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Morning View

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★★★★½
(637 Reviews)

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  • I love Incubus. You know what song made me a fan?..*gasp*..”Drive”! I know there’s a tendency with Incubus fans to think that everything they did before “Drive” became popular was awesome (which it was), and everything they’ve done since then has been terrible (which is hasn’t). When “Morning View” came out in October of 2001, lots of people accused them of “selling out” or “going soft”. The album definetly has a consistent mellow tone that their previous albums lacked, but it was expected; the album was recorded at a beach house in Malibu (or some exotic location). It’s kinda tough to be angry in that type of picturesque setting. People also accused them of purposely trying to replicate the sound of “Drive” by writing softer songs, but “Drive” didn’t blow up in popularity until spring/summer of 2001, when this album was probably 90% completed already.The point is, it’s a natural evolution in sound. Either embrace it, or go listen to S.C.I.E.N.C.E and stop whining. I’d much rather see a band evolve and expand their sound, as opposed to making the same album over and over again (kind of like Godsmack, Linkin Park, and other modern rock mainstays do).Anyway..1. Nice To Know YouThe second single, IIRC. And it’s a perfect example of what makes Incubus such a great band – here’s a song with an unusual mixed time rhythm, lots of tempo changes, and weird lyrics (about lead singer Brandon Boyd regaining feeling in his arm again after an extended period). Yet, the chorus has an incredible hook, making the song totally radio friendly. 2. CirclesHeavy verses with a heavy melodic chorus. Nice harmonies in the “What would it mean to you” part. Like another reviewer said, it’s reminiscent of the Chili Peppers.3. Wish You Were HereThe first single. Not a Pink Floyd cover either. The verses are mellow, and full of metaphorical imagery by Brandon Boyd (a highly creative and underrated lyricist), which lead into the catchy, anthematic chorus. 4. Just a PhaseThe best Incubus song ever, in my view. After an extended turntable/piano led intro, the song switches tempo (from 4/4 into 6/8) for the verse. Then it switches tempo again for the pre-chorus, etc. Basically, the song builds and builds, then the final chorus explodes with a wall of guitars. It’s a wildly successful experimental song.5. 11 AMI kinda expected this to be a single. Like “Wish You Were Here”, another mellow mid-tempo song with a memorable chorus. 6. Blood on the GroundThis sounds like something from “Make Yourself”. Brandon Boyd rapidly spits out great lyrics in the verses, leading into the explosive, angry chorus. 7. MexicoA totally accoustic number – no percussion or anything. It’s actually a pretty heartbreaking ballad, with great emotional vocal delivery. 8. WarningThis was another big hit single. Again, it’s radio friendly and catchy, but unlike other rock bands that get heavy rotation today, it’s not full of generic power chords and angst-filled lyrics. 9. EchoI didn’t care for this one initially, but after 4 or 5 listens, it became one of my favorites. It’s actually a little reminiscent of “Stellar”, but mellow the whole way through.10. Have You EverA heavy song..probably my least favorite on the album. Musically, it doesn’t stand out much, but the lyrics are really good.11. Are You In?This one makes you feel like you’re in the midst of a party with all your friends. Catchy, cool, and very jazzy (jazz pop I suppose). It gets a little repetitive after awhile, but still a good song.12. Under My UmbrellaOf all the heavier songs on the album, this is my favorite. It works the soft/loud dynamic perfectly, and the bridge is really cool.13. Aqueous TransmissionAlong with “Just a Phase”, the most experimental song on here. And it’s another success. It’s 8 minutes long, *extremely* mellow (you’ll feel like you’re floating down a river at night as you listen to it), and features a sitar (the main “riff”), a Japanese pan flute (giving it a very oriental feel), strings, and even crickets chirping at the end. It’s totally ethereal and wonderful. And that wraps up “Morning View”. Don’t listen to some of the harsh criticism for this album. It’s a fantastic collection of songs that takes creative guitar licks (from the also highly underrated Mike Einziger), creative lyrics, and overall creative musical ideas, and combines them with lots of memorable melodies and hooks. Thus, it *is* a radio friendly (or “mainstream”) album..but it’s also innovative and experimental at the same time. That’s what makes “Morning View” such a great success.Best Songs: Just a Phase, Echo, Under My Umbrella, Aqueous Transmission.

    Posted on December 7, 2009