Make Yourself (update your blog)

Well last week was a disaster. I think that’s the first week I can officially say I didn’t post anything. I kinda feel like I failed. I didn’t post a playlist. I didn’t post anything else. I just didn’t post. I even started to post and then didn’t. I wasn’t even LATE, I just didn’t post. I officially suck at life, but hey, there’s a first time for everything, right? I still don’t have any Jimmy Eat World for you, so I kinda feel like it’s not going to happen and it’s honestly out of pure laziness. And not to mention, I’m a day late on this week. But whatever. I have something good for you. You’re welcome.

Album: Make Yourself                                                             Artist: Incubus

Wow, I just noticed that that's like a robot thing up in the corner.... SWEET.
Wow, I just noticed that that’s like a robot thing up in the corner…. SWEET.

There are a lot of good albums I could have pulled from Incubus, but I chose this one for a reason. You see, it might be arrogant of me, but I like to be able to say a band’s name and have someone I know with questionable taste in music be like “Who?” because then I can say, “Trust me you’ve heard them.” And I’m usually right because believe it or not, the music I like was what all the cool kids listened to at some point. Anyway, here we have Make Yourself, with quite possibly the biggest song of the late 90s/early 2000s with “Drive.” Look it up. Told you you’ve heard them. You may have been four or five, but you know you did.

But on to the album, right? I think what I like most about Incubus is that they do kind of encompass the spirit of the late 90s/early 2000s to me. And they managed to do all that stuff that mainstream rock was doing all at once and they made it work, and they didn’t sell out. Plus they have a DJ who does that scratching thing that people of my generation have only seen in movies. It’s like the best of mainstream 2000 combined with ultimate stoner rock.

Make Yourself was put out in October of 1999. It was Incubus’ third album, and it was a little different than Fungus Amongus and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. Make Yourself was slightly more… I guess the word I’m looking for is “subtle,” even though that’s not a word that’s entirely appropriate for the album, but it best conveys my meaning. What I’m getting at is that the band added some variety. Instead of all out raging all the time (don’t get me wrong, cause it rocks hardcore), songs like “The Warmth” and “Stellar” bring in a (for lack of a better word) mellower aspect before the rock n roll really hits. It’s a pretty good way to keep the album moving. It settles into a groove, it builds, and it slips right back into the groove. It’s a good change up, because it keeps the listeners on their toes and appeals to those who prefer raging Incubus and those who prefer mellow Incubus.

Now, what’s unique about Incubus is that they’ve managed to put out a lot of albums, always tweak their sound, and never lose their fanbase (until MAYBE their last album, but I’m holding out for a really good release next year). Make Yourself is a good example of this talent, especially since they dropped DJ Lyfe for DJ Kilmore. Maybe this didn’t have a huge impact on their sound change, but it sure seemed to. I find Kilmore’s sound more prominent than Lyfe’s was and Kilmore’s sound gives the record kind of a mystical feel, apparent on one of the albums singles “Pardon Me.”

I think it’s pretty apparent that this album wasn’t exactly industry changing, and as Tyler Fischer of Sputnik Music puts it, it wasn’t technically challenging either (his review is here). But despite these facts, it’s a great album. It takes you from the hit single “Drive” (which is actually fairly unrepresentative of the album as a whole) to the groove “Battlestar Scralatchtica” to the more familiar roll and toil of “When It Comes” and “Out From Under.” Brandon Boyd’s vocals and lyrics improved in my opinion too. He’s depressingly hopeful (total oxymoron there) in “The Warmth,” an easy groove with silky vocals and a bass that doesn’t quit. The chorus, which urges the listener “Don’t let the world bring you down” and “Remember why you came here and while you’re alive/experience the warmth before you grow old,” really resonates with the listener.

My final words for this album are “experience the warmth,” and really appreciate what Make Yourself has to offer. Not only does it rock your socks off, but its got a great message that Boyd manages to keep from being cheesy. I think Dirk Lance is one of the better bassists to come out of the 90s, Mike Einziger has mastered the art of switching up his style on the fly, and Incubus is a band that has a lot of chemistry. Brandon Boyd really expanded as a vocalist with this album and I really do find the addition of DJ Kilmore did a lot for the band — if you’re looking for an experience thats about as 90s/2000s as it gets, “Battlestar Scralatchtica” is your jam. I think this album marks a major growth for the band and might make my top list for the early 2000s.

So that’s what I have for you. I really encourage you to go listen to this album because just about everyone I’ve met who has given Incubus a shot hasn’t had regret. Until next week, and I really do mean next week and not the week after, keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: Drive (so help me God you had better know this one already), Stellar, Pardon Me, Privilege, The Warmth, and last but not least Battlestar Scralatchtica

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