Of all the fandoms in music, you’ll have a hard time finding one more vocal than rock band Tool’s. All you have to do is look at the comment section of our reviews of their last two Dallas shows. In 2020, fans were unhappy when we called the band "stale" (just as unhappy as the band, which blocked us on Twitter) and just last week, they were unhappy when we said Tool had redeemed itself. The fierce debate among the comments centered on whether the show was good, why the show was good and whether the reviewer is secretly a fan of pop artists like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.
The Swift comparison stuck out as particularly interesting but also unsurprising. So-called rock fans have always had it out for America’s sweetheart, and Tool listeners have been leading the charge. Subreddit r/ToolBand, for instance, is a great place to find memes comparing the lyrical content of both artists’ songs littered with comments like, “She writes shallow lyrics for people who don't want to put any effort into listening.”
Pop music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what gives? Swift and Tool may have their differences, but they’re both enduring and dynamic acts, and surely fans can find plenty of common ground. Here are the most obvious parallels between Tool and Taylor Swift.
The long songs
Last year, Swift challenged our notions about how long hit songs should be when her re-released single “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100. Swift has gone on the record plenty about feeling pressured to cut the song down originally to an acceptable length because her label thought a 10-minute song wasn’t marketable. They were clearly proven wrong. We’re not saying Tool fans have to stan “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” as hard as we do, but they should be grateful for its existence. Swift has broken the long song glass ceiling, potentially paving the way for Tool to have a commercial hit someday.
The intense fanbases
Is part of the appeal of being a Tool fan relentlessly harassing people who disagree with you? If that’s the case for you, you’re already well on your way to becoming a true Swiftie. The real difference, of course, is that the wrath of Swifties carries actual power. The fandom may seem sweet and unassuming, but it’s entirely possible Jake Gyllenhaal may never turn his Instagram comments back on, and his superstar ex didn’t even mention him by name. There’s a phrase for being part of a fandom just because you love the drama. It’s called your Reputation era. Own it, girlies.
The intensely emotional storytelling
If you’re drawn to the anger of “Hush” or the introspective melancholy of “Schism,” there’s definitely something for you in Swift’s discography. “Better Than Revenge” and “Mean” capture the kind of teenage rage that simply can’t be matched. And though we’re not entirely sure what “Schism” is about, there’s no denying we’ve all been through the unrequited angst that plays out in Swift's “You Belong With Me.” Or maybe you’re a fan of “Hooker With a Penis” and ready to graduate to more complex storytelling through song. Swift’s albums Folklore and Evermore will certainly scratch that itch, with cuts such as “Betty” and “Champagne Problems” serving as master classes in narrative lyricism.
There you have it: Taylor Swift and Tool certainly appear to be nearly identical artists with a lot of potential for fandom crossover, but we won't cyberbully you if you disagree. We're just saying, Tool and T. Swift fans could unite their insane wrath for a much better cause, such as getting Maroon 5 off the radio.