Incubus – Make Yourself (1999)
I don’t care for the genre name ‘Nu Metal.’ Or ‘nu’ replacing ‘new’ in general, with the exception of Tobias Fünke’s Arrested Development license plate.
The new (that’s better) version of metal that peaked in the late-90s featured DJs & more emphasis on hip hop and funk than on speed.
An evolution, yes, but an improvement? I found it was hit and miss.
The lead singers weren’t always the most appealing fellows, with Fred Durst being perhaps the movement’s poster boy.
Then again, after recently re-reading Chuck Klosterman’s On Rock, it’s clear the world’s biggest metal band isn’t exactly made up of endearing characters either! (Incidentally, some of the ‘On Rock’ essays are terrific, full of fascinating insights into why artists released certain records at certain times)
Sadly, as with Lars Ulrich & company, I find myself liking several artists less after hearing them being interviewed.
Thankfully however, that’s not always the case; Incubus is among the groups whose stock climbed a bit after reading an interview transcript (with Neil Strauss). They seemed like genuine dudes, getting along with each other, a refreshing lack of ego.
Make Yourself has some aggression (the title track) balanced with melody (I Miss You), some nice syncopated rhythms (Stellar) mixed with straight-ahead crowd-pleasers (Drive). As he was brought in to do at the last minute with In Utero, Producer Scott Litt does a nice job of buffing out some of the rough edges without making it seem too polished & sterile. And unlike In Utero, he was present & producing for the full recording here.
I was going to complain about the late-album funk of Battlestar Scralachtica disrupting the running order. Then I was reminded of how it bothered me when a reviewer moaned about the late-album inclusion of the funky (if grisly-titled) Barbarism Begins At Home on the (equally cheerfully-titled) Meat is Murder. So I withdraw my complaint, play that funky music Incubus!
Make Yourself is probably more rock than metal; fortunately it’s also more hit than miss.
From → 1990s