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Reappraised: Limp Bizkit

Nu metal is now old metal. That places Limp Bizkit somewhere at the forefront of the Bronze Age, smelting a heady mix of rock and rap in a clay pot of 'nookie' and backwards caps.

You’d be hard pushed to find a Limp Bizkit fan now – they’re largely buried under several layers of sediment in Leicester car parks – but for one brief summer they were the world’s biggest band.

Their album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (yes, that was the album title) hit the charts in the year 2000. With it, the band and its lead singer Fred Durst defied everyone and everything: the man, the law, conventional spellings, their parents. Mainly their parents. I can’t imagine Freddy Weddy doing household chores for 50p and a Mars Bar, which perfectly fits their fanbase of disaffected youths growing up through the tough period of the nineties, when we only had four TV channels and CFC gases.

The album is filled with diatribes on the inequalities of life and how everything is fucked up, which is a subject and a word they clearly want to push home throughout the record. The song ‘Hot Dog’ features the F-word 46 times, which is well shy of John Cooper Clark’s ‘Evidently Chickentown’ but is probably on par with an average episode of Kitchen Nightmares.

Honestly, during those long summers that I had to spend painting garden fences in Ronseal and mowing lawns, nothing resonated more with 13-year-old me than the idea that it’s a fucked up world. Now keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ that paintbrush.

The album is full of teenage anthems of adolescent frustration and harmless rebellion, like sticking two fingers up at a teacher underneath a table or bravely mumbling “shut up” to a despairing parent. This is encapsulated by ‘My Way’ and its chorus line, “It’s my way or the highway”. What recalcitrant youth hasn’t heard a parent scold them with that? Incidentally, if you can’t drive then both are lousy options.

It’s hard to define what Durst is so angry about, because against the backdrop of the idyll that was the year 2000 there wasn’t a great deal compared with the shit-showers of years that have followed. It’s this that meant it was always going to be impossible for Limp Bizkit to continue. Where is there to go after you reach level 10 fury over dial-up internet speeds or Opal Fruits changing to Starburst?

Now every tweenie fresh out of playschool can give you ten reasons why the world is screwed and it feels too imbecilic to just stick the middle finger up at it with a distorted guitar. In Limp Bizkit’s defence, it’s the ideal music for punching a pillow because your parents won’t buy you a PlayStation 2 or a Nokia 3310, but doesn’t hit the mark if you’re vexed that house prices are so high that you’re stuck living with your parents in your forties and you're still being asked to paint fences.

Everything’s gone to shit - which a chocolate starfish would know all about, but sadly Fred Durst never truly did.

Stan’s top recommendations:

  • My Way
  • Take A Look Around
  • Rollin’

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