In Focus: Sick Sad Little World – Incubus

One of the most unconventional rock bands mainstream has adopted in this age is Incubus. Their music has always hovered within and beyond the line dividing the taste of the common man and the connoisseur. Incubus music is like fashion – ever changing and evolving. I’ve known them since elementary, but the Incubus then is totally different from the Incubus today. Were the music industry to strictly conform to an evolve-or-die mechanism, this band would very much be a pioneering survivor. If you love one phase of the band and disdain the rest, you probably don’t understand what they’re about. I’m not saying you wouldn’t be a true Incubus fan, though there are cases when fandom becomes a blindside.

“Sick Sad Little World” has got to be their most enigmatic song, if not the most outstanding. Its riff work is as mechanical as cogs in a sleepless machine, undergoing variations in each verse. In a way, it reminds me of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 2 – drowsy in intent and eerie in performance. Also, one of the things I admire about Brandon Boyd is his melodic sensibility. His vocal lines break from the main riff, weaving the elements together for cohesion and retention. The counterpoint may not make sense upon the first listen, but you’ll recognize its genius later on. At 2:56 the song comes into an interlude, whose main attraction is Einziger’s montage of aural textures, painting ambiguity and uncertainty.

You’ll have to be a little open-minded for this one because you’ll be in for a sonic game of charades if you’re not. What makes this track challenging to grasp is also what makes it tantalizing.


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