Drive written and performed by Incubus

Drive, written and performed by the late 90s – early 2000s rock band Incubus is a song surrounding the idea of letting fear control a person’s life. The song places the listener in the thoughts of a young man battling with the idea that his anxieties are controlling his decisions and actions and fantasizing what his world would be like without the influence of that fear. 

Fear is presented in the song initially in the opening lyrics in which the lead singer, Brandon Boyd, questions how much he is letting fear control his life. 

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I am beginning to find
That I should be the one behind the wheel

These opening lyrics introduce us to the idea that the protagonist of the song is struggling with fear controlling his life and recognises that he needs to take back “the wheel” and steer his life in the direction he wants. Throughout our life, our decisions are almost always going to be influenced by fear in some way or another but we can gain control over it. The lyrics show how Boyd recognises how fear is controlling him and in order to reach his full potential as a person he must get rid of that fear. The overall message I think Boyd is trying to get across to his audience is that we shouldn’t let fear control our lives as it can have major consequences and can hold us back, stopping us from reaching our full ability. 

An example of where fear has had a negative influence on my decision making is completing NCEA assessed internals. When writing up the final response for my 6 text wide reading responses, I became stuck and for a while couldn’t go on. I think the main reason for this was because the deadline was very close and I was afraid that I wouldn’t finish the internal. I let this fear get a hold of me and “take control.” I told myself that I would not finish and that I wouldn’t be able to attend certain classes next year because of it and wallowed in this pit of self pity. This horrible mindset was all influenced by my fear of failure. I was able to overcome it by reassuring myself that my life didn’t depend on these credits and the fear was abolished allowing me to finish the report. 

Another idea that Boyd tries to get across to his audience is that outside influence from other people is able to affect how we perceive the world and can cause fear. 

So if I decide to waiver my chance
To be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine
And hold my own and drive?

These lyrics revolve heavily around the idea of being part of a collective. The metaphor of the hive and “water over wine,” referencing being a part of a religious group where your ideas and opinions are heavily influenced by others, suggests that Boyd has had a significant amount of outside influence in his life that has caused him fear, affecting his decision making. The idea Boyd is trying to get across through these lyrics is that, in order to become free of fear, it sometimes means freeing yourself of people who are holding you back. In this case, Boyd’s influencers (eg: religious figures, the media, etc) are bombarding him with opinions which make him fearful of doing or saying certain things. In order to free himself of this fear, he must free himself from these opinions and the people with them.

Media and religious influence are very common ideas in today’s society, especially in the youth who are growing to discover the world and are easily influenced by outside sources. When I use social media, I see images of people wearing certain brands of clothing, liking certain things and disregarding and shunning people and things that they don’t like. I’ve seen close friends making decisions about what clothes to wear, not based on actually disliking the clothes, but on what other people and media influencers think about them. Their fear of being judged and rejected by society alters their decision making. 

This song among other things has helped to teach me that is important to hold your own opinions and stand your ground when defending them. People try and influence the masses and steer them in a certain direction using the fear of rejection and isolation. This song has taught me that it is okay to stand out from the crowd and that letting other people influence me through fear is a sure fire way to stop me from reaching my full potential as an individual. 

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