Promises, Promises

Album: If Not Now, When? (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • The second single from American rock band Incubus' seventh album If Not Now, When? is the group's homage to the pop tunes of the past . It was released on May 31,2011.
  • Frontman Brandon Boyd told MTV News that the song tells the story of a young girl, who after so many failed attempts at love, has armored herself against the pain of intimacy by only engaging in surface affairs. "And so, I used these metaphors in the song of, like, magic, like she's an illusionist, so she creates these illusions around her," he explained. "And she's gotten so good at it that she meets somebody who potentially could be someone that could help her break through those illusions and those walls, she can't really recognize that he could be the real thing, or they could be the real thing, so she's asking him for one thing: 'Don't make me any promises.'"
  • Guitarist Mike Einziger told the story of how the song was written in an interview with Rock Sound magazine: "This was actually one of the first songs we wrote for the album. I'd written the main music pieces for it quite a while ago, maybe two years, and I sent them to everybody in the band but nobody responded to it. It fell by the wayside until we officially got back together to write new music again, and Brandon said that he remembered the song I'd written and he had some new ideas to add to it.

    A little while later Brandon and I were walking down the street in San Francisco, and he started singing melodies that he had come up with for the song. Writing the song was just effortless, and it worked really well straight away. We decided that the song shouldn't be something that needed an explanation, because in the past we've had a tendency to make things more complicated and cryptic, but this song was the opposite to that. I think it's really elegant, just a simple song. It may not be innovative, and we were all aware of that when we wrote it. As a band we never have a collective vision for how we think a song should progress, but we have so many years experience of working together, that we can see when a song has a spark."

Comments: 1

  • Timmy from Mukilteo, WaI really enjoy Brandon Boyd's lyrics. Listing to an Incubus song for the first time really makes you really want to dig into what's there, and it's awesome how seemingly simple songs can have greater meaning. Kudos to you, Brandon!
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