If Not Now, When? review by Incubus

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  • Released: Jul 12, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 5 (153 votes)
Incubus: If Not Now, When?

Sound — 9
Incubus continues to release albums that have different musical qualities than their previous creations. If Not Now, When? does not break this pattern. I would actually say this album is one of the bigger steps they have made in producing a new sound, which is more "pop" than they've ever sounded. This is not technically a bad thing, but I think a large portion of their fans will be disappointed by this new sound. I personally like the new sound. I definitely wouldn't mind a few faster, biting songs, but this album allows space to breath and it is refreshing. As far as sound quality goes, this album is absolutely stellar. It's sonically their best album. I have always loved Incubus, but something with the mixing/producing of their albums has always bothered me. Not enough bass, muddy instrument tone, I'm not sure... All I know is, on this album whatever was bothering me before is not present. This album is definitely a great vinyl album/headphone album!

Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, this album is extremely hit or miss. Some lyrics are pure poetry, where some are cheesy. Brandon is a master poet but some songs just don't click with me. (Will explain more below) Vocally though, this album is amazing. Every album Brandon's vocal ability improves upon the last.

Overall Impression — 8
As I previously stated, this is Incubus' most mellow and poppy album, as well as musically their most beautiful album. That said, at the end of this album you are still left with an empty feeling that you didn't get to rock out in classic Incubus fashion. Following is my track-by-track opinion - 01. If Not Now, When?: the best track on the album, easy (in my opinion). Every instrument fits perfect, vocally and lyrically amazing. As always, every person has a different musical taste, but for me, the lyrics really speak to me. I recommend checking out the live studio version of this song on YouTube, it is truly beautiful. 02. Promises, Promises: at first I thought this song was meh, but it has started to grow on me. This song is very pop, almost Elton John-ish. The lyrics are pretty neat and the tell a story I think most listeners could relate to. 03. Friends And Lovers: this song takes a lot of heat in other reviews for being very cliche and cheesy, but this is actually one of my favorite songs on the album. The piano is great. "I've seen the porcelain shell/Your exoskeleton/And I feel like we walk well together" - great little snippet. 04. Thieves: great instrumental track. But I feel the lyrics and vocal melody bring this song down. "Or must I be a god-fearing, white American?" - The melody right here just disrupts the flow of the song for me personally and the lyrics are very cliche. I don't love or hate this track. 05. Isadore: awesome song. One of the highlights of the album. I little bit hard to explain this in words, you're just going to have to listen to this yourself. This song reminds me of Drive, but the lyrics tell a love story. I expect this song to be a fan favorite for the album. I can't wait to see how this song evolves for live performances. 06. The Original: another one of my favorites. The section where the lyrics are "girl you're the original" bothered me during the first few listens because it seemed to change the flow of the song, but maybe that's just me. Aside from that this song is beautiful. "You effortlessly ring that bell" gives me chills, every time. Fantastic song instrumentally as well. 07. Defiance: acoustic track. Great guitar, weak lyrics and vocals. I wish Brandon would rewrite these lyrics and change the melody, because the song had great potential. Not a bad song, but I feel as if Mike had envisioned a different vocal melody when he wrote the guitar for this track. 08. In The Company Of Wolves: when I read the title of this track I thinking I would finally get to rock out, but I was surprisingly mistaken, not in a bad way per se. This song has two distinct sections. The first is mellow and almost a little boring, but not bad. The second section is definitely the stand out section and is totally awesome. As it is often said, this song is very Pink Floyd, which is definitely welcome. Lyrically the whole track is great, but definitely fits better in the second section. Saw this live in Santa Barbara and it blew my mind. 09. Switchblade: definitely a change of pace for this album, very upbeat and interesting, but after several listens this track started to annoy me. Some people my love this track but, it's not my cup of coffee. Lyrics are great and for the first time in the album are easily the highlight of the song. 10. Adolcents: solid track. Heaviest (if it can be called heavy) of the album. I can't really pick out anything that I absolutely love or hate, but this song is good and I enjoy it. 11. Tomorrow's Food: just okay. Wish the album could end on a more memorable tune. All of the songs, good or bad, up to this point have always felt like Incubus, but this is the exception... This song just lacks that Incubus feel. I guess the best way to describe this song is by stating the fact that I never intentionally select this track and if it comes up, I skip it. Overall, this album is beautiful, but it has it's "huh?" moments and moments where I am left disappointed. If at first you don't like this album, I highly recommend listening to it with a pair of quality headphone to experience the truly great sound of this album. MUST LISTENS - If Not Now, When?, Promises Promises, Friends and Lovers, Isadore, The Original, In The Company of Wolves.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    [quote]Symphonica wrote: Of course, Incubus can do no wrong by my standards, and the album is by no means listenable. What?/quote] *unlistenable. Whoops.
    This album grew on me the more I listened to it....Boyd's vocal performance is very strong, and I really enjoyed the overall mix. I just wish the band went a little heavier at times...It seemed they purposefully strayed away from any heavy guitar tones to focus on a more ambient and musical sound
    I was incredibly disappointed with this album when it came out, but after giving it many listens, and some time to digest, I'm finally starting to get into it. It's just been a matter of learning to enjoy If Not Now, When? for what it is, rather than what I'd imagined it could be for a good five years. Seeing Brandon sing these songs live definitely made me understand just how ridiculous the vocal acrobatics on this album are, and without being overly showy at that. I'll be really bummed if they decide not to further the more energetic side of their music with the kind of class present on every song of this album on future albums, but taking this record simply for what it is I'm finally beginning to understand and enjoy it.
    EDIT: "While I think I enjoy the stripped down and mellow approach to this album, I'll be really bummed if they decide not to further the more energetic side of their music with the kind of class present on every song of this album, on future albums. But taking this record simply for what it is, I'm finally beginning to understand and enjoy it."
    I, like a lot of other people here, felt like Incubus could do no wrong. I listened to this album with my full attention a few times through and the only 2 songs that even remotely *sound* like Incubus are Adolescents and Switchblade and that's even stretching it a little bit. It may have already been said, but I feel like this should have been a solo release because it's WAY too far from what Incubus are really known for. Literally throughout that entire disc, I heard nothing but Brandon's voice over poppy poopy floofy swoofy beeps and boops. I gave it many chances, and as did many people which reflects why the user rating is so low. Nine times out of Ten, I don't believe anything anyone else ever says because my opinion almost always differs from what is commonly thought, but in this case, I agree with the vast majority of what has been said about this album...I can't even use this as a frisbee because the person trying to catch it would fall asleep due to the snoozy sounds eminating from it while spinning in midair. *End Rant*
    I totally agree with If Not Now, When? being the best track on the album. That song just shines with poetic lyrics and well written music. Harmonic.