Album Review: Incubus’ ‘If Not Now, When?’

After a five-year hiatus, Incubus is back in the music scene with their seventh studio album, If Not Now, When?. The much-awaited album is the follow-up to their 2006 release Light Grenades, and contains 11 tracks. Known for their intellectually-sounding yet calm musical creations, Incubus is out to prove why they remain one of music industry’s best acts.

Released last July 2011, the band’s newest offering drew mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. Some reviewers describe the recent album as a solid musical collection, with lead singer Brandon Boyd’s melodic voice, skillful instrumentation, and well-written songs providing the perfect mix. Critics also noted the songs included in the album, which are noticeably ‘calmer,’ as a welcome change from their usually heavy-sounding tracks. One reviewer even calls the music in the album as ‘Incubus Light,’ which was an obvious reference to the generally subdued tone of the songs.

However, other critics weren’t as impressed with the album’s shift from heavy rock to a more alternative-like, laid-back sound. One critic pointed out the lack of energy and power in most of the tracks included, saying that it’s hardly Incubus, while one complained of the absence of flair and soul from the band. According to a BBC music review: “The 2011 incarnation of Incubus is a depressingly dull and sterile proposition and, really, we wouldn’t wish these bland wet blankets on anyone.”

Perhaps the best explanation to this sudden shift of attack to their music is the band’s attempt to be creative. Guitarist Mike Einziger says that making albums for them is a constant surprise, which was what they just did with If Not Now, When?. Some of the album’s notable tracks include “In the Company of Wolves,’ performed live; “Promises, Promises,’ a piano-driven track with Boyd trying out a playful rendition; “Defiance,” featuring organic guitars that soothes the senses; and the title track “If Not Now, When?” a heavily instrumental song that has Boyd delivering a powerful and soulful performance. But arguably the best and most original cut would have to be “Switch Blade,” an edgy track that displays everything that fans will surely associate with Incubus—fast, edgy music, and powerful and varied vocals.

Overall, Incubus’ If Not Now, When? album is an eclectic and exciting fusion of rock, alternative, and acoustic music genres. For a band that has long been known to roll out hit after hit of mostly raw and edgy songs, the risks that Incubus had taken with their recent offering is commendable at best. Much like what the album’s cover implies, Incubus has bravely chosen to tread an unfamiliar path in pursuit of musical and artistic freedom. The band is definitely performing a delicate, high-wire balancing act with this album, and it’s up for all their die-hard fans whether they’ll embrace or completely shun the changes that Incubus has introduced to them. After all, the question of growing-up and maturing musically is pretty much staring them in their faces—if not now, when?

Spotify: Socially Driven Music Platform Review

Spotify, founded by Daniek Ek and Martin Loretnzon, is the answer to John Denver’s lamentation in his song American Pie about “the day the music died”. Or, if you’d take Spotify investor Sean Parker’s word, “the answer to piracy”. Considering that these three men don’t have masters in health administration under their names, it’s quite a feat that they knew exactly what to do to bring back the robust health of the music industry.

This article will attempt to dissect what’s hot about this interesting site, in the clinical and objective style of a good meladerm review.

Not just an ordinary music sharing site

Unlike most online music sharing sites like Ares, Bearshare, Limewire, Bittorrrent, Napster, and many others, Spotify takes the peer-to-peer online music sharing experience to a whole new level, much like the introduction of SharePoint Hive to support a host of organizations on just one server farm. Spotify engineers and executives actually succeeded in turning music sharing into a sexy thing, like seeing gorgeous women in designer lingerie or men in wetsuits. But how?

Like a good car insurance policy with comprehensive coverage and additional perks, Spotify’s platform allows its users to link their Spotify account to popular social networking sites, chiefly Facebook. This gives users a rare and convenient way of sharing their favorite music contents to their online friends. Spotify users have at their fingertips virtually millions upon millions of high quality music from independent to mainstream artists. It’s as easy as browsing over several good auction sites to find the best item to bid on. With just a click here and there, users gain instant access to their favorite artist’s latest hit song, and then share it instantly as they wish.