It’s been 20 years since Incubus debuted their first album, Enjoy Incubus. And it turns out, our unwavering love for the California rockers has stood the test of time, just as they have. Now, Brandon Boyd and company are back and ready to blow our minds with the April 21 release of their 10th studio record, 8. In honor of their triumphant return, here are multiple reasons we still think they're, ahem, stellar.
They Taught Us About Outer Space
No other band made childhood dreams of taking off in rocketships destined for the stars still seem feasible quite like Incubus with 1999’s “Stellar." In addition to the lyrics that painted a vivid description of what life amid the cosmos would be like, they included every whir and beep that you’d imagine hearing aboard a ship. With lyrics like “Meet me in outerspace/We could/spend the night, watch the Earth come up/I've grown tired of that place, won't you come with me/We could start again" offer an invite no one could pass up. Especially if Brandon Boyd is the one asking.
They Aren't Afraid to Get Political
The release of 2004’s “Megalomaniac” had wondering if the band had picked up where Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy left off. Nearing the end of former President George W. Bush’s first term and three years after 9/11, sleuths were pretty certain that the confrontational lyrics were directed specifically toward our 43rd president. However, the band claims that the message wasn’t meant for any one real-lifer person, but rather it's based off Steve Martin’s villainous character from The Three Amigos. No one is buying it, but we like his appreciation for cinematic comedy.
They Improved Our Vocabulary
On 2000’s “Pardon Me,” Boyd geniusly detailed the plight of a man so burdened and stressed out from the monotonous drama of everyday life that he welcomes the idea of spontaneous human combustion with open arms. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory. Using precise and poetic rhyming skills that plenty of rappers lack, he flexes his vocabulary and science muscles in order to school his listeners on the the phenomenon and the importance of good mental health.
2001’s “Drive” was a nice change of pace from the usual bunch of happy, overly peppy anthems about the future. What made it so unique were Boyd’s admissions about letting fear run his life and self-accountability in lyrics such as “It’s driven me before/And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal/But lately I am beginning to find/That I should be the one behind the wheel.” The message is simple, and even so, to say that “whatever tomorrow brings/I'll be there with open arms and open eyes” takes a lot of courage and inspired a lot of people. The stripped down acoustic guitar and subtle DJ contributions give the song a more intimate, confessional feel.
Their Effortless Fusion of Multiple Genres
Sometimes the ambition of a band to experiment with different sounds isn’t well-conceived, but the way Incubus blended funk, jazz, metal, hip hop, electronic and psychedelic music was flawless. Not only were they able to do it from song to song, as they did with 2004's "Wish You Were Here," but also from album to album without batting an eyelash or resulting in uproar from fans. The flexibility in their sound granted them the freedom to record whatever they wanted, earning them Top 20 hits — and certifying several as platinum.
They Were a Part of the Nu Metal Craze
Long before they were serenading newer generations with more lovey-dovey lyrics, Incubus was rocking out hard in 1997 with their sophomore album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., or Sailing Catamarans Is Every Nautical Captain's Ecstasy. Albeit strangely titled, the certified gold album garnered a lot of attention, selling over 100,000 copies and landing them a bunch of sweet gigs, such as touring with some of nu metal’s biggest heavyweights Korn, 311 and System of a Down. Most importantly, Boyd had dreadlocks.
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They Encouraged Us to Live Life to the Fullest
Across all of their albums, one thing that remains constant is Boyd’s message to not take life for granted and to live it to the absolute fullest. While he often sings about the perils of society’s shortcomings and life on Earth in general, he notes that we only have one chance to experience what we can while we have the opportunity, otherwise we’ll spend eternity enduring the absolute worst case of FOMO. So heed Boyd’s words and make the most of this fragile human existence.
They Have Style
After breaking into the industry and finding mainstream success with Make Yourself, Incubus earned a spot more coveted in Hollywood than any red carpet: They were given a segment on MTV's Cribs. Airing on March 6, 2001, the band showed off their finest, Buddhist-inspired household decor, complete with candles, statues of the deity himself, and the HGTV lover’s dream — a hidden crawl space below the stairs decked out with silken scarves, incense and every other extravagances that call to mind a Bedouin tent described in 1001 Arabian Nights. Whether they're traveling or embarking on a tour, they make T-shirts and flowing locks look good. These gentlemen are the epitome of style.