglehold" and the repeated "get up" as if the other person is being knocked to the ground. And ,naturally, sticking a knife in their back would be a good finish after knocking them around for a while. I am not sure why they can't stick a knife in,perhaps the person in question physically can't? Or maybe they feel a shred of something resembling love and this prevents them (but I doubt it).It could be a situation like in the song " Ruby don't take you love to town"(at least I think that's what it's call).In this sing he says " if I could I'd put her in the ground " but he can't because he is crippled from that "crazy asian war"
The abuse motif is developed in the songs preceding this one on the album "Undertow".I think it fits well, but this is my own interpretation and do with it what you will.
anonymous Jan 13th, 2018 1:08am report
Funny, I always thought this album was just about his being raped by a priest or something. Look back to the title song of the first album opiate. Heck, look at the cover. -Cole
anonymous Aug 13th, 2015 8:13pm report
I think this song about a jilted lover and how the love (obsession) turns to hate once one is spurn. It feels so bad one could kill the other person. A la Jody Arias...
anonymous Jun 14th, 2012 6:46am report
this is one of tool's most simple songs [other then all the filler stuff which doesn't really have any meaning], it's clearly from the viewpoint of a murderer/rapist, who's victim is crawling away from him, songs like this and "hush" show how tool have come a long way as songwriters.
anonymous Apr 16th, 2012 4:38am report
I am a person who speaks directly with my "self". It is it's own consciousness and has its own will, it responds and expresses itself freely. I personally tried to befriend it and keep it home, but there was nothing I could say or do. My self and I sometimes engage one another and "play" with audio and visuals and concepts/notions (like lucid dreams) while meditating on a high level. But it/he is very reluctant to indulge me. I do not feel that my self is evil per se, but he is ruthless and is willing to at least try to destroy me (stick a knife in) to get whatever it is he wants, of which I am still unsure of. He did however crawl away from me and create his own agenda. In the beginning of our meeting when I was getting to know my self (or soul) he was hostile and put me into many negative mental states. Again I didn't want to play, but what I wanted and needed (positive encouragement and honesty about reality) didn't mean that much to him. I now understand that his "insults" and negativity were his way of being honest with me and revealing his true feelings, which is his (twisted) love for me.
So to sum up my personal meaning of this song, it can be understood from the mortal person's point of view of dealing with the unruly self... Or, as artists tend to do, it could be written from the souls point of view trying to keep an autonomous man from separating himself further from God/soul/truth. And god is always different from our ideals and tool deals with a realist idea of god who is ruthless and inhuman -"the universe is hostile, so impersonal" (vicarious)
or the simpler explanation is he is trying to hold on to his piece of mind (or sanity) and personifies it to be artistic
This song is about that part of you which demands achievement and mastery of the most painful and difficult things.
The words are coming from the 'potential you' which wishes to define itself and to realize itself in the most ferocious form possible. This 'future self' which wishes to be realized is underneath the consciousness and has yet to be realized and fully brought to life as of now, yet is nevertheless conscious of the possibility of its coming-to-be once the painful and difficult act which will act as the catalyst in the transformative process, has been fully mastered and endured.
The voice which is spoken within the song is of a very serious and angry nature, bordering on desperate and comes from an attitude of sheer urgency. This inner beast which wishes to be realized is howling in anguish at the one who is endangering the act of its realization, which is the self in its current unresolved state fleeing in fear from the difficult challenge which awaits it.
"What you're trying to say, is you don't want to play.
But what you want and what you need, don't mean that much to me."
If the self refuses to engage in and successfully complete the difficult act, then the transformation which would result from the internal changes which will naturally take place during the process of the act itself, can simply not be brought to fruition, much in the same way that if a sperm cannot penetrate into the egg, then there could not result in the conception of a fetus. The beast isn't concerned with what the self desires in any regard, all it feels is the burning need to be realized and brought to life.
"I can see your back is turning… if I could I'd stick the knife in."
Sickened by the betrayal, the beast (which is actually the unconscious self) is so desperate for the reversal of the decision of the self to flee in the face of danger, that it would probably go to the extent of unconsciously selling its soul to supernatural forces in exchange that the forces which govern universal phenomenon would then agree to redirect this path into the favor of the realization of the beast. In this sense "I'd stick the knife in" would result in just this, in order to gain assurance of its own survival. All along in this process, it is the survival instinct which is dictating above all other instincts what should be carried out, being that no instinct within us is stronger than the instinct of survival itself, whether we are conscious of it or not.
"This is love, this is my love for you.
Get up now, say you won't go!"
This act which is being presses against the self may be seen by the conscious self as cruel, violent or abusive, but in all reality it is committed out of pure love. If the beast cared not about the outcome of the self, then it would just as well desire the self to remain unfulfilled and unrealized to the potentials which it indeed sees on the other side of all this. The beast is thoroughly unsatisfied with anything less than perfection, and demands nothing less than this. It senses the intense value in the end product of the transformative effect from the victory over the struggle, and is driven mad by the thought of its slipping away... hence the purely intense attitude towards its needed approach to overrule and dictate the path of events, its pure control being in this instance the only key to survival.
Tool has some incredibly deep songs, but I think this one is very simple.
To me this song is about wanting sex. The man and woman are getting close and she changes her mind at the last minute. He's on top of her and he's trying to talk her into it. She "crawled away". "I tried to keep you down, but there was nothing I could say." He wants the sex and he doesn't care how she feels about it, as long as she gives in. "What you're trying to say, is you dont wanna play. What you want and what you need, dont mean that much to me." As she leaves he gets angry. "I can see your back is turn-in...if I could I'd stick a knife in...." To me its simply about a woman that is in the mood and decides not to go all the way.
He tried to keep her down..he tried to keep her home...he even declared that it was his love for her...she didnt buy it.
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