Incubus
Make Yourself


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
January 13th, 2007 | 353 replies | 40,150 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Plain and simple- this is mainstream rock done right.

I don’t really like posters all that much; they’re kind of a waste of money, especially for me, because I don’t spend any time in my room. However, my brother loved posters in his adolescent years, and he had an Incubus poster from the Make Yourself days. To him, Make Yourself was one of the best albums created in mainstream music, and for a short time I agreed with him. How can you go wrong with a band that possesses a tight, accessible rock sound with the ability to take everything down and lay down a sweet groove, all while keeping an intensity and never losing sight of what they are trying to achieve with this album? Not to mention Brandon Boyd’s unique lyrics, which he sings near perfectly, and the fantastic bass skills of Dirk Lance. Make Yourself may be Incubus’ finest work, the perfect blend of their aggression and their funk-rock roots. I understand why people find this a mediocre album in the grand scheme of things. It’s not technically challenging. It didn’t change the face of modern music forever; although it finished the 20th century off well by producing some singles with some real staying power (Drive, Pardon Me, and Stellar). But this might just be the most well executed blend of everything going around in the modern rock scene in 1999.

That poster I mentioned in the opening is in my room now. It features that Transformers like artwork found in the album jacket, with a robot composed of all different parts. This represents the amount of influences and sounds incorporated into Incubus’ sound. It isn’t immediately apparent because it is so well blended, but there are the funky grooves from bassist Dirk Lance, the punk energy of drummer Jose Pasillas, the clear DJ cuts screaming from DJ Kilmore, and guitarist Mike Einzinger’s ability to switch styles on the fly. Although a hybrid of many different things, Make Yourself is a cohesive album, with a defining concept of non-conformity and acting upon ideas. The album’s message, one of resisting oppression and “seeing the sky”, is a break from the sarcasm and humor often used by singer Brandon Boyd in his earlier days.

All of those ideas are great, but there are plenty of bands that have tried it and failed, just creating a strange, ineffective sound. But even greater than the mix of sounds and the great album ideas is the execution. The album brews in its intensity and still, it comes down in intensity and rises back to its normal height in the blink of an eye. Never before Make Yourself had Incubus tried to be subtle. To this point, they were anything but. However, The Warmth serves as the first Incubus song ever where they took the time to slow things down and make something subtle. And it worked, maybe better than any other song on the album. The song begins with sampled whale cries, definitely an atmosphere setter. As the bass and drums sets in and the Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar line sings, the song brews in its quiet, laid back groove. There is a good sense of growth, making sure that the longest song on the album does not drag. The simple rhythmic bridge offers a change of feels, as the rest of the song relies on the same groove and chord progression, just different articulation. Brandon’s lyrics are uplifting and depressing at the same time, singing that most of the world is a cold, heartless place, but there is a small section of life, “the warmth” that is a calm place.

The Warmth is an anomaly on Make Yourself. The definitive sound to the album is much more aggressive and generally heavier. Pardon Me, a single that found immense success, still finding time on the radio airwaves 8 years later, best describes that sound. It features a rocking riff, simple yet still perfectly executed and written. The verse brings things down and Brandon does more of a rap than singing. With the typical quiet verse-heavy chorus structure, the song works out perfectly as a single. DJ Kilmore’s turntable work on the song adds variety and substance, enough to keep things interesting throughout. Pardon Me is the best single to come off of Make Yourself, with its catchy riffs and execution. Elsewhere on the album, the sound is executed with less success, such as Privilege, Nowhere Fast, and Out From Under. Nowhere Fast is the worst of these, simply not executing the catchy hooks the way the other songs do.

Whether it’s the acoustic Drive, the spacey Stellar, or the ethnic percussion-filled Clean that gets you, something about this album appeals to just about everyone. It just so happens that I love just about all of it, which makes me have a higher opinion about this album than most. It isn’t the most technical or challenging album ever, it’s definitely a step up from the general mainstream rock scene. Dirk Lance is the best bassist in mainstream music, challenged only by Flea, but even Flea does not have the big bass tone or the creativity of Dirk Lance. As proven in the jam Battlestar Scralatchica, he blends better with his guitarist as well. Einzinger and Lance had a chemistry between them seen in few guitarist/bassist combos. Make Yourself, as a whole, is a true mainstream rock album. It has great singles, it branches off into new territory, and it derives from musical and lyrical clichés. Don’t throw it off just because it is mainstream, take a listen.

Recommended Tracks:
Privilege
The Warmth
Clean
Battlestar Scralatchica
Pardon Me



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user ratings (1872)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
January 13th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rewrite.

Patrick
January 13th 2007



1891 Comments


Resist & Multiply.


Good review, though I'm afraid my opinion on most of these songs differs heavily from yours.

The Jungler
January 13th 2007



4827 Comments


DJ Kilmore is a pretty badass name, but unfortunately for your room Incubus posters are not.
Very good review, I think I may have this, but I'm in the mood to dig it out.

Neoteric
January 13th 2007



3243 Comments


Yeah this album is quite good.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2007



2634 Comments


One of their better albums for sure - 'Battlestar Scralatchica' is incredibly awesome. But, this album is another example of me wondering if Incubus would make a much better singles band than an album band, because their singles are incredibly catchy ('Pardon Me,' 'Stellar,' and yeah, even 'Drive' despite its overblown and overplayed nature), but there aren't really many other tracks on this album that, while still great, don't have as much staying power for me, personally. Well, except for 'Privilege,' which I agree is one of the best on this album. But I find this to be the same throughout their discography (the singles vs. non-singles thing), especially with Morning View and even Light Grenades (with 'Rogues') being one of the lone exceptions there, heh.This Message Edited On 01.13.07

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
January 13th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=The Jungler]unfortunately for your room Incubus posters are not[/quote]

Well, my brother just left it here, so I took it.

And Jom, you're pretty much right, I think A Crow Left of the Murder is the best example of that. Megalomaniac and Talk Shows on Mute are fantastic, but other than that most of the tracks are pretty meh.

The Jungler
January 13th 2007



4827 Comments


It's allright, there's a Hoobastank sticker on my door


Kyle
January 13th 2007



667 Comments


'Battlestar Scralatchica' is incredibly awesome
This.

Great review btw.

Oddsen
January 13th 2007



1127 Comments


Nice review. I've considered getting into Incubus

samthebassman
January 16th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, Great Album!

rustysurf84
January 17th 2007



327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SCRATCHLATTTTTICCAAAAAAAA

bdizfoshiz
January 17th 2007



273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is great. Not their best by any means, but it has some really good songs on it. Pardon Me is one of my favorite Incubus songs.


Jewely311
January 17th 2007



12 Comments


CLEAN IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES! Track#9, where all of the instruments come together slowly, but magnificently.
I also am terribly in love with track 11. I miss you.. I know I know, but I am female.. I do have a tender heart..
GREAT ALBUM

levi23
August 16th 2007



4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

THE WARMTH!!

OpethFreak
September 7th 2007



391 Comments


Drive is so Beautiful.

Yazz_Flute
September 11th 2007



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh god, I forgot how fucking much I love this album....and Incubus.

I can't decide if this or SCIENCE is better....SCIENCE has a few better songs, but has some filler also, while this is all spectacular for the most part. "Prviliege" is probably my favorite song here.

I would say Incubus are easily my favorite non metal band, not that I listen to too many (probably only around 5 really) but they're so amazing, I can probably place them in my top 10 bands of all time actually. If I updated my top 50 albums list, this and SCIENCE would be a good deal higher definately, and Morning View would be on it somewhere, and possibly Fungus Amongus.

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings

musername
September 7th 2008



13 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i think this album has great 'staying power'. i've owned this album for 9 years and every songs still gets me when i play it

pdbn
January 16th 2009



130 Comments


Good review.

PayneTiger777
January 19th 2009



4388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"So don't let the world bring you down. Not everyone here is that fucked up and cold."

I love this album

Yazz_Flute
July 2nd 2009



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Drive is probably the best mainstream rock hit single of the past decade, I forget how good that song is with classics like "The Warmth" and "Pardon Me" on this album.



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