New Skin – Unraveling the Metamorphosis of Identity

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Incubus's New Skin at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Dance of Destruction and Renewal
  5. Beyond the Surface: A Deeper Look
  6. Media Manipulation and the Shaping of the Self
  7. The Cyclic Nature of Life and Rebirth
  8. Memorable Lines: When Will We Be New Skin?


At first I see an open wound
infected and disastrous
It breathes chaotic catastrophe
it cries to be renewed
Its tears are the color of anger,
they dry to form a scab
To the touch, its stiff and resilient,
underneath, the new skin breathes
As outwardly cliche as it may seem,
yes, something under the surface says,
“C’est la vie”
It is a circle, there is a plan
dead skin will atrophy itself to start again
Look closely at the open wound
see past what covers the surface
Underneath chaotic catastrophe,
creation takes stage.
Its all been saved
with exception for the right parts
When will we be new skin?
Its all been seen with exception for what could be
When will we be new skin?
Fallacious cognitions
spewed from televisions
do mold our decisions.
So stop and take a look,
and you’ll see what I see now

Full Lyrics

Incubus, a band that’s consistently flirted with the edges of alternative rock, never shy to infuse their music with both philosophical introspection and a dash of the uncanny, presents us with ‘New Skin’, a track that’s as much an auditory rampage as it is a rich ground for lyrical excavation. This song, found on their 1997 album ‘S.C.I.E.N.C.E.’, is a vibrant, raw depiction of transformation and rebirth.

At a superficial glance, ‘New Skin’ feeds the senses with its riveting sound, but a deeper dive into its lyrics reveals a labyrinth of self-reflection and existential metamorphosis. Let’s strip back the layers of this complex track and explore the profound implications sewn into the fabric of its urgent, pulsating rhythm.

The Dance of Destruction and Renewal

The lyrics of ‘New Skin’ evoke the imagery of an open wound, afflicted and chaotic, symbolic of an inner turmoil and the pain of personal growth. The band artfully describes an existential struggle that is both visceral and inevitably human. As the old skin atrophies and sheds, it is about more than just physical rebirth; it’s a metaphor for psychological and emotional renewal.

The resilience of the ‘stiff and resilient’ scab reflects our own defenses, a necessary fortification from which we can eventually grow. In a world where we are constantly faced with the pressure to conform, this growth process is not only natural but essential for the development of a distinct self-identity.

Beyond the Surface: A Deeper Look

Incubus urges us to look beyond the initial chaos and see the potential for creation that lies beneath. The notion that ‘creation takes stage’ amidst a ‘chaotic catastrophe’ suggests that out of our own personal struggles and conflicts, there is an opportunity for something innovative and constructive to emerge. This is the beauty of the human condition that Incubus captures—a complex balance of destruction and creation.

The song invites its audience to pierce through the surface and examine the components that comprise their own identity. In a way, the revealing of ‘new skin’ is a challenge to embrace change and face the discomfort of personal evolution head-on.

Media Manipulation and the Shaping of the Self

‘Fallacious cognitions/spewed from televisions’ – through these lines, Incubus delivers a critique of the role mass media plays in influencing our thoughts and decisions. The band taps into the vein of skepticism that surrounds our consumption of information and how it molds our perception of self.

The awareness brought to ‘televisions’ serves as a reminder to maintain autonomy over our self-conception, and not fall prey to external forces that seek to define us. Incubus encourages the listener to question, think critically, and ultimately interrupt the passive absorption of these ‘fallacious cognitions.’

The Cyclic Nature of Life and Rebirth

When the band echoes the sentiment, ‘It is a circle, there is a plan’, they’re drawing attention to the cyclical nature of life. Just as the skin cycles through phases of damage and healing, so do our identities through various chapters of our lives. It’s a powerful reminder that life’s ‘open wounds’ are but temporary; they serve to catalyze our rebirth and evolution.

Incubus, in its philosophical rumination, constructs a narrative that life’s struggles are not just arbitrary mishaps but part of a larger, perhaps even predestined plan, preparing us for the continual metamorphosis into ‘new skin’.

Memorable Lines: When Will We Be New Skin?

The recurring lines – ‘When will we be new skin?’ – showcase the longing for change and the frustration over the in-between period of healing and becoming. The band taps into an almost existential impatience, one that resonates with any listener that has stood on the precipice of change, waiting to shed their ‘old skin’ in search of renewal.

These lines stay with us because they encapsulate the universal human experience of waiting for transformation, the anticipation for the moment we can finally say we have become something different, something better. With ‘New Skin’, Incubus does not just deliver music; they provide an anthem for the moments we are on the verge of emerging anew.

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