The Singles Party: A Perfect Circle, “By and Down”

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Maynard James Keenan is rock royalty. When he does something we all stop and listen. As the frontman for Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer Maynard is a revered mad scientist of metal. A Perfect Circle, a band he formed 1999, has released their first single in 9 years “By and Down.” The single is off their soon-to-be-released greatest hits record Three Sixty. So, with a release this monumental you know that The Singles Party had to tackle this one.

Nick Porcaro: I never understood all the hype for Maynard James Keenan. Sure, he can sing, and Tool had a couple of great alt-rock tracks way back when. But to my ears the majority of his output sounds plodding, meandering and unengaged. MJK’s work is not for me, and this new track from A Perfect Circle is no exception. I didn’t even finish it. Verdict: Abstain

Kelly Spoer: Ok. I’m biased. I only liked APC’s first album. I’m more of a Tool fan. And anything that keeps Maynard away from a Tool album is no good in my book. Besides, I always felt that A Perfect Circle was Tool-lite. This doesn’t hook me like “Judith” or “3 Libras” did when I was in high school, but I do have to say I like it. The song is quite atmospheric and it is perfect timing the single release so close to Halloween. However, no new territory was explored, so if you aren’t already a fan, this isn’t going to win you over. Maybe it’s just because I saw the Nine Inch Nails show on Tuesday and I’m nostalgic, but I’m am falling in love with this song. Verdict: Add to Playlist.

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Jason Stives: Maynard James Keenan has commanded a lot from his two most noted projects, progressive rockers Tool and super group A Perfect Circle, both of which haven’t released an album in a considerable amount of time but tour constantly. Fans of APC have waited almost a decade for something new to arise but while their fans wait for that the band has treated them to a new track “By and Down” but the actual result is a mixed bag. Despite having a more mainstream appeal “By and Down” is by no means a radio single for APC and honestly comes off a bit dull. It stirs as it tries to build its momentum but it never fully realizes its potential. The track basically fades in and out over its 5 minute length with no real hook to grab the listener’s attention. It’s not like there is no effort but it sure feels like something they fiddled around in the studio with before finally deciding to release it as a favor to their waiting audience. I guess fans will just have to hope for a new record because this doesn’t feel like a track that will hold them over too well. It’s just there. Verdict: One and Done

Bill Bodkin: Maynard’s bands are ones that I have a lot of respect for. I appreciate the musicianship, the writing, the production…but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan. Outside of “Judith” and maybe one Tool song, Maynard’s bands have never captured my soul. The same sentiment holds true for APC’s new single “By and Down.” Sure, it’s well-done but it doesn’t speak to me. It’s kind of out here, plodding along with no real direction or punch. Verdict: One and Done

Final Vertdict: We’re very “meh” on A Perfect Circle’s new one. We don’t feel you’re missing anything if you skip this one.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.