In 1991, vocalist Brandon Boyd, lead guitarist Mike Einziger, and drummer José Pasillas came together to form Incubus. Bassist Alex “Dirk Lance” Katunich and Gavin “DJ Lyfe” Koppell joined later, only to be replaced by Ben Kenney and DJ Kilmore. After their first two albums failed to make much of an impression, they hit pay dirt with their third album, the multi-platinum selling Make Yourself. Since then, they’ve released 5 further albums. Not all have been as successful as others, but they’ve each played an essential role in the band’s journey. Here’s how we rank all of the Incubus albums from worst to best.
8. Fungus Amongus
Some bands never better their first album. Fortunately, Incubus isn’t that kind of band. Despite a couple of good songs, Fungus Amongus is an easily forgettable debut that’s failed to redeem itself with time. As Kerrang! comments, their style leans too heavily toward the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus for their own sound to push through. Brandon Boyd later said he’d like to “bury it forever.” He’s not alone. It failed to chart on its initial release in November 1995, but later peaked at No.166 on the Billboard 200 when it was re-released in 2000.
7. If Not Now, When?
Stylistically, If Not Now, When? was a very different beast to any Incubus album that had come before. Released after an extended hiatus in 2011, it moved the spotlight away from Mike Einziger’s guitar skills with a collection of slow, muted songs that failed to hit their mark. It’s not a terrible album, but its slightly pretentious vibe and understated delivery make for uncomfortable listening. Released on July 12, 2011, the album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200.
After the disappointment of If Not Now, When? Incubus took six years to finally release their next album. It’s unquestionably a big improvement on its predecessor. It’s not, however, the big return to form that fans had been hoping for. Brandon Boyd is on fine voice, particularly on rockers like Throw Out the Map and No Fun, and the overall production is solid. But there’s a distinct lack of personality, with the band sometimes sounding painfully unsure of their sound and at other times indulging their signature quirks too much for comfort. It debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in April 2017, but by the second week, sales had bottomed out and it dropped to a dismal No. 127.
5. Light Grenades
After the experimental A Crow Left Of The Murder… left many fans a little dazed and confused, no one was sure what to expect of its follow-up. As it transpired, the answer was “not a lot.” After getting off to a blazing start with the doubleheader of Quicksand and A Kiss To Send Us Off, Light Grenades stuttered, stalled and eventually came to a grinding stop. Limp and lackluster, the dismal second half came as a bitter disappointment after such a promising start. Its only real claim to fame is for holding the title of the biggest drop from No. 1 in chart history, falling to No. 37 after topping the Billboard 200 in November 2006.
Incubus’ second album and major-label debut is something of a mixed bag. When it’s good (as it is on tracks like A Certain Shade Of Green, Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song), Deep Inside and Vitamin), it’s astonishing. Its fault lies in its ambition, which is simply too great to result in a cohesive, focused album. Incubus threw everything they had at the record, and while the creativity is laudable, it’s also a hard slog to get through. A vast improvement on their debut it may be, but the band still had some way to go before hitting their stride. Released in April 2007, it peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard 200.
3. A Crow Left Of The Murder…
Of all their albums, A Crow Left Of The Murder… is probably Incubus’ most divisive. Realitybreached.com have called it a “disappointment” while Blender describes it as “half-progress, half-pompous.” Ultimately, it’s not a perfect album. It is, however, a major leap forward in the band’s maturity. Mike Einziger’s guitar playing is giving a spotlight, elevating Bradon’s always excellent vocals even further. The songwriting is better, the style is more nuanced, and it brims with creativity. A hit on both sides of the pond, it reached No.2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.
2. Make Yourself
Make Yourself has long been a favorite with fans, and for very good reason. The band sounded confident, there’s a good scattering of major hits, and while some people have described it as “vanilla,” it’s hard to care too much when it’s home to songs like I Miss You, Privilege and The Warmth. It might not be as ambitious as Crow or as unpredictable as S.C.I.E.N.C.E., but sometimes, the safe lane is the best place to be. Released in October 1999 as the band’s third studio album, it only managed to reach No. 47 on the Billboard 200 but has since been certified double platinum by the RIAA.
1. Morning View
After winning over the mainstream with Make Yourself, Incubus returned with Morning View, a bold, beautiful album that splices genres, takes risks, and, in the process, gives us a collection of their best songs to date. The singles may have got the attention, but the deep cuts deserve just as much glory, with songs like Blood on the Ground, Just a Phase and 11 am delivering a masterclass in musicianship. A perfectly balanced, expertly conceived and flawlessly executed record, it’s unquestionably their finest album of all time. Released on October 23, 2001, it charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and has since become their highest selling album to date.