The opening song of A Perfect Circle's Mer de Noms starts with a quick banging on the drums then launches into the whole band rocking away, similar to later track (and the first single) "Judith." "The Hollow" is definitely one of the album's harder pieces and, as an introduction to the musical feel of the album, hints only at its softer and more lush pieces (like "Rose," "Orestes," or "Breña") during the bridge. The music was written and produced by Billy Howerdel. The words were written by Maynard James Keenan. The studio version, which appears on Mer de Noms, was performed by Keenan (lead vocals), Howerdel (guitars, bass), and Tim Alexander (drums).The song is two minutes and fifty eight seconds in length.

Lyrically, the song speaks of a dominating lust that essentially takes over the narrator's life, causing all his actions to revolve around satisfying his sexual desires (how Freudian). The lust is represented by the hollow in the narrator, a space inside that feels empty except when satisfied sexually and commands the narrator's actions. Satisfaction serves to sedate the longing only temporarily, however, and all too soon the desire returns, demanding satisfaction over anything else in life.

Run, desire, run
This sexual being
Run him like a blade
To and through the heart
No conscience, one motive:
To cater to the hollow

Screaming feed me
Fill me up again
Temporarily pacify this hungering

The need to fill the hollow becomes so dominant that no aspect of the narrator's life is unaffected. The narrator is unable to focus on anything but his desire, living in a pattern of seeking satisfaction and, briefly, being satisfied. Mer de Noms' sleeve contains the title of each song and its lyrics* written in an alphabet created by band member Billy Howerdel called Myan, behind which appears a picture. The image behind the text for "The Hollow" appears to be a wolf or some other type of canine (this is the case on A Perfect Circle's website as well, where the lyrics can be found in English), representative of the narrator as a animalistic predator on the hunt to satisfy his wants.

So grow
Libido throw
Dominoes of indiscretions down
Falling all around in cycles, in circles
Constantly consuming
Conquer and devour

The narrator doesn't wish to continue on as he is though and expresses this in the song's third verse, singing with determination and renewed vigor of the want to halt his single-minded behavior and constant yearning for good. Permanently "filling the hollow" could mean either the narrator controlling his desires, rather than vice versa, or finding an outlet for his desires that stops them from dominating his entire life. Whether the narrator is successful in sating his desires (by the end of the song, at least) is doubtful as after the hopeful third verse, the chorus is repeated.

'Cause it's time to bring this fire down
Bridle all this indiscretion
Long enough to edify
And permanently fill this hollow

Screaming feed me here
Fill me up again
Temporarily pacifying
Feed me here
Fill me up again
Temporarily pacifying...

Lyrics © 2000 Transfixed Music/ASCAP and Harry Merkin Music/ASCAP. Reprinted without permission as "fair use."

"The Hollow" appears in the following forms aside from the studio recording:

  1. "The Hollow (constantly consuming remix)" - Not so much a remix as a completely redone version of the song, the "constantly consuming" version of this song is an absolutely beautiful, haunting and melancholy piece created entirely by A Perfect Circle's bassist Paz Lenchantin featuring violins, piano, guitar, and her voice. This version of the song is three minutes and forty seconds long.
  2. "The Hollow (the bunk mix)" - The bunk mix is another completely redone version of the song, this time by A Perfect Circle guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. Van Leeuwen sings, drums (I think it may be a drum machine though), and plays guitar on this version which has a somewhat classic rock feel. There's a lot of emphasis on the guitar and vocals. This version of the song is three minutes and seventeen seconds long.
  3. "The Hollow (mix 2001)" - This isn't much of a remix either. The "mix 2001" version of this song is just the radio edit created by Alan Moulder, who did some mixing and engineering on Mer de Noms. If you know the studio version well, you can differentiate it from this one because it sounds butchered and will totally screw up singing along in the car. Why radio stations need a version shorter than two minutes and fifty eight seconds is beyond me.

Versions of "The Hollow" appear on the following releases:

  1. Mer de Noms (see first paragraph for more information)
  2. The Hollow (UK single, CD 1)
    1. The Hollow
    2. The Hollow (constantly consuming remix)
    3. Judith (Danny Lohner remix)
  3. The Hollow (UK single, CD 2)
    1. The Hollow (live in Phoenix on 4 June, 2000)
    2. The Hollow (the bunk remix)
    3. Judith music video (requires CD-ROM to play)
  4. The Hollow (UK 7" vinyl single)
    1. The Hollow [side a]
    2. The Hollow (the bunk remix) [side b]
  5. The Hollow (Australian single)
    1. The Hollow
    2. The Hollow (live in Phoenix on 4 June, 2000)
    3. Judith (Danny Lohner remix)

Thanks to for the discography information.

*The CD version of the album doesn't contain all the lyrics in Myan, just a line or two for each song. In the case of "The Hollow," the line which appears in Myan with the title is "temporarily pacify this hungering."

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