A Music Snob’s Look at Limp Bizkit

Ah yes. Good ol’ Limp Bizkizzle, as we never, ever said in my formative years. To be honest there’s nothing that really needs to be said here as you already know the drill: They’re the rap/rock hybrid that aren’t Rage Against the Machine, Fred Durst is a giant douche, and you probably owned a copy of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water at some point. Because you had terrible taste in high-school and didn’t know any better.

Admit it. You at least liked Rollin'. You lying bastard
Admit it. You at least liked Rollin’. You lying bastard

 

 

But the question remains: Do they hold up? Or are they just a humble, terrible, oft-laughed at footnote in the archives of music history?

…Okay, nobody was really asking that, but I was listening to KoRn earlier today and got all nostalgic. Plus it’s been a while since blog posts, so in the name of science and bad music, lets keep on rollin’, babeeeh. You know what time it is.

THE ARTIST

You know them, or at least two of them. Much like Nickelback, Limp Bizkit is basically Fred Durst, Wes Borland, and a bunch of other guys nobody remembers. Much like Chad Kroger’s Hair, Fred lends his unique vocal stylings to… actually some not bad music. Wes Borland is arguably the talent in the band, he’s apparently an awesome guitarist when Durst isn’t squeaking over the top of his riffs.

THE MUSIC

It’s typical nu-metal affair. Think KoRn if they lightened up a little and had a DJ. In fact, outside of the vague “nu-metal” or “rap-metal” genre, they’re hard to describe. They’re not entirely nu-metal, because they’re a rap group. Not entirely rap, because they’re nu-metal, not entirely great because their schtick hasn’t aged terribly well, not entirely shit because some of their songs are actually halfway decent.

SONG-BY-SONG

Yeah we’re doing this again. Let’s keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

Nookie

If Archaeologists centuries from now wanted to study just what the fuck happened to music in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, their first place to look would be “Nookie”. This is Limp Bizkit at their finest. Durst is Angry, Wes does his guitar thing. They cheekily censor their own song with “yeah”. Good to know for all his peacocking, Fred Durst knows how to keep things radio friendly. This isn’t too terrible a song, but I can’t take it seriously after Richard Cheese covered it.

Counterfeit

Outside of “Faith”, I haven’t heard much of their 1997 effort Three Dollar Bill Y’all $. So this was a new-old experience for me and… y’know what? I dig it. I mean it’s still Limp Bizkit, and I’m 31 and grew out of chain-wallets, sideways baseball caps and hating my parents ages ago, but I’m finding it really, really hard to hate on this song.

…Oh wait, Fred does his “singing like he’s straining from taking a massive dump” thing. Nevermind.

Faith

Better known as “that Limp Bizkit song your mum likes”. It takes the poppy, organy Karma Chameleon sound-a-like which and make it their own. And boy, do they make it their own. Fred’s straining again for the first verse and proceeds to sing while giving birth for the rest. It’s almost got this punky vibe to it. It’s arguably the same sorta delivery as Marilyn Mansons “Tainted Love”. Novelty, but forgettable. Great upon the first few listens, grates after that.

Break Stuff

Ah yes. Limp Bizkit’s answer to “Last Resort”, another anthem for teens to hate their parents/girlfriend/best mate/dog/whatever. Like it or hate it, you’ll probably indeed find a reason to break stuff.

Take a Look Around

Okay, so what’s the story behind this? Were they meant to do a revised theme for Mission: Impossible? Or was the movie coming out and they lifted the main riff? Another song where Fred Durst hates everything. There’s an instrumental version floating around somewhere, go with that if you want to sneak into an warehouse full of terrorists. Otherwise the terrorists win.

Rollin’

Also known as “that other Limp Bizkit song your mum likes”. This is Fred Durst’s peacocking at it’s peacockingest and douchey rap-rock at it’s douchiest. There’s two versions of this song. Air Raid Vehicle (the one we all know and hate to admit we kinda have a soft spot for) and Urban Assault Vehicle (feat. DMX, Redman, Method Man). Both featured on Chocolate Starfish for some reason. The song’s not that much of a work of genius, guys. We don’t need a reprise.

Behind Blue Eyes

Look guys! Fred’s being emotional! Gather ’round and hear him be emotional and not rollin-rollin-roll-wait… Why is there a speak-and-spell breakdown? What’s it spelling? Is this a message to the fucking mothership? Is Fred finally being asked to be beamed up? What the fuck is going on?!

My Way

Okay, I have a confession to make:

I really like this song.

I’m not sorry, judge me if you must, but I dig it. All other songs from the Bizkit of Limp have really lost my interest over the years of finding more and arguably better music to gorge on, but this shit holds up for me.

THE MUSIC VIDEOS

Typical rap-rock fare. Most of them are more or less performance videos with added stuff for variety. Much like Nickelback, they sorta save Limp Bizkit for me. Standouts include Faith (which is basically a video diary of the Family Values tour) and Break Stuff, which is a star-studded affair. It appears, from the videos anyway, Fred’s not above having a laugh at his own expense. It’s just a shame these days everyone’s laughing at, not with.

IN SUMMARY

They’re not terribly offensive to listen to. They do what they do decently enough, but what they do hasn’t aged terribly well. Limp Bizkit was tolerable when Nu-Metal exploded and Linkin Park were still relevant. Not so much now, they’re not a fine wine from some far-off valley where the grapes are hand-picked by beautiful, naked women, they’re a forgotten, old, cheap beer that was left under a chair on a front porch after a house party many, many moons ago. Probably VB or something.

You’re either going to like them, hate them, or hate the fact that you like them. Again, like Nickelback, most of the vitriol seems to come from the fact that Fred Durst is a giant douche with a big mouth. Wes Borland seems to get away with some commendations with his musicianship (Rabea from UK band Dorje seems to like him, and he’s good at the thing with the squeedleys and meedleys).

It’s hard to deny the fact that Limp Bizkit is a not-so-humble footnote in the history of music. These guys -along with KoRn brought nu-metal to the mainstream which is either a good thing, or a terrible thing, depending on your tastes. Me? I don’t outright hate them, but beyond this article, I’m not about to relive the days of my youth again anytime soon. There’s only so much Nookie I can take before I have to take a breather…

…No, I meant the song, you fucks.

BEST DESCRIBED AS

“”Fred Durst is the sexiest man alive “- Fred Durst”

I DESCRIBE THEM AS

The CD you begrudgingly accept from your parents because they couldn’t tell the difference between these guys and KoRn.

Shut the Fuck Up and Make Some Art

So a friend of mine from ye olde stomping grounds visited me a few weeks ago. We were shooting the shit and eventually he quipped “you know, I’d really like to write a novel some day”. Naturally -me being someone who threw away any sense of responsibility and job loyalty to go to film school, immediately went into “MAKE ART!” mode and more or less said that he had no excuses not to. If anything, because everyone should be as miserable as I am now I’m not earning a steady paycheck and relying on people to be really generous with tips.

But honestly, If I can impart any advice to any readers of this blog? You have no damn excuses not to go out and do what you want to do.

I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m not saying you’ll be appreciated for it, hell, most people won’t even be into what you’re doing. Even worse, they might not even understand why you’re doing it in the first place. Who cares? Throw caution to the fucking wind and make some art. More importantly, make a whole lot of bad art and get better so you can make good art.

Got kids and a mortgage? Great, I know people in that same situation.

No time? Make some time.

No finances? We live in a Kickstarter world, boyo.

Can’t write/draw/make films/dance/play an instrument? Then go out there and fucking learn, find someone to help you, or work it out yourself. I -a not very smart man, made a webseries armed only with a camera, a DVD collection spanning into the hundreds, and faint memories of how the layout looked in the shooting script to “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America”.

No excuses. None. Ever.

A wise man with an impressive beard once said “Art can’t save the world, but it makes the world a lot easier to take”.

An equally-wise-if-not-wiser, with an equally-impressive-if-not-more-impressive-beard said “There’s no time for plan B. Fuck it.”

What risks are there? That you’re going to be putting your heart and soul into something that -sooner or later, people might enjoy? Could it be that you might find something you’re good at? OH NO! It’s not often I side with the #YoloSwag generation, but let’s face it, you really do only live once.

I mean, fuck. What’s the point of working in a shit job you don’t like, dealing with people you don’t like, in a shit little town you don’t like, if there’s no counterbalance? Why live in a “shoulda, coulda woulda” bubble filled with meaningless excuses? I’m not even talking to people who want to be creative, either. Shit, go plant a tree or something if that’s what you always wanted to do. Anything your heart desires is within your grasp. Whether you bother reaching out is up to you.