Saturday, January 30, 2010

then you crumble and blow away

during my high school days, incubus came out with one of my favorite albums to listen to top to bottom, "Make Yourself". i initially purchased the album, attracted to their famous track at the time, "Drive". as it was one of two cds (the other being alicia key's songs in a minor, another good album) i had with me on a terrible summer in korea working as an intern in a random software graphic design company, and i was living with the constant bickering between my mother and her mother, i drowned it all out by listening to the album around 500 times.

the theme of the entire album truly is the idea of setting aside one's identity as apart from what the world views us to be. while "Drive" is a very catchy song, i believe that the actual title song, "Make Yourself" is its introductory song and has a lot more power and energy. you can listen to it here.


If I hadn't made me, I would've been made somehow.
If I hadn't assembled myself, I'dve fallen apart by now.
If I hadn't made me, I'd be more inclined to bow.
Powers that be would have swallowed me up,
but that's more than I can allow.

If you let them make you, they'll make you papier-mache.
At a distance you're strong, until the wind comes
then you crumble and blow away.
If you let them fuck you, there will be no foreplay.
But rest assured, they'll screw you complete til' your ass is blue and grey.

You should make amends with you.
If only for better health.
But if you really want to live,
why not try and make yourself?

If I hadn't made me, I'd have fallen apart by now.
I won't let em' make me, it's more than I can allow.
So when I make me, I won't be papier-mache.
And if I fuck me...I'll fuck me in my own way.

You should make amends with you.
If only for better health.
But if you really want to live,
Why not try and make yourself?
Make yourself.

at first listen, i suppose one could be turned off by the massive use of a certain four letter word throughout the song (which probably prevented it from being a single). however, thinking about what he's using the words for gives me a better sense that the world will not be gentle with trying to shape you and mold you. the imagery, while crude and graphic, conveys the intensity with which the song tries to warn the listener.

on the album this song actually is right before "Drive", and actually has a short transition into the song at the end of the track. i say it's a companion song because of the way they fit together. this song says that building an identity on a world generated image will be ultimately unfulfilling, and "Drive" describes how he will now go about choosing his own way in the world.

being super image-conscious in high school, i think that this song really changed my perspective and increased my capacity for self-awareness. it becomes apparent that everyone has the same concerns about how they are perceived by the outside world, and that it becomes so much more refreshing when you start searching for things that you find are true for yourself instead of others.

at the same time, i have to realize that it is also dangerous to close into oneself and believe that one's own vision for truth supersedes anyone else's. that's how crazy people operate, by acting on what they believe is true without consideration of any other viewpoint. i think that sometimes i get caught up in the idea that everything is fake, and with that, create my own ideas that i then subsequently see as truth. but i think it's imperative that we search on our own for truth, that we recognize that it isn't something we create, but discover.


Denise said...

It's funny how image, "making ourselves," and increasing self-awareness are such big concerns in high school, and even during young adulthood, when life subjects us to so much change. We build ourselves all we want, but sometimes, we get knocked about or develop in a way we couldn't have foreseen.

S said...

This is an interesting line:

"You should make amends with you."

More on that later.

I *am* surprised that this is and was one of your favorite albums growing up! I grew up on it in HS, too -- in fact, Incubus was my first favorite band, and I was, understandably, crazy in love with B. Boyd. But I digress. It is a rather violent song, and I thought you'd veer away from that, but all the same, I do think that there's a bit of violence to be expressed in all of us, due to the anger and difficulties simply living is bound to produce in our consciousnesses.

But as far as "you should make amends with you" goes, I think it speaks to how easily we can internalize the hatred the world seems to speak to us, within ourselves. The most difficult thing, perhaps, is to believe in ourselves, and to think that we are beautiful and worthwhile, whether or not our image, both figurative and literal, aligns with what the world would have us be.

-- Shends