A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step (2003)
After selling Platinium various times from the first record, what would you expect of someone to feel? Sweet emotions besides, the pressure would be the significant burden that one would carry on their shoulders. 2000's"Mer De Noms" was a big start and a powerful entrance for APC to the scene, but they needed more to get a permanent spot and show the world that they aren't a one-record-band.
Previously uninvolved in the process, this time MJ Keenan took part in the composing part of the album as well. After many albums with his other band Tool and the previous APC record, he wanted to explore different directions with this album—softer, atmospheric, and emotional. However, the primary writer and guitarist Billy Howerdel was opposing, stating that he wanted a heavier and more eclectic sound. Many discussions were had, but it didn't prevent the band to create an inconsistent album. Rather, what they came up with considerably the combination of those two ideas, allowing them to create a completely different album than the first one.
Thirteenth Step's lyrics are a personal reflection of Maynard's emotions to the songs, like all the other albums that he did are. He likes to interpret the music in his own way and reflect his relationships, ideals, and past&future to them. Softer it is, more songs have a slow-burn and melodic structure than the first one. To compare and understand, one should say that the inner chaos of Mer De Noms turned to acceptance and healing on this record. Although the soundscape is wholly different, heavy guitars and rhythmical elements are still a big part of the band's signature sound.
The album became as successful as the first one, charting at the 2nd seed at the Billboard top 200 albums in its premiere week, selling over 231,000 copies, and staying on the charts for 78 weeks. It has been a fundamental part of many people's lives, urging them to heal and be strong.