Make Yourself


Immortal / Epic Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's been some time since Incubus appeared on these pages - and part of that is my fault. Since we reviewed S.C.I.E.N.C.E., Brandon Boyd and crew have become darlings of the alternative scene thanks to their hit "Drive" - a song which, by the way, is deserving of all the attention it's been garnering. Meanwhile, my copy of Make Yourself, the latest full-length release from the band, has been gathering dust in the Pierce Memorial Archives.

It's enough to make me want to kick my own ass - especially after finally getting to this disc and discovering just how incredible it is.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Take all of the intensity of recent alternative hit groups such as Limp Bizkit, and filter out much of the rage. Now, combine that end result with the smooth funk of Red Hot Chili Peppers, then add on an unidentified floating head which has become the band's mascot. (I still say that looks like Mark Spitz.)

If you think for even a moment that the overall power of the music and lyrical delivery is diminished by toning down the rage - well, think again, Lumpy. Boyd and crew seem to realize that their true power lies in the credo that less is more. Songs such as "Nowhere Fast," "Privilege" and "Pardon Me" all are proof of this.

Yet there is enough raw emotion in the lyrics to set the speakers ablaze, whether it's paying attention to everything happening around you ("Consequence" - sample lyric: "Blink. Everything's been augmented, you've been left so far behind.") to bucking popular thought and being an individual ("When It Comes" - sample lyric: Just when you thought it was safe to think, in comes mental piracy! / What I'm looking for cannot be sold to me.")

A word of caution, though: While I am no advocate of the "Parental Advisory" sticker, parents should be aware that the language does get a tad rough, even if it does fit the situation at times. An example is on the title track: "So when I make me, I won't be papier-mache. And if I fuck me... I'll fuck me in my own way." Get past the language use, and the message of shaping yourself into what you believe in, and not what you're told you should be, comes through brighter than a 10,000-watt lightbulb.

The overall benefit that Incubus has on Make Yourself is that the music not only sounds fresh to the ears (dipping into the pool of pure rage only once, at the close of "Out From Under"), but that this disc is genuinely fun to listen to. If anything, this disc is the proof that Incubus has paid its dues, and is ready to take the main stage in the public's eye. Let there be no doubt; Make Yourself is a strong statement that shows this band is ready and able to meet the challenge.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Immortal / Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.