Essay + A Crow Left A Murder

A Crow Left of the Murder... is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Incubus, released on February 3, 2004. The album marks the first appearance of bassist Ben Kenney, following the departure of founding member Alex Katunich.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The music of A Crow Left of the Murder... incorporates elements of art rock,[2]alternative metal,[4][3]jazz,[4]pop[1] and progressive rock.[4] The work of guitarist Mike Einziger takes equal prominence in focus to that of vocalist Brandon Boyd, in contrast to previous albums which focused more prominently on Boyd's vocalization.[5]

The singles from this album are "Megalomaniac" and "Talk Shows on Mute". "Agoraphobia" and "Sick Sad Little World" were also released as radio-only singles. Early pressings of the album list track 12 "Smile Lines" as "Suite Lines" on the back cover. The Japanese pressing of the album came with a bonus track, "Monuments & Melodies" which is also available on the Alive at Red Rocks bonus CD.


The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 332,000 copies in its first week on the chart.[15] It has since gone on to sell 1.9 million copies and has been certified platinum by the RIAA.[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Incubus.

2."A Crow Left of the Murder"3:30
4."Talk Shows on Mute"3:49
5."Beware! Criminal"3:48
6."Sick Sad Little World"6:23
8."Southern Girl"3:41
10."Zee Deveel"3:52
11."Made for TV Movie"3:38
12."Smile Lines"3:59
13."Here in My Room"4:20
Total length:58:35
15."Monuments and Melodies"5:05

When bought at some retailers (including Best-Buy) a bonus live EP was bundled with the CD.

1."Pardon Me" (live in Osaka, Japan)4:58
2."Pantomime" (live at Merdeka Stadium, Lumpur, Malaysia)5:17
3."Talk Shows on Mute" (live at Entertainment Center, Sydney, Australia)3:50
4."A Certain Shade of Green" (live at Entertainment Center, Sydney, Australia)3:32
Bonus DVD
  1. "Lollapalooza" – 9:13
  2. "Bridge Benefit" – 8:41
  3. While We Were Out – 7:35
    • This is a documentary about the making of the album in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as some interview footage, and some footage of other things the band have gotten up to whilst they were out. It also introduces Ben Kenney, who recently joined as the bassist for the band.
  4. Brandon's Injury – 1:06
    • A short mock-umentary about how Brandon injured his ankle.
  5. Short Film – 6:31
    • Though not listed on the packaging, there is also a short film by Brendan Hearne, starring Mike Einziger.

A SACD edition has also been released, along with a Dualdisc edition as well.





YearChartFirst Week SalesPosition
2004Billboard Top 200332,0002
UK Official Charts298,0006


2004"Megalomaniac"Modern Rock Tracks1
Mainstream Rock Tracks2
The Billboard Hot 10055
"Talk Shows on Mute"Modern Rock Tracks3
Mainstream Rock Tracks18


  1. ^ abKiener, Dan (February 6, 2004). "Incubus - A Crow Left of the Murder..."Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  2. ^ abGrierson, Tim "Teaming again with O’Brien for 2006’s Light Grenades, Incubus opted for a more streamlined approach after the art-rock of A Crow Left of the Murder" Incubus Biography and
  3. ^ abIncubus Fail To Mature With Fifth Installment Michigan Daily - February 10, 2004. Retrieved March 7 2013.
  4. ^ abcdeErlewine, Stephen Thomas. "A Crow Left of the Murder... – Incubus". AllMusic. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ abShetler, Scott (March 24, 2004). "Incubus: A Crow Left of the Murder...". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  6. ^"Reviews for A Crow Left of the Murder by Incubus". Metacritic. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  7. ^Catucci, Nick (March 2004). "Incubus: A Crow Left of the Murder". Blender (16): 120. Archived from the original on December 13, 2004. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  8. ^Browne, David (February 13, 2004). "A Crow Left of the Murder". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  9. ^Cromelin, Richard (February 1, 2004). "Incubus turns up power". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  10. ^"Incubus: A Crow Left of the Murder". Mojo (123): 94. February 2004. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2016. 
  11. ^"Incubus: A Crow Left of the Murder". Q (214): 104. May 2004. 
  12. ^Cherry, Robert (February 11, 2004). "A Crow Left of the Murder...". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  13. ^Ganz, Caryn (March 2004). "Incubus: A Crow Left of the Murder...". Spin. 20 (3): 95–97. Retrieved October 24, 2016. 
  14. ^Gundersen, Edna (February 5, 2004). "Twista resonates, Connick impersonates". USA Today. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  15. ^Todd Martens. "Chesney's 'Sun' Rises To Top The Billboard 200". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  16. ^"American certifications – Incubus – A Crow Left of the Murder". Recording Industry Association of America. 

I read today that Penn State University Campus is being plagued by hundreds ('if not thousands') of crows which have returned to roost this winter, attracted by the warmth of the site at night.  And "their homecoming again has created an unsightly and unsanitary problem here for those trying to dodge the droppings falling from the sky."  So action is being taken and noisy flare guns are going to be used to frighten the birds away.  "They were coming in from the east," emailed one eye-witness.  "The students were dodging strafing runs from Eisenhower Deck to Thomas to Ritenour. It was just like a scene from ‘The Birds.’ People looked up, but not for long; everyone was running.....”

And yeah, those Hitchcock birds sure did scare us.  Tippi Hedren gashed by flashing beaks, the evil eyes, the malicious intent.....  They were real birds, too, you know.  Not actors.

The poor crow has always had a bad press.  In the Book of Leviticus it is cited  as one of the things not fit to eat, which perhaps is why the Washington Post had this headline on November 28th: "No crow on Obama-Romney lunch menu," as eating crow is the US version of eating humble pie (where umbles = deer guts (so they say) ie not nice to eat.....) 

It is also a bird of fear, an omen bird.  Macbeth notes that:

"Light thickens, and the crow

Makes wing to the rooky wood;

Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,

Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse." 

And four centuries later Ted Hughes picked up the image of the haunting, dark-spirited being, and charged it with emotive danger.

"Where is the Black Beast?

Crow, like Owl, swivelled his head....."

You can see Ted Hughes explaining his choice of Crow for the poem sequence in a film clip from 1970 on Youtube, at:


Pretty bad press.  Poor bird.  'Birds Britannica' pulls no punches, stating that the corvids (while recognisiing that there are various species in the UK family, including the Magpie, the Jackdaw, the Jay, the Raven, as well as the Carrion Crow), "Remain the most unloved of British species...."  There are reasons:  crows are renowned for pecking out lambs' tongues and eyes, and even for eating human flesh.  Though, as survivors, should we begrudge them their survival?  We eat pretty much anything that moves or has roots.....

I find myself on the loving side.  On the side of John Clare, one of the biggest selling poets of the 1820s, who with his patient focus on the natural, especially feathered, world, saw what others never saw, and who loved the, "sooty crow.....  I love to see it sailing to and fro."  Clare spent most of his early life in the open, as a labourer, or simply lying in thickets waiting to see a particular bird (no binoculars).

"How peaceable it seems for lonely men

To see a crow fly in the thin blue sky

Over the woods and fealds..."

On my way to work, a lonely man seeking some peace, early in the dark, a moon falling out of the crisp night sky, I am watched by a murder of crows.  They have scoured their way across the common to a plane tree outside the Harpenden House Hotel.  They chatter and flapple, congregate and dissociate, enacting parliamentary divisions on the moments of the day.

I am struck by their diplomacy;  they carry no guns, no placards; have no aides, no PAs, no agendas.  Swirl, settle, chackachacka, swirl, fly.  There is no suggestion of evil, past the predictable blackness of their garb.  These are birds (pace Tippi and Alfred and the host of twine-pulling studio hands); they show us how individuals fit into groups (and have to); they show us thrift, imagination, community, conservation, and perhaps they show us a sense of making the best of things?  As Clare observes:

"And often flap their sooty wings

And sturt to neighboring tree 

And seems to try all ways to sing

And almost speaks in glee...."

Kevin McGowan, Cornell Lab of Ornithology associate and co-editor of the second New York State Breeding Bird Atlas, is an authority on the crow family and gave the following as an answer to the question, 'What is one thing you wish everyone knew about crows?'

"I wish people understood that the groups of crows they see are often families, not gangs. People attribute some sort of malicious intent to what crows do when they’re just trying to raise their kids like everybody else. It would be nice if people actually thought about it as mom and dad and the kids from last year who are still helping them raise young. It’s not a bunch of juvenile delinquents coming through and trying to cause trouble."


Standing under the cold, bare tree in the early commuter light, I get some subtly puzzled glances, but the birds don't mind.  With my iphone I shakily film these busy fellows for a few seconds.  There's nothing ominous about them; like the bipeds on their way to the station, these birds are up for earning a crust, as soon as it's light.


The way that crows are integral to our culture is not immediately obvious.  As a boy I lived in a house called Crowstone, and never thought about the etymology....  Later I listened to a band called 'Stone the Crows,' and never thought about the name.  I have been to Crowthorne, Crowhurst, Crowthorpe.....

North America has a lot to answer for, not least its version of the ubiquitous corvid, but it also has the Crow (Apsáalooke) Tribe of Indians, with a membership of approximately 11,000, of whom 7,900 reside on the Crow Indian Reservation. Eighty-five percent of these speak Crow as their first language. The tribe was originally called "Apsáalooke," which means "children of the large-beaked bird."  White men later misinterpreted the word as "Crow."   Perhaps we have all misinterpreted the word 'Crow.' 

I stand below the ragged flapping coal black tattered flocks of life, grateful that diversity helps us put ourselves in perspective.....

"Who is stronger than death?

Me, evidently.

Pass, Crow."

For the final scene of Hitchock's "The Birds" see:

But please note it was the gulls that started it......

And here is Crows, the Movie.....

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