0014. A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms [2000]


Ok, if you haven’t listened to this album yet, where the fuck have you been?!  Putting this album on this list is more of a formality than anything.  This album (along with at least one other Tool album) belongs on that “official” list, but just isn’t there.  What the fuck were they thinking?!  Anyway, I’m assuming most of you already know about this awesomeness, but for those who don’t, this might be a more accessible introduction to the world of Maynard James Keenan.  Maybe Tool was a bit too much to swallow (hehe).


I know Judith and 3 Libras got some decent time on the radio, and for some reason, some people still give a shit about the radio.  Basically, this is hard rock, as opposed to Tool’s progressive metal.  If the term “progressive,” turns you off a bit, then give this album a whirl.  It’s really weird for me to be recommending this album to someone who hasn’t heard it before, because this album’s been such a fundamental fixture in the musical repertoire of my life, it feels weird to think that there are some people who’ve never heard this album, nay even ever heard of A Perfect Circle.


Anyway, enough of my psychotic rambling.  Here’s what Wiki says:


Wikipedia Says:

Mer de Noms (French for “sea of names”) is the debut album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. The album was released under Compact Disc format on May 23, 2000. It was certified platinum by the RIAA on October 31, 2000. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 4, making it the highest ever Billboard 200 debut for a rock band’s first album.[10] It sold over 188,000 copies in the first week, and stayed on the charts for 51 consecutive weeks.[11] The album peaked at No. 27 on the BillboardTop Pop Catalog Albums on October 4, 2003, three years after the album’s release. Mer de Noms has since been released on vinyl record format.


Most of the album’s lyrics were dedicated to various people that lead singer Maynard James Keenan knew. The track listing consists of various names such as “Judith”, “Breña”, “Rose”, “Thomas”, “Magdalena”, “Orestes”, and “Renholdër” (for musician Danny Lohner).

The symbols on the front cover of the album can be translated to “La Cascade des Prénoms,” which translated to English means “the waterfall of first names”.


In 2005, Mer de Noms was ranked number 443 in Rock Hard magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[12]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan.

No. Title Length
1. “The Hollow” 2:58
2. “Magdalena” 4:06
3. “Rose” 3:26
4. “Judith” 4:07
5. “Orestes” 4:48
6. “3 Libras” 3:39
7. “Sleeping Beauty” 4:10
8. “Thomas” 3:29
9. “Renholdër” 2:24
10. “Thinking of You” 4:34
11. “Breña” 4:24
12. “Over” 2:21
Japanese Edition
No. Title Length
13. “Orestes (Demo)” (Bonus Track) 3:24
The vinyl version contains “Sleeping Beauty” with extended intro (04:57) and alternate mix of “Over” (03:07).


A legend depicting the symbol’s letters transliterated from the Latin alphabet.

Inside the insert the track names appear to be randomly spelled out in symbols. One way to decipher the symbols is to match the song titles using the normal alphabet with the song titles inside the insert.

The symbols which have popularly become known online as “APC Text”, “Mayan”, or “Elegant Mayan”, have become widespread, appearing in tattoos, computer fonts, and independent artwork.

Inside the insert there are twelve pictures (one for each song) and next to each one a song title, and beneath that a portion of the song’s lyrics all written out in the symbols shown above. An example of this would be the drawing of the red octopus, which has the song name “Orestes” and “Sever this umbilical residue” beneath it.


  • Maynard James Keenan – vocals, gord (kalimba) on “Over”
  • Billy Howerdel – guitars, background vocals, keyboards, piano, bass guitar, production, mixing
  • Josh Freese – drums, percussion
  • Paz Lenchantin – violin on “Rose”, “3 Libras”, “Renholdër”, backing vocals on “Orestes”, “Renholdër”, bass on “Sleeping Beauty”
  • Troy Van Leeuwen – Lead guitar on “Sleeping Beauty”, “Thinking of You”
Additional musicians
  • Tim Alexander – drums on “The Hollow”
  • Luciano Lenchantin – viola on “3 Libras”
  • Draven Godwin – percussion on “‘Thomas”
  • Kelli Shafer – vocals on “Renholdër”
  • Alan Moulder – mixing
  • Frank Gryner – drum engineering


Year Chart Position
2000 Billboard 200 4
Top Canadian Albums 5
Top Internet Albums 5
Year Single Chart Position
2000 “Judith” Mainstream Rock Tracks 4
Modern Rock Tracks 5
“3 Libras” Mainstream Rock Tracks 12
Modern Rock Tracks 12
2001 “The Hollow” Mainstream Rock Tracks 14
Modern Rock Tracks 17

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