Nimble Bastard

Album: 8 (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • Who is this Nimble Bastard? "It's kind of a narrative about someone who overcomes the harshest of circumstances and always ends up landing on their feet," guitarist Mike Einziger told NME. "It's a really fun and energetic song."
  • This was the lead single from the group's eighth album (appropriately titled, 8). It was written very late in the process; the band was messing around with a music idea in the studio when the song developed.
  • Incubus Vocalist Brandon Boyd expanded on the song's meaning to Radio.com:

    "In the lyric for 'Nimble Bastard,' I'm in praise of someone," he explained. "I've known a handful of people in my life who've come into the most horrific circumstances whether it's physical injury or psychological or failure and they'll be as low as you could possibly be and you're like, 'Dude, this guy's done.' And then somehow they pop back up and shake it off and then are more strong and resilient as a result. That is this nimble bastard that I'm in praise of."
  • Some fans have attempted to attach its lyrics to Donald Trump, but that wasn't Boyd's intention. "It could be construed as a political statement in that the left took a massive hit over the past few months so maybe now's the time to learn from those failures," he said, "but that's not what I had in mind when I wrote the lyrics."
  • The song title is a phrase that Brandon Boyd had heard many years previously and had stuck with him. "We were somewhere in England, and I overheard somebody say with a thick British accent, 'Oh, you're a nimble bastard, aren't you?'" the frontman recalled to ABC Radio.
  • Boyd has found out that "bastard" is still very much a swear word in the U.K. "In the U.K., the word 'bastard' still really means 'bastard,' and it's a bad word," he laughed. "They can't play it on the radio 'cause it's a bad word. And it's ironic because I heard the term 'nimble bastard' in the U.K., that's who taught it to me. And then now they're throwing it back at us by saying, 'We can't play this, because this is a bad word!'"

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