The public sure is fickle. One minute, you’re a star, selling millions of albums and having your videos shown on MTV every five minutes. And then in a flash, it’s all gone, you’re through. Just ask Vanilla Ice, or more recently, Limp Bizkit. Just five short years ago, Fred Durst and company was the most popular band in the world, and now they’re a joke. Writing a positive review for Limp Bizkit’s “Greatest Hitz,” (2005) I have a sense of what it must have felt like to have been Jonnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and Robert Shapiro when they had to defend O.J. Simpson.
It’s very understandable why people hate Limp Bizkit. The lists of offensives committed by the band are long. Marilyn Manson summed it up best and hit the nail on the head when he said “”Limp Bizkit is a band made up of illiterate apes that beat your ass in high school for being a ‘fag’ now sell you tuneless testosterone anthems of misogyny and pretend to be outsiders…”
I find the whole Nu-Metal phenomenon of the late 90s-early 00s to be intriguing. The music sounded like the inside of a meat-grinder; ninety-percent of it sounded the same, it was pure testosterone without any real sense of beauty or melody. So why was “Nu-Metal” so popular? What accounts for the appeal of Limp Bizkit? Is the (brief) success of Limp Bizkit and the Nu-Metal genre proof the public will buy whatever is rammed down its throat? Or did the success of Limp Bizkit and the Nu-Metal genre serve as a testament to the phenomenon of “the angry white man?” Or both?
Even though trends come and go, the downfall of the Bizkit is really due to the fact that they became overexposed and that their music became increasingly worse with each album.
Still, I’ve always had a soft-spot for Limp Bizkit. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they were what all the kids listened to back in the early `00s when I went off to school. When I look back at Fred Durst and company, I will forever reflect on my misspent youth. I guess for a lot of people, now in their mid-to-late 20s, this new “Greatest Hitz” will take the listener back to an innocent, youthful time in their lives.
As spotty as Limp Bizkit’s catalogue was, and as stupid and horrible as Fred is, they did have some good songs. It was not great music, by any means, but it was good, frat-boy rock. One can still rock out to “Nookie” and “Breakstuff,” as dumb as those songs are. Limp Bizkit has a talented guitar player in Wes Borland, who churned out some good, infectious, catchy riffs. While this music hasn’t really stood-up well and sounds dated already, “Greatest Hitz” is a good collection that offers the band and the genre’s best work. If you are now, like me, a late twenty-something and want to revisit the late 90s, “Greatest Hitz” will be all you could ever want, and more.