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A Certain Shade Of Green by Incubus

Album: S.C.I.E.N.C.EReleased: 1997
  • This song is simply about procrastination.
  • The reference to "2012 A.D." is referring to an ancient Aztec belief that the world will end on December 21, 2012 A.D. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - Pittsburgh, PA, for above 2
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Comments: 27

I don't know what the intention were when they first wrote the song, but it seems applicable to the process of legalizing of weed. the verses can be loosely applied to governments dragging their heels on the issue. and then the chorus is kind of self explanatory. It's just freaky that the song was written 15 years before it happened.Ciarán - Ireland
In the 1970’s a different color was appearing around humans, being that the normal colors of auras were starting to be taken over by this new “certain shade of green.” The color was indigo and these humans were referred to as “Indigo Children.”

In the 1970's Nancy Ann Tappe, who studied and taught chromatics, discovered this new shade surrounding more and more people. Chromatics is the science of color. This is the perception of color by the human eye and brain, the origins of color in materials, color theory, and the physics of electromagnetic radiation in the visible range.

The idea was that these “indigo’s” were the pioneers in the next step in the human evolutionary process. In the 70’s there was a rapid progressive start towards this evolutional state of humans and is what the Mayan calendar was really saying to us.

The Mayan calendar was predicted to foresee the end of the world on December 21, 2012 but instead it was only marking the end-date of a 5, 126 yearlong cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. On this day not only did all the planets in our solar system align but our solar system also hit dead center of the Milky Way.

The “New Age” idea was/is that 12/21/12 was not ending us but purely marking the beginning of a new dawning/era. This new era lead the start to Earth and its inhabitants undergoing a positive physical/spiritual transformation.

“The time has passed for hand-me-downs, take flight choose anew, please evolve”
Cassandra - Oklahoma City, Ok
This song was in fact inspired by a traffic light. Brandon was driving around with a friend and while at a red light got distracted. He hadn't noticed that the light had turned and his friend remarked, 'Are you waiting for a certain shade of green?'Jet - Washington, Dc
6/25/2012 We're getting closer to "judgement day".

Personally I don't think anything is going to happen...(and If it does I'm not going to spend the rest of my precious days worriying about it.)
Zero - Nowhere, Nj
The guitars on this song sound like acoustic guitars with distortion effects added later on.Zero - Nowhere, Nj
Seconding the comment from Michael of Phoenix. The MAYAN calendar recycles in 2012, not the Aztec.

I think the line "I think I grew a gray watching you procrastinate" might be an allusion to science-fiction greys/grays. This could be seen to give further context to the extent to which countless masses live their lives as if waiting for a huge revelation instead of realizing the revelation is theirs to attain by way of their own minds.
Paul - Jacksonville, Fl
For the people who are terrified of what might happen on 2012 please read this: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091011/D9B8P09O0.html People have always tried predicting when the world would end. This is no different. I wish people would stop with all the talk about 2012 being the year the world comes to an end. The only thing we'll be worrying about are the crazy people running around the streets doing crazy s--t cause they think the worlds going to end.David - Stockton, Ca
michael from phoenix, i love what you have to say.
but get your s--t straight,
if you're such a fan of incubus then you should know that
drive came AFTER a certain shade of green.
the acoustic version is on their new cd monuments and melodies...maybe this is where your confusion comes in.

although i do agree with your analysis the most out of everyones.
they are not solely about "weed" and this song sure as hell isn't talking about a f--king green traffic light.
seriously people. look a little deeper into things.
Jade - Neosho, Mo
About a person who has every sign to move forward yet still waits (procrastinates). Green... like a green traffic light is a symbol/sign to move forward, the person is making up every excuse not to move. Whats it gonna take for this person to move forward? certain shade of green?Amber - Melbourne, Australia
In 2012, the small brown dwarf star, sometimes referred to as "Planet X" is supposedly scheduled to approach the part of its orbit where it comes very close to the inner part of our solar system where it will get uncomfortably close to our home planet. Lets just say, its going to shake things up pretty bad for us. Unfornately, we cannot see this body in space that is approximately 4 to 8 times the size of earth because unlike our sun, it is not ignited and is covered by a cloud that can only be seen through infrared telescopes. NASA knows this, which is why they are reactivating all the old satellites and discontinuing the new ones. On google space, there is a big brown square missing where there are no stars visible.. hmm. Around the end of 2009, the star should be visible around the globe using infrared.
Sounds radical, right? Trust me, if this turns out to be just a hoax, it is one of the biggest and most widely referenced in history. Just google or youtube 2012 and see what you can find for yourself. In other words, stop "procrastinating."
Garrett - Miami, Fl
If were takeing it too literally rhen why does he say "Choose a new take, please evolve take flight" how could that possibly mean something in relation to a stop light...Casey - New Albany, In
I also believe this song is talking about 2012 when their will be a spiritual shift in mankind. we are given free will but that might not always be. I think this also relates to global warming. Could brandon be talking about the color of the grass shifting to brown meaning its to late to stop the end?Casey - New Albany, In
This song is not about sitting in traffic and being frustrated at the light. (sorry but "instert eye roll here"). You are taking it WAY too literally and if you know Incubus' music and Brandon's writing style, you'll know that he uses a lot of metaphors and this is one. It's as Michael, Phoenix said - though I see it as more of a cautionary tale and/or words of advice (as with "Warning" and "Make Yourself") to realize that you're probably waiting for some perfect culmination of events that will convince you that it's time to act....but that it may never happen, so to live your life NOW ie: not to procrastinate). The phrases he uses, including the title of the song, are Brandon's colorful way of expressing a simple idea with clever wordplay and imagery. I suppose they were still using a few drug references at this time (ex: Deep Inside), so maybe it was meant as a double entendre about weed...but I personally don't really think so. And if you've not heard it, find their acoustic version of this song (prob on youtube as "at&t wireless performance" ...it is SO different from the album version, and really makes the meaning of the lyrics seem more apparent - ie: that it actually IS about something a little deeper than waiting for a traffic light to change color.Colleen - Calgary, Ab
Brilliant, yet simple imagery about the frustration he feels when the vehicle in front of his doesn't move at the traffic light's change from red to green. A great way to describe the eternity it feels like as you are the helpless driver of the second car.Nick - Mankato, Mn
its about weed they just dont want to say it outrightbut you can interpret it as you want this is just the right way.

"A Certain Shade of Green", could be interpreted as an open invitation to join magical orders, especially if the lyrics are connected with those from the 11th song on "Morning View", "Are you in?", which includes the text passage, "it's so much easier when sea-foam green is in fashion"
Kevin - Whittier, Ca
oh, well, when we smoked weed, we were pretty sure that this song is about SEMAPHORE! i know its silly, but try to think aboutt it:"what are you waiting for? a certain shade of green?!"
dont listen to me... :)
Sanja - Zabok, Croatia
This was from when Incubus was a bit more off-the-wall and the album still takes some risks. Later albums were more 'radio-friendly'.Nick - Mankato, Mn
simply put .. it's about weedVivian - Riverside, Ca
the song is says it's exact meaning in the lyrics. it isn't a metaphore for anything. simply put it's about how frustrating it is to be in a vehicle behind someone who has stopped at a stop light and the light has turned green. Many people shout, "what are you waiting for a certain shade of green? COme on GO!" i love incubus as much as the next person, that's why i love this song because it's so simple and yet people are putting too much thought into it.Alia - Raliegh, Nc
This is a great song. It's one of my favorite songs by Incubus. I know every word to it and i have every cd that Incubus came out with!! They're my favorite rock band!!!!Bailey - Arroyo Grande, Ca
Either way Mike, the song is still about procrastination. deoxy.org/omega.htm That is where the Aztec notion came from.Tim - Pgh, Pa
Michael- Drive came after A Certain Shade of Green, not before.Linda - Norfolk, England
The reference to a "certain shade of green" is referring to a certain shade of green marijuana. If you were at the Incubus show in Oklahoma in '02 it reeked of marijuana when they came on stage. Therefore that is how I came to the conclusion.Jack - Oklahoma City, Ok
Michael I agree about the spiritual meaning, but i think the metap[hor he is trying to use is that of being behind someone at atraffic light and the light turns green and the just sit there doing nothing, I think Brandon doesnt get credit for how smart and deep his lyrics are because he's a "Pretty Boy"Tim - Abilene, Tx
A correction to a previous comment, the 2012 date does not refer to an Aztec date. It is Mayan. The events that are unfolding now in our time are flowing toward a climactic spiritual and physical shift that will change humanity. Whether it changes positively or negatively is all up to us individually. We all currently stand at a fork in the road. One side is positive, the other negative. The negative is our continued pursuit of material things. The positive is a spiritual shift we all can participate in. This song is about the participation in the positive shift.

The phrase "a certain shade of green" comes from the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side. The song is esentially a drawn out question. If you know the grass is greener on the other side, why not go to the other side? "What are you waiting for, a certain shade of green?" The questions in the first verse are metaphors for that question. "Could someone please explain to meyour ever present lack of speed? Are your muscles bound by ropes? Or do crutches cloud your day?"

"Would a written invitation signed, "Choose now or lose it all," sedate your hesitation? Or inflame and make you stall?" This line of the chorus defines the believers and the skeptics. If you were told what was going to happen, would you do? Would you participate in this shift (sedate your hesitation) or would you get mad and say that it was a bunch of crap, ultimately preventing you from participation (inflame and make you stall).

"You've been raised in limitation, but that glove never fit quite right. The time has passed for hand-me-downs, choose a new, please evolve, take flight." These lines are for the ones out there that know the spiritual truths that are out there have been supressed and kept from you. As a result you feel things just aren't right in this world. The next line tells you to stop living your life as you have been forced to and take charge of it. Make the change necessary to participate in the building and coming shift. "I think I grew a gray watching you procrastinate" indicates his frustration at those who don't do that.

This song is a clear evolution of Incubus' spiritual journey. Their earlier song Drive shows where they were still learning and A Certain Shade of Green shows a better understanding of not only what is happening now in the world but what is to come.
Michael - Phoenix, United States
this song examplifies the frustration that comes from being a procrastinator.Erika - Yuma, Az
At their Pittsburgh show, during the A Crow Left of the Murder Tour, this was the last song of the concert.Tim - Pittsburgh, Pa
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