Incubus has always been a varied band. Although i haven’t listened to them routinely in a few albums, large amounts of their work are great. They swing from heavier ranges, to eclectic tracks that vaguely sound like other styles or artists, to swoony ballads to make female knees week. One of the few successful bands that was initially lumped into “Nu- Metal” they’ve managed to build a large base over the years, and although they aren’t in my top ten all time, there's no discounting them as a bad band. Today we count down what I think are their favorite tracks. Enjoy! Up top you’ll find a link to listen as you read.
10. Vitamin, S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
The murmuring opening the song give hints to the explosions coming,and quite quickly the wormhole like transformation is complete. To this day I still have little idea what inspired this song, but it’s a reminder that this band has a sonic force to it that can bring out various elements of rock, funk, and everything in between. When Boyd is screaming in the chorus, it’s hard to not get pumped up, and it’s songs like this that proved to people that this was a band that could possible be going places in the music industry. Their big break came on the Family Values Tour(with Korn, Limp Bizkit, and others) but within five years they’d be headlining arena’s on their own.
9. Mexico, Morning View
The record that exploded them into mainstream is also their most critically acclaimed and diverse record. “Mexico” is a musically quiet track that speaks volumes in the world of a failed relationship. You can feel the difficulty and stubbornness throughout it’s four minutes and twenty one seconds, but it’s a truly beautiful song. Boyd’s pain in the song are presented without being cliche or overdone, while the string sections enhances Einzinger’s guitar perfectly. When you're dealing with this type of heartache and strife, it’s difficult to know what to do, but maybe you should get “on the first train to Mexico.”
8. Make Yourself, Make Yourself
While it’s not a super heavy song, the lyrics are some of the most abrasive and bullheaded in the band’s career. It’s quite tongue and cheek, and it’s the closest fuck you the band has given to the music industry. This song always made me think it was directed at the lack of originality in the industry, and while I might be more or less wrong, there’s no denying that there’s some firm rocking and agitation throughout the track, especially when it comes to the lyrics and style of singing.
7. Privilege, Make Yourself
One of those tracks that when you hear it it brings you back to a certain point in your life. I remember being completely blown away but not just the album, but this song, which happens to open the album. They come out strong. The drumming and the crunchiness of the guitar is a relic of the rock music of the late 90’s. There’s simply no denying that. There are times when dating of a sound can be bad, but here it simply represents the dominant themes of the era. A Dj spins throughout, and the production level is a little too clean, but the song still has the force it did when I first put it in my car cd player in 1999.
6. A Kiss to Send us Off, Light Grenades
While I still have yet to hear this album the amount of some of the earlier one’s, this track absolutely left me blindsided in the best way possible. It’s one of the heaviest, most epic openings they’ve ever done, and when the rock starts, your lost to the momentum. Everything about this track kicks my ass. Boyd has a little bit of a Mike Patton thing happening in the chorus, which is fine by me, but beyond that the guitar soars, his voice soars higher, and the drums somehow reach even higher to make a truly mind blowing track that is Incubus at their heaviest. A seriously underrated track that I still can’t get enough of.
5. Circles, Morning View
The tapping of the drums signals not only the approaching bouncing quality of the track, but also the opener of the show I attended during this tour. I’ve often thought this song had a certain 311 quality to it, but by the chorus you’re in full Incubus mode. Not to diss 311, but Incubus always attracted me in a way they simply couldn’t. Back to this song though, it’s a track thats easy to sing along to(especially during choruses), and you feel the difference on this track from their previous albums. The story of “Circles” is a good reminder that life goes on and on, and that missed chances will eventually circle around us again, hoping we’ll be there to seize the day.
4. The Warmth, Make Yourself
Am I the only that imagines this song being played on a starlit sky near or perhaps in the ocean? Certain aspects of the instruments remind me of animals, and the song has a definite outdoor vibe. I just keep picturing whales swimming through black waters, and people on the shore marveling at the vast oceans at their fingertips. The production value is also excellent. You get a perfect mixture of spacey guitars, drums, and textures that perfectly wrap around the vocals, which in the end makes the song more cohesive and involving. There’s a reason this album brought them one step closer to the big rooms of the world, and it’s brilliant songs like this that helped their cause.
3. Here In My Room, A Crow Left of the Murder
Without a doubt one of their most romantically charged songs. “Here in my Room” is the tale of lame late nights forcibly trying to have fun until suddenly, you’re greeted by a lovely vision of a person you have yet to meet. This is one of the best examples of world building the band has done, and the guitars are inescapable in a beautiful, science fiction inspired way. Boyd even explains in detail how if “the world would fall apart in a fiction worthy wind” it would be fine because he’d be with the most important person in his life. It’s a triumph that is often overlooked because it wasn’t a radio hit, but as you can see by its placement here, it’s one of the reasons I keep going back to this band.
2. A Certain Shade of Green, S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
Maybe the most jamming song on their second album, this track is all over the place when it comes to intensity. Boyds vocals are rushed, the bass is hammering away like a young Flea might have(although not that fast), and the scratching of the vinyl is keeping pace as best it can. The song has always been a fan favorite at concerts, and it’s not hard to see why. The energy and visuals painted in the song are fun to envision, and it’s one of the few “Nu Metal” tracks that has held up and isn’t a silly laugh of a mess. That probably has to do with the talent of the band, and their intentions not to get stuck in an any one genre. Thank god for that though.
1. Aqueous Transmission, Morning View
More than likely this is the most unlike Incubus Incubus track the band ever recorded, but it’s also the best. The Asian mood flows gorgeously through the opening minutes, and quietly, patiently, Brandon Boyd’s voice emerges. This is the best storytelling the band has ever done, and the world creating technique’s they employ here leave you wishing you could experience it for yourself. Certainly the main character is alone at the moment, but where exactly is the river taking him? One might assume he’s being led by the water to his beloved, and while you might be right, nature sometimes has it’s own course for us, so we can never be sure. while this album is likely my favorite, it’s this record closing song that brings it to a place it hadn’t yet reached in the previous twelve tracks. “Aqueous Transmission” remains Incubus’ most compelling, unique track, which is why it’s placed at number one on this list. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. See you Friday.
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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