Few genres were more maligned than nü-metal, that strange mix of hard rock, hip-hop and electronic music that dominated the rock radio airwaves at the turn of the millennium. Sometimes dark and melodic but also frequently mookish, bands like Limp Bizkit set a standard for bad behavior and worse lyrical crimes (and that whole Woodstock '99 thing certainly didn't help their cause). But not everything in the genre was terrible (Linkin Park, who just put out one of the most interesting and innovative big rock records in years, did emerge from the muck), and not all the bands associated with the scene even really belonged there. Take Incubus, whose combination of metal, funk and psychedelia made them stand out from the pack, and they began their unlikely rise on this day in 1999 when they released their breakthrough album Make Yourself.
Essentially a jam band with distortion pedals and a sexy frontman, Incubus stormed onto modern rock radio with their breakout hit "Pardon Me," a strange little track with an unusual beat and frontman Brandon Boyd's unusual vocal delivery (and, of course, a gigantic shout-along chorus that centered along the fantastically surreal teen angst phrase "Pardon me while I burst into flames"). The power of that single turned Make Yourself into a hit, and people soon got to know Incubus as both heavy rockers and convincing balladeers (the single "Drive" was an even bigger hit). Their latter albums dove deeper into psychedelia and political rabble-rousing, but Make Yourself might be their purest release, as it is eclectic, fun and completely without self-consciousness. Their outer space exploration fantasy "Stellar" remains one of their best songs, biggest hits and most surreal, engaging videos.