It’s not terribly surprising that Tool’s new album, Fear Inoculum, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. After 13 years of anticipation, fans were understandably eager to consume the record. As the LP’s dominance was asserted, frontman Maynard James Keenan celebrated victory by tweeting out a Thanos meme featuring the previous week’s chart-topper, Taylor Swift.
The image puts Keenan in the role of the Avengers’ purple-faced foe, with Swift being one of the blipped. He simply captioned it, “Heh,” adding the hashtags #comedyfirstandalways #lightenuporjogon. He even went so far as to tag Swift in the post, which inevitably brought out the rage of the Swifties, many of whom still have no idea who Tool are. Of course, Fear Inoculum did actually overtake Lover on the charts, so surely they’re learning.
In a strange way, this single tweet is a convergence of everything that is 2019. Here we have nostalgia-inducing heavy rockers returning after a long drought to face down a pop megastar who dominates headlines and the social media landscape. Billboard is the battleground, with Swifties rallying on streaming services to ward off the encroaching… um, Toolers. The elder musician wields every millennial’s favorite weapon, a meme, with a clumsy copy-and-post instead of the more deft retweet, yet he still scores a blow by referencing the insanely popular Avengers franchise. It’s all our Internet-fueled progress colliding with its own inanity in the hands of an artist born at the tail end of the baby boom. It is, oddly, perfection.
This isn’t even the first time Keenan has used an Avengers meme to comment on Tool, nor the first time he’s commented on a pop star via Twitter. Now that he’s thrown the second
Infinity gauntlet, let’s see if he can withstand the combined tweeted rage of Beliebers and Swifties.
— Maynard J Keenan (@mjkeenan) September 7, 2019