Incubus has produced some of the most memorable rock music of the last two decades, proving that they can stand the test of time. Much of their catalogue continues to be included in radio playlists today, with most songs coming off of their breakthrough album, Make Yourself, which was released 20 years ago on October 26th, 1999.
The album’s futuristic and “space-like” sound has been the reason for it’s longevity; Incubus truly created an album ahead of its time. The band broke through as a part of the nu-metal wave of the late 1990s, though still managed to set themselves apart. While the band also included a DJ in similar ways like Korn and Linkin’ Park did, lead singer Brandon Boyd did not exclusively or excessively rap, instead developing his own singing style that would become a trademark of the band. Earlier albums such as S.C.I.E.N.C.E. were heavier and experimental, whereas Make Yourself marked a shift in the band’s sound. While still encapsulating experimental elements using DJ Chris Kilmore, the album included hints of funk rock (similar to S.C.I.E.N.C.E), had a more distinct alternative metal sound that was digestible by mainstream audiences, and was overall a more polished product from the band, both musically and lyrically. Make Yourself would go on to produce three charting singles, “Pardon Me,” “Stellar,” and “Drive,” all of which reached the top three on the Billboard 100.
In order to celebrate the album’s legacy, Incubus embarked on an anniversary tour titled “20 Years of Make Yourself and Beyond.” The tour reached Austin, Texas for a two night run on November 19th and 20th, 2019 at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. We were able to make night one, which proved to be remarkable. For any longterm fan, the show was a spiritual experience. Particularly for 90s kids who grew up with various songs off of the album being played extensively on mainstream radio, including “Drive.”
Before Brandon, Mike, Ben, Jose, and Chris stepped out on stage, a video chronicling their experiences while recording the album played, along with commentary from every band member on what the album meant. Michael expressed feeling that the album’s cover encapsulated the band’s sound, with it being “futuristic.”
Michael Einziger is perhaps one of the most underrated guitarists in rock and metal, having created some of the most memorable guitar melodies in rock music, including the unforgettable, “Drive.”
“Drive” would become the bands breakthrough hit and received extensive airplay on MTV, and continues to live through mainstream radio today. The music video is a memorable marker of the early 2000s, and was inspired by the lithograph titled “Drawing Hands” by Dutch artist M.C. Escher.
Every song off of Make Yourself becomes deeply embedded into your psyche within the first listen, and every track has developed a longterm relationship with listeners across the world. Not only is it the bands melodies that connect to its listeners, but so do their lyrics, most of them being written by Boyd. The bands lyrics discuss topics such as love, misguidedness, growth in life, as well as loss and heartache.
Many of their fans have expressed what the album has meant to them throughout their lives, but the band discussed the album’s meaning during their stop at BUILD Series in New York City.
When asked what the title meant for them 20 years ago and if it has changed today, Brandon Boyd stated:
“That’s a really good question. I mean there’s a lot of what it meant to us back then, I think that still holds true, but then we have twenty years of a lot of personal growth, collective growth, traveling a lot. Travel has a tendency to um, simultaneously round you out and kind of confuse you, and it’s essentially a good experience to have. Um, but yeah, when we were writing that record uh, we were just kind of in our early twenties and we had just traveled around the world a couple of times for the first time, and um, things were really exciting and things were looking up for us in a lot of ways, but then there were parts of the experience that we were learning about, I can speak for myself here, where its like the life that I had started to create at home in Los Angeles was kind of falling apart, because I had been so absent to it from just dedicating everything to just traveling and playing music and stuff. So there was a lot of the lyrical stuff in Make Yourself was I think learning how to be a man for the first time, in my experience and hence the term, “make yourself“, like coming into ones own and make yourself, attempting to understand one’s own experience in amongst chaos, so in our sense it was like being thrust onto the world stage for the first time. Like is this fun, or is this terrifying?”
The “20 Years of Make Yourself and Beyond” tour included Le Butcherettes, an art rock band from Jalisco, Mexico as the direct supporting act. Incubus’ set included not just an entire play-through of the entire album, but also fan favorites such as “Vitamin” off of S.C.I.E.N.C.E., “Wish You Were Here” off of Morning View and their latest single, “Into The Summer.” Incubus announced this week that they will be releasing a brand new single titled “Our Love” on January 17th. Stay tuned for their new single and all other announcements here.