Hoobastank: innovators or imitators?
With the huge popularity of digital music and MTV, bands can go from
being virtual unknowns to rising stars in a short period of time. Southern
California hard rock band Hoobastank is a fine example of this phenomenon.
As of September, very few had even heard this band's quirky name, let
alone its music. Now, after getting a supporting slot on Incubus's fall
tour, steady radio play, and lots of spins on MTV, the band has made a
name for itself. The first single, "Crawling In The Dark," has
propelled them from virtual anonymity to huge success.
Their surge in popularity is undeniable, but it is questionable whether
their album is actually anything more than a rip-off of Incubus.
The similarities between the two bands are astonishing. Both bands hail
from the same area, and their vocalists sound and look similar. Members
of the two bands are friends, and the groups have even toured together
before this year.
Musically, they are also eerily alike. Both bands feature their good-looking
frontmen quite prominently on stage and on their albums. Like Brandon
Boyd of Incubus, Doug Robb writes lyrics that are more intelligent and
sensitive than most. The band also utilizes numerous catchy pop hooks.
The lyrics for "Crawling In The Dark" are typical: "Show
me what it's for. Make me understand it. I've been crawling in the dark
loking for the answer." Robb has written some beautiful poetry that
ends up being surprisingly catchy. His abilities do not measure up to
On many other fronts, the band fails to match Incubus. While the album
has a number of excellent tracks, there are also several filler tracks
that add nothing to the album. Even with the filler, the album clocks
in at under forty minutes. Incubus rarely makes such mistakes.
There is very little variety from one song to another. Each song has
fairly simple riffs, an adequate rhythm section, and the same general
length and tempo. The funky sounds and diversity Incubus are famous for
are nowhere to be found. A DJ adds an element of complexity and variety
that this album sorely lacks.
With that being said, this is still definitely worth a listen. The songs
are highly emotional and the band members are all competent. As this band
matures and develops their sound, they will surely become even more successful.