Make Yourself- Incubus


Release Year: 1999

Rating: 9/10

Incubus is one of those bands where I always forget how good they are. It’s not until I listen to one of their albums that I’m like “Man, these guys rock!” I don’t know why it happens; maybe it’s due to their later albums being sub-par and boring. Either way, this is another great album from the band. There is not a single song here that you’ll want to skip because it’s dull or boring. Incubus always makes sure to keep their listeners entertained by doing interesting and sometimes weird things with their music.

The album starts off on a good note with the aggressive song “Privilege.” The edgy guitar riff and the intense vibe is enough to wake you up and give all your undivided attention to the album. What’s cool about it is it has their alt rock sound, but with some old school hip hop thrown in, especially during the bridge where it’s mostly record scratching and what sounds like samples. It actually works really well with the song and doesn’t sound out of place or cheesy as it may with other bands. “Nowhere Fast” begins with a guitar that sounds like it’s being played underwater and it kind of has this trippy effect. The melody of the song is smooth and flows really well, especially during the verses where its kind of relaxing. The sound changes for the chorus when the harsh guitars come in and things slow down a bit.

Another great track and one of my favorites is “Stellar.” It’s a mellow song with a slinky cool guitar riff that has a great groove. I’ve always thought of this as a love song that’s not cheesy and corny. “I Miss You” has this feeling too, but with the longing lyrics it’s hard to tell if he misses her because they just broke up or because she’s on a trip, but that’s part of what makes the song cool; it could go either way. And “Consequence” seems to have this huge build up for the entire song where each instrument comes in and gets bigger and bigger as the song progresses. It’s a great effect and another great, catchy track.

What I noticed about most of the songs here is that they seem to have a positive message. The cool spacey vibe of “The Warmth” finds singer Brandon Boyd singing “So don’t let the world bring you down/not everyone here is that fucked up and cold.” I love this line because there are days when you feel everyone is against you and nothing is going right, but this song helps you to take a step back and realize not all people suck. It’s also a pretty mellow song to get lost in with the dreamy guitar riff playing in the background. Another song with a good message is “Make Yourself.” This one seems to be about not letting others tell you who you are or what you believe in. It has this great energy and aggression that not only is easy to hear, but easy to feel as well. Also, it’s awesome how Boyd seems to lose his shit during the bridge when he screams “Fuck me in my own way.”

The loveable “Drive” is another song with a positive outlook. With lyrics like “Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear /And I cant help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear take the wheel and steer,” it seems to be about not letting fear get in way of what you want to achieve in life. Aside from the message, it’s just an awesome song that you love to sing along with whenever it comes on. It’s refreshing to find so many positive things in their music because some bands seem to focus too much on the negative aspects of life. It seems that Incubus want to remind listeners that life doesn’t always have to suck.

Another thing I realized while listening to the album is how much I like Brandon Boyd as a singer and lyricist. Something about his voice is really good; it’s not like he’s the best singer out there, but he has a decent enough voice. And he knows how to manipulate it for different vocal effects like he does on “Pardon Me” where he’s half singing and half rapping. Also, a lot of the songs here have some really clever and descriptive lyrics. One line I really like comes from the track “Clean:” “Your dirty words come out clean.” And here’s a cool line from “When It Comes:” Yes I feel emphatic about not being static/ and not eating the bullshit that’s being fed to me no more/cause now I’m full.” He gets really playful and witty with the lyrics, which makes the songs stand out.

Overall, the album gets 9/10. It’s another great record from the band full of songs that get you pumped up and mellowed out. Mixing elements at alt rock, hip hop, and funk Incubus managed to find their own sound, allowing them to stand out from other bands out at the time. Also, with so many songs with positive messages, it’s hard to walk away from this album and not be in a good mood. Between this release and Morning View, it’s hard to say which one is better, but they’re both among their best yet.



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