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An underrated band.
on 2 November 2007
Alongside KoRn, Limp Bizkit deserve either the credit or the blame for starting the nu-metal craze that dominated music in the late nineties and early noughties. Blending rap and metal in a much more clumsy way than KoRn did, they've gone multi-platinum many times and are mostly remembered for two things: Fred Durst and that album about the Hot Dogs.
But going on Greatest Hitz, Limp Bizkit weren't nearly as bad as people imply. Fred Durst, admittedly, is probably one of the worst frontmen of all time. If you can't ignore that, then you need to ignore this record and all of their other ones. However if you can get past his awful lyrics - although in the early days (and the latter days I'll get to later) he wasn't nearly as annoying as he now is - then there's a great deal of good stuff on Greatest Hitz, an album that for the most part is of a high standard.
It'd be easy to say the early material is the best, or that they have always been terrible, but that's simply not the case. There are three phases of Limp Bizkit which deserve separate analysis. The first phase is the early one, the first two albums - they contained what any fan would describe their best songs. The band behind Durst really shine, particularly the woefully underrated Wes Borland, backing their frontman with metal, rap beats, funky basslines, massive riffs and occasionally even near-psychedelic jams on the likes of 'Nookie' and 'Re-Arranged.' 'Break Stuff' isn't as good, a song that's great when you're a teenager but as soon as you get over that angst it's awful, while the cover of George Michael's 'Faith' is a love-it-or-hate-it song. This writer chooses to love it.
The second phase consists of what I'd refer to as the 'lost years,' starting with third album Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavoured Water. An album ever bit as bad as its name implies, it was impossible to listen to all the way through. But its name, notoriety and 'Rollin' bely the couple of great songs it produced, namely 'My Way' and the underrated 'Boiler,' the latter of which saw little airplay due to its video. Fourth album Results May Vary was even worse, and barely saw the light of day. 'Eat You Alive' has a great riff - although the quiet middle section is Bizkit-by-numbers - but 'Behind Blue Eyes' is simply terrible, just like the rest of its home album. Left over from those sessions are a handful of spare tracks, like the decent 'Lean On Me' and the surprisingly convincing amalgamated cover of 'Home Sweet Home/Bittersweet Symphony'.
However, the third phase finds a new beginning to Limp Bizkit. Wes Borland quit after Chocolate Starfish, replaced by Mike Smith (formerly of Snot), who recorded Results May Vary. After this failed to gel, Borland - to the surprise of just about everyone - returned. Durst stopped gobbling up publicity. And holed up in a studio, with no promotion or singles, they created The Unquestionable Truth (Part One). Based on 'The Truth,' the only song from it that is included on this album, Limp Bizkit had, before Borland once again quit, entered a new phase of vitality where their mouth is no longer where their money is and Borland was finally able to stretch out.
All in all, Greatest Hitz shows that Limp Bizkit were never quite as bad as people say they were - although they were often awful. However, until Unquestionable Truth (Part Two), this is really all the Bizkit you'll ever need.