|from the album |
|Released||August 9, 1997|
Excerpt of "Ænema"
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ænema|
"Ænema" is a song by
The song makes extensive use of
The song is cast in terminally climactic form, in which two verse/chorus pairs give way to a climactic ending on new material.
Keenan incorporates into the lyrics part of comedian
Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
Any fucking time, any fucking day
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.
In general the song is a diatribe against celebrity culture, particularly around Los Angeles. This includes everything from the
The title of the song is an amalgam of the words "Anima" and "Enema". "Anima",
Mom's gonna fix it all soon.
Mom's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to be.
Learn to swim.
In addition to being a humorous aside, this line can be seen as a metaphoric command to abandon the materialism Keenan sees in Angeleno culture and learn to navigate the 'feminine' unconscious. The ocean is a traditional symbol for the 'feminine' (mother ocean, etc.) and also for the vast latent psychological energies postulated in the models of Freud and Jung:
Cause I'm praying for rain
And I'm praying for tidal waves
I wanna see the ground give way.
I wanna watch it all go down.
Mom, please flush it all away.
I wanna see it go right in and down.
I wanna watch it go right in.
Watch you flush it all away.
In this sense the 'ground' can be seen as the 'Ego' in Freud's terminology. Here the 'Ego' has become hopelessly corrupted and needs to be subsumed, drowned and absorbed by the unconscious so it can be resurrected in a new form on the shores of 'Arizona Bay'.
The occult use of the word "Enema" in the title again poetically communicates what Keenan believes to be the 'fecal' nature of the culture of Los Angeles that can only be cured by destructive and ultimately transformative 'feminine' energy.
Just at the point where no lyrical interpretation is possible but that of a prayer for an old-testament-scale destruction of a modern-day Sodom by a great Goddess, Keenan gives the listener a hint to the metaphorical nature of the language:
Don't just call me pessimist.
Try and read between the lines.
I can't imagine why you wouldn't
Welcome any change, my friend.
During the period the song was written, Keenan abandoned Los Angeles for Arizona – ironically a landscape with even less literal water/rain/tidal forces than Los Angeles – which is perhaps another hint that Keenan's apocalyptic deluge is symbolic: the ending of one consciousness/value system/Weltanschauung and the emergence of a new one. One possible interpretation is that the lyrics are nothing more than a description of a purely internal drama during a transitional time in the author's life.