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Change was Incubus' crutch, not their strength
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Rickety Cricket
The Karate Kid


Joined: 21 Apr 2010
Posts: 115
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard this a while ago about the change from MV to ACLOTM and it kind of stuck with me ever since. Incubus used to have a sense of space in their music. The example is Wish You Were Here, Mike's guitar in the verse is just adding texture and dirk is playing with just a few notes. The songs had a feeling of building towards the chorus.

Now it just feels like they are trying too hard, and everything is a bit of a cluster at times. As much as I love mike's guitar I want less of it. To me absolution calling gets boring very fast because the verse, the chorus, and the bridge has so little variation. While Make Out Party has that build to the chorus, and the space in the notes that their older songs had.
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Jelger
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Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can agree with that, but I think SCIENCE can be a cluster at times too. And don't get me started about fungus. I do think the songwriting on MV is their best, their vibe in that album is great.

Finally, some people with actual arguments in this thread instead of posts about excrement.
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slamhole
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the point regarding space is well taken, and I think you can argue there's a return to form on Trust Fall in terms of filling up just about every second with as many elements as possible.

To be fair, though, the record with the most restraint and space out of any of them is INNW, and it doesn't seem like that ol' girl has many fans around here (perhaps save yours truly).
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Jelger
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah true, but INNW (to me) is lacking in songwriting. If the whole album would be of the quality of their earlier mellow tracks (11am, Just a Phase, Echo, I Miss You, Talk Shows, Dig), I think no one would really hate the album. I know I wouldn't.

I just think Promises, The Original, Friends and Lovers, Tomorrow's Food, Thieves and even If Not Now, When pale in comparison to their older mellow stuff. Isadore is a fine track if you ask me.
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slamhole
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is where the discussion gets hard, though. Isn't "It lacks in songwriting" a phrase that more or less means "I don't like it as much"? Because otherwise, the same elements that people would argue characterize the earlier material - in terms of lyrics that make a point, instrumentation and song structure that build and then subside with purpose, and a sense of cohesion - are there on the songs that make up INNW. Again, whether or not you LIKE those things on the album is entirely up to each listener, but I don't think it's fair to say that they're not PRESENT.
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SMakeMorningA
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Joined: 11 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe Scott Litt, their old producer pre-ACLOTM, was a genius of sorts and knew just how to mix Brandon and the band just right to give them that unique Incubus sound they had. Who knows.

But I do know that listening to Incubus with Dirk and Incubus with Ben have a characteristic difference in aural signature. It's coming from Brandon and Mike, but their old producer probably knew how to rein in certain tendencies they had which Ben and Mike's carpal tunnel just fueled in.
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Jelger
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course it's also that I 'just don't like it as much', of course it all comes down to an opinion. I'm sure there are people out there who'd take promises over 11am, while I think the latter is far superior.

You can't always rationalize why you prefer one piece of music (art) over another. Why is Nickleback so hated in the rock community, while all the elements in their music also exist in a lot of respected rock bands? It's a feeling (and perhaps the influence of popular opinion) that the music of Nickelback lacks. But what that is exactly? You can't really put your finger on it. Every rational argument about why Nickelback's music is worse than other big rock bands (simple riffs, bad lyrics, etc.) Can be countered with a respected band/act making the exact same mistake. Same goes for INNW.
I thought Manchester Orchestra did an interesting thing. They made their album Cope, a bit of a wall of sound/sluggish rock album. They released the same tracks later on the album Hope, but nw stripped down, acoustic or piano/keyboard-driven. The same songs turned out to be my favorites on both albums, even though they had a completely different sound. I think that shows that to me (this too is of course opinion) those songs were the best written song, with the best lyrics and basic outline. It's a shame the Promises-idea of the band (release the sheet music and have people interpreted it in their own way) got hijacked by the early leak. Because that would've shown how good the basic elements of the song would work with different sound. I think that is really telling about how well a song is written.

I just read all that and wonder what I'm rambling about. Its 4.33 am here however, so forgive me if I don't make sense. I don't want to delete all that after typing it on my phone, haha.
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redonkulousemu
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Joined: 23 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slamhole wrote:
This is where the discussion gets hard, though. Isn't "It lacks in songwriting" a phrase that more or less means "I don't like it as much"? Because otherwise, the same elements that people would argue characterize the earlier material - in terms of lyrics that make a point, instrumentation and song structure that build and then subside with purpose, and a sense of cohesion - are there on the songs that make up INNW. Again, whether or not you LIKE those things on the album is entirely up to each listener, but I don't think it's fair to say that they're not PRESENT.


Truer words have never been said.

People just can't seem to get over that one of their favorite bands changed and they don't like it. They try to rationalize it with all kinds of crazy theories and speculation about what happened that made them shit in their eyes, not realizing that any music they make is a snapshot of that place and time, and you can never replicate that. Of course it's not going to be the same every time.

Also, a lot of it is expectation. You want what they produced in the past because you liked it. If it's not that, you don't like it, it doesn't matter how good it is. It gets worse the older you get as songs become attached to more memories, nostalgia and feelings. You can just expect a new song to collect all that emotional baggage (in a good way) immediately. I try to approach any artist I like's new music like I've never heard of them before and like it for what it is, not what I want it to be. It leads to far less disappointment and lots of happy surprises.
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Incubus: 7/9/09, 10/16/10, 6/25/11, 7/1/11, 7/5/11, 8/10/11, 10/8/11, 10/15/11, 4/27/12, 5/25/12, 5/26/12, 9/8/12, 9/10/12, 12/13/14
Ben Kenney: 10/8/11, 6/19/13, 6/22/13, 6/23/13, 7/19/14
Willie's Nerve Clinic: a shit ton of times
Chris Kilmore: 9/9/12, 6/22/13, 2/12/14
Brandon Boyd: 2/12/14
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I'll Take B
The Karate Kid


Joined: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Newton, Iowa

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultimately, it's impossible to objectively critique Incubus on this board without getting ragged on. People will argue that music is subjective in every way, thus making any argument you make unfounded, speculation, opinion, etc. Somehow, despite the viewpoints of many on this forum, people that review music have jobs and are valued by some.

I feel Pink Floyd wrote their best music between Meddle and The Wall. I feel Radiohead's best albums are The Bends, OK Computer, and In Rainbows. I enjoy Oasis' first 3 albums more than anything they did since. I enjoy Faith No More's The Real Thing and Angel Dust more so than anything that preceded or followed. I'm stating these examples as they also seem to be that of popular opinion. There are several other musicians and bands I listen to whose work I value most does not align with popular opinion.

Personally, I feel Incubus wrote their best music between SCIENCE and Morning View. I have enjoyed several songs and elements of their work since, but it isn't as profound, interesting, or engaging as what was done between 1997-2001 as a whole.

When it comes to popular opinion, MY, MV, and ACLOTM were their period of greatest success (critically and commerically). SCIENCE, as we all know, maintains a rabid cult following. Everything that's came out since Crow hasn't had the same impact. While songs have climbed the charts, album sales have been down, and they have fallen out of mainstream attention for the most part. Incubus seems to no longer be "cool". Popularity =/= Quality. But with Incubus, I feel that there's a correlation.

Whatever may have triggered what I perceive as a decline in musical quality, I can confidently say that change had nothing to do with it. Incubus changed more from SCIENCE through Morning View than most bands do in their careers, and it was my favorite time to be a fan. I was exposed to so many different sounds and styles - they were solely responsible for broadening my taste of music and helping me become more open minded about what I listened to.

If anything, I wish Incubus would change more. Glimpses of brilliance are shown (example: Quicksand), but not as consistently. Too many songs feel like they could have been on the last album, and too many songs just feel boring. While I don't like Make Out Party, it's at least interesting, and I'm glad they took a risk and did something different.
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Jelger
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll Take B wrote:


Whatever may have triggered what I perceive as a decline in musical quality, I can confidently say that change had nothing to do with it. Incubus changed more from SCIENCE through Morning View than most bands do in their careers, and it was my favorite time to be a fan. I was exposed to so many different sounds and styles - they were solely responsible for broadening my taste of music and helping me become more open minded about what I listened to.


This is very true.
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slamhole
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Ultimately, it's impossible to objectively critique Incubus on this board without getting ragged on. People will argue that music is subjective in every way, thus making any argument you make unfounded, speculation, opinion, etc. Somehow, despite the viewpoints of many on this forum, people that review music have jobs and are valued by some.


Right, but no one here has a problem with someone who has a differing opinion, so long as it's expressed in the same way you would in any other venue in your life - respectfully, constructively, sensibly. The problem is when people come in here spouting pissed-off vitriol or unhinged conspiracy theories about the direction of the band. That's when other people get pissed off in turn, and arguments are started.

I also don't think anyone here has assaulted the value of opinions or reviews, and in fact, the larger truth is this: of course you're (and I'm not specifically referring to you here, I'll Take B) entitled to your opinion and encouraged to share it, but you're not entitled to some idealistic utopia where everyone peaceably agrees with whatever you've got to say. That, I think, is the most annoying thing for me about a lot of posts here - that persistent implication that just by posting something and verbally shutting someone down, I'm an impossible-to-reason-with-fanboy that's infringing upon their freedom of expression or some shit. No I'm not - we're having a disagreement. I do not think in the same way that you do. This is where you put on your grown-up pants and muster a counterargument so we can both learn something from the situation and keep talking.
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Look_Alive
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Joined: 27 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, that's one of the things I love about this band - that, even nalmost a quarter of a century into their career, they still can create such vehement debate over their music... there's not many bands that can actually claim that. Heck, you might view that as a positive or a negative but at least they still want to come up with new ideas.
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