The band — helmed by vocalist Keenan (also of TOOL and Puscifer) and guitarist Billy Howerdel, who've worked with a rotating cast of high-profile collaborators over the years — are one of the most acclaimed and commercially successful alt-metal bands of this century.
Their first two albums, 2000's Mer de Noms and 2003's Thirteenth Step, are wildly beloved, and their subsequent follow-ups have amounted to a stellar catalog that makes up in quality what it might lack in quantity.
We asked our APC-loving readers to pick the single best song in the band's entire discography. Listen, the votes in these polls are usually tight, but the final tallies were extremely close for this one, and some all-timer songs just barely missed the cut.
The top five vote-getters are ranked accordingly below.
As the lead single from A Perfect Circle's most recent album, 2018's Eat the Elephant (which arrived after a 14-year gap), "The Doomed" holds a special place in the hearts of APC die-hards. It's a powerful cut, with foreboding atmospheres, an icy vocal performance from Keenan, and lyrics that cheekily misquote Christ's Sermon on the Mount to bless the rich, the envious and the gluttonous — dishing a sharp critique of our political overlords.
This was an interesting pick! APC's second album, Thirteenth Step, contains several of their biggest hits, including mega-singles like "The Outsider" and "Weak and Powerless." But this time around, APC fans dubbed the album's gripping closing track, "Gravity," one of their greatest achievements.
It's a little bit TOOL-ish, Keenan travels up the octaves to a shrill falsetto, and has a riff that gnaws on the snaky rhythm throughout, but never quite snaps the bone.
"The Noose" is another non-single track from Thirteenth Step that's become a fan favorite over the years. Boasting guitarwork from Nine Inch Nails contributor Danny Lohner, the song comes in with loud, clacking drums that are juxtaposed with supple strums and a quietly dramatic vocal delivery from Keenan.
Suddenly, everything bursts, and in come swaths of distortion and streaky shoegaze guitars that slash through Keenan's multi-layered singing. It fuckin' rocks.
This one had to make the list. A Perfect Circle's 2000 debut, Mer de Noms, was a commercial smash, slinging nearly 200,000 copies its first week and cracking No. 4 on the Billboard 200 — the highest a rock band's first album had ever debuted.
While the album is revered for its cohesive brilliance, "Judith" is the obvious standout — a nervy, screechy, explosive alt-metal bash that remains the band's most popular song to this day. And understandably so.
Of all the indisputably great songs that could've landed here, APC fans went with a deep cut, and we salute them for it. "Orestes" is an awesome song that's managed to get its due over the years despite being sandwiched between "Judith" and "3 Libras" on the Mer de Noms tracklist.
While not as openly aggro as "Judith," the rising-falling flow of "Orestes" is mesmerizing, as Keenan alternately murmurs and wails for the song's subject (most likely his mother, Judith Marie Keenan, who also inspired "Judith") to "give me one more medicated, peaceful moment" before ultimately deciding to "snip away and sever this umbilical residue."
It's an emotionally complex and achingly tearful tale, and the simultaneously stormy and peacefully reflective instrumentation brings it to life. It's a helluva song — in fact, our readers think it's their best.