I started listening to them at 15. Actually, I did not like them at the beginning. It just occured that my older sister liked listening to "drive" and "love hurts" and got them on one of her CDs she listened while occasionally driving me somewhere. The songs did sound nice and all, but I was more on a negative trip with billy talent and some other - rather depressing bands.
Few years later I listened to them on an internet radio, love hurts again. I remembered that I listened to them with my sis and asked her if she got more. She got me ACLOTM, part of Light Grenades and a few things of Fungus Amongus, mostly a wild mix of a few albums. Sadly in low quality (meaning 320 kbps and for sure not in flac ^^). Anyway I listened to them. I liked around 10% of their songs, but they suited a gap in my current music collection, just by sounding "different", so whenever I wanted some change I listened to them. Over the months, with repeated hearing (and ending in buying the albums myself) I realized two things:
1) Incubus is no ordinary band. Incubus is an incredible band. An intelligent band. A creative band with meaningful text. Especially the last part got me pretty late (I'm no native speaker. Actually when I started listening my english was terrible. I mostly understood the lyrics by reading them on the internet).
And 2) You have to work your way through the albums to be able to apreciate any kind of music Incubus delivers. Incubus is the first and since then has been the last band I can honestly say I did not like one single album which I listened to for the first time. Mostly it was just one or two songs I liked, the others were mediocre to me (without having read the lyrics) and sounded a little to...experimental to me, which I usually am sure to abandon. Well, usually sure is not something you label this band with. I always needed around 1-2 times playing the whole album and reading the lyrics (while thinking about them) to warm up with the whole album. After around 10 times I always think to myself "damn, thats good" at nearly every song I hear on the albums. I start appreceating how all of them are different, how all of them cover other areas of music I never listened to and especially how many of them have this experimental note you usually don't hear in your everyday mainstream rock I usually listen to.
After around the 20th time (which usually is two days after the 10th) I'm in my special Incubus-Awesome mode. You could sum up my thought while listening to something around this:
"oh my good that is so awesome I can't stop thinking about how awesome this is, the lyrics or so incredible, the sound just fits to this so awesome, the rythm just rocks everything and oh my gosh Brandon is such an incredible singer and holy shmoothie if you put it that way the whole meaning changes but still in a fitting way. Holy crane that metaphor was a good one. How does this guy just find the right words every goddamn time?! Man those melodys just soothe my soul I think if I relax more I start to melt/ spark me up so much I think if I get just a bit more energy input I'll turn into an atom bomb. Oh the beauty of the whole song is so incredible I just want to....OH MY GOODNESS WHAT ARE THOSE BRAINS OF THEM MADE OF TO CREATE SUCH HEAVENLY GREAT MUSIC?! SWEET HEAVENS! AARGHBLSLWLAL " Followed by around at least one eargasm every time I listen to a song.
In this state it is kind of pointless to argue with me if there are other artists out there. The only important Band at that moment is Incubus. I tend to lose my objectivity in those kind of states quite easily. I kind of turn into your typicall fanboy, just with greater ability to not show it too obviously.
At the moment my excitement centers around "Isadore", "Promises, Promises" and "Switchblade" on the new album. (All of the old ones already had their weaks in which I constantly thought about them ;) ). Isadore due to the incredible way they made the lyrics. 3 characters (Narrator, Erica, Isador) and the meaning changes rather significantly depending of what character speaks what paragraph. Promises just because I like the way they arranged the lyrics with the song and my sentimental attachment to it. And Switchblade due to the fact how nicely it complements the album, reminding me of Light Grenades (song).
Due to the fact that I realized for myself that one should try to let the whole thing sink in and that I most of the time never like anything Incubus puts out at first I gave "If not now, when?" the same chance as I gave the others. As expected, I couldn't connect with any of the songs at first, but after a while, as you can see, I loved it just like the albums before. It adds another note to incubus I would never have expected - But well, that was the same as with nearly every new album they made.
So, after around the....dunno, maybe 40th time (?) I can say that I still am in love with this new album, as much as I am with the others. Therefor I can't understand the criticism. Incubus is a band that changes. Actually, I'd be unable to like them if they would ever do the thing some expect them to do - stick with a style. That is, what would make them boring. I already have my selected bands if I want to listen to the same kind of music again and again.
What is great about Incubus is exactly that they are so different. Incubus is change. Incubus is variability. Incubus is experimenting. Incubus is new, every time. At least for me, that is.
Started listening at 15, started seriously listening at 18. Loving the new album just as much as the others, maybe more. Hard to tell when you're in a currently biased state ;)