Incubus’ Morning View: 18 Years Later
Morning View by Incubus was released in 2001. Wow, I can’t believe that it’s been almost twenty years!
This was actually the band’s fourth studio album. But it really served as a sophomoric effort to their breakthrough, 1999’s Make Yourself. While the albums before were basically Electronica, Make Yourself was their first real installment in Alternative Rock. Placing them at the centerfold of the genre in the early 2000s. Make Yourself produced the hit singles “Drive” and “Stellar.” Morning View followed that up. But it did more than just follow.
I remember MTV actually doing what they were supposed to do, and presenting us with this great music. If I close my eyes, I can still see VJ, Iann Robinson’s face as he introduced the “Wish You Were Here” video. He said something like, “unless you been living under a rock, you might remember that Pink Floyd had a song and album of the same name….no this isn’t a cover.”
Morning View gave us five singles: “Wish You Were Here,” “Nice to Know You,” “Warning,” “Are You In?” and “Circles.” Though, I only recall hearing the first three on the radio. I did see the video for “Are You In?” In retrospect, I believe that was a special feature if you put the CD in your DVD player.
My favorite single was “Nice to Know You.” But I really enjoyed singing “Warning” on karaoke – especially the line, “floating in this cosmic Jacuzzi/ here we are like frogs oblivious.”
Breaking it down
“Nice to Know You” kicks off the album just right. It starts off with electronic noises that remind me of ripples in the water. Then it flows into the turntable gymnastics that Incubus are known for. Chris Kilmore was more than just a disc jockey. His turntables were another instrument. Accompanying those turntables are a beat-box/scat hybrid vocalization by singer, Brandon Boyd.
The first line, “Better than watching Gellar bending silver spoons,” always reminded me of two things: Ross Gellar from Friends, and the kid who taught Neo to bend spoons with his mind in The Matrix. Then the next line, “Better than witnessing newborn nebulas in bloom,” gives the cosmic feel of the album.
The next tracks flow effortlessly to “Circles,” onto “Just a Phase,” and then “11 AM.” While “Nice to Know You,” would be my favorite single, I would have to say “11 AM,” is my favorite song of the album. I like that Boyd recollects his events of the day, “7 AM/ the garbage truck beeps as it backs up/ and I start my day by thinking about what I’ve thrown away.” All three of these songs are great sing-alongs to just belt out in your car.
Though as a writer, you would think that I would analyze each lyric and ponder on what they mean. But with music, I let the instruments and the melodies, and how they flow throughout the song, tell me their own stories. I’m sure “Just a Phase” is about feminism, or something like that. But I always paid more attention to the arrangement of the song. The way it builds and crashes.
Like on the first verse, Boyd sings “Just a……,” then teases you by whispering, “….phase.” And by the second verse, when he sings “Just a…..,” he belts out “Phase/ And I’m waiting for it to be over soon,” as the music crashes around him. The rise and falls just take you on a roller coaster in your mind.
The album ends on the serene, “Aqueous Transmission.” It’s a mix of electronic samples with the chirping of crickets and frogs, while Boyd lulls, “floating down a river.” It makes you feel like you’re chilling on a lake, or rather, down a river like the lyrics suggest.
How does Morning View hold up?
This is my favorite album by the band. And really, one of my favorite albums of all time, if you couldn’t tell. Make Yourself had great singles. And A Crow Left of the Murder, the follow-up to Morning View had okay singles, but the album itself was just messy. While the following singles throughout the years have been good, I never really bothered to listen to the albums after Crow. They hit a peak with Morning. So I’m convinced that no others would be able to take you on the journey that this did.
You can pick up your copy of Morning View from Incubus‘ website.
How does Incubus’ Morning View hold up after 18 Years? 6 Sodas
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Nebraska native living with his wife and two dogs. Author of Hostage 100 and Full Steam Ahead. Allen also co-hosts the Fatty/Slim Podcast.