Aug 15

LIMP BIZKIT – “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)”

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#889, 27th January 2001

Bizkit “Take my advice,” says Fred Durst on “My Generation”, “you don’t want to step into a big pile of shit.” Wise words. But shit comes in many forms. The spoor of Durst, the self-styled chocolate starfish, the anus, is compacted nuggets of resentment, pinched out rabbit-style in single form, delivered with a constipated grunt or haemorrhoidal yelp. Wes Borland, in skullpaint and bodystocking a guitar-FX Eno to Durst’s reverse Ferry, takes a contrasting approach, conjuring torrents of colonic sludge, shitrush splatter effects and bowl-cracking divebombs. In the parade of number ones, between a career-building film star and a girl group’s last-chance classicism, “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” is more than a surprise, it’s a dirty protest. Back up, tell me what you’re gonna do now! Grit my teeth, reach for the imodium.

They’re an easy target. How bad is it really? “Rollin’” is one of the worse Limp Bizkit singles, because it moves away from their standard M.O. of reflexive bitterness, anger at a world that isn’t giving them what they want. They were good, I grant them, at packaging that up into noisy, hooky, usefully unspecific grievance bombs. “Nookie” – if ever a word signalled how old an intended audience was, that’s the one – is as targeted as they get. Otherwise they’re sticking up a finger to nothing, forever on the edge of a violent tantrum whose stakes we never know. Is that what being a 14 year old boy feels like? Sometimes. Often enough to win them an audience. Early adolescence – Durst was 29, but this doesn’t feel like grown-ups’ music to me – often means being promised a world and told, by your parents, your peers, your body, “not quite yet”. There will always be a market for catharsis: Limp Bizkit was one iteration. And it wasn’t just boys who responded – nu-metal in general had a mixed audience it never got credit for and barely respected, enough that fellow travellers Linkin Park could be derided as a “boy band”.

Durst strikes me as a goon though, a jock on the make, his self-pity dredged from nowhere deeper than his own reserves of entitled impatience. “Rollin’” finds Limp Bizkit in unusual, celebratory mode, on top of the world, not finding sullen fault with it. This is a grisly development: it means that on the verses Durst drops his low growl and raps in a higher voice, hatefully quavering and quacking. It’s an infuriating sound, and Borland’s music – an aggressive, inventive soup of riffs and lunges – deserves a lot better. But any music would. A gollumish peak arrives when he chides the haters: “you need some better beats and, uh, better rhymes”. It’s all in that “uh”, a condescending little chuckle from a man whose rhymes would shame a Five single. Hearing it, though Fred Durst is older than I am, the generation gap yawns in front of me; I become a retired Colonel spluttering over his port. The gall of the man! The effrontery!

It’s a ridiculous reaction, just what Fred would have wanted – he picked the name of the band to actively repel the curious, and paid a radio station to play their debut single a nerve-straining fifty times in a row. Trolling, button-pushing, and us-v-them posturing were apt games for a man whose records were such a sulky churn. Durst played them remorselessly, even after the wretched depths of Woodstock ‘99, when his band became the soundtrack for a weekend of searing heat, price-gouging, arson and ultimately rape. Were Bizkit to blame? No – start with the negligent organisers. But Durst’s asinine on-stage commentary – “Don’t let anybody get hurt. But I don’t think you should mellow out.” – exposed the limits of catharsis, “letting out the energy”, as he put it. Energy is cool and all, unless you’re in its way.

No shit stuck to Durst, or at least the people whose dollars mattered didn’t think he was a prick, even if the matter was settled for anyone else. The band carried on as before, spun the notoriety into “Rollin’” and “My Generation”, and the Chocolate Starfish And The Hot-Dog Flavoured Water album, their sales peak. “Rollin’” was a brag, a cry of triumph, for the ladies and the fellas and the people who don’t give a fuck. In Bizkitland, not giving a fuck was the highest known virtue. And yes, part of me wants not to give a fuck, to meet “Rollin’” on its own terms. Someone once played it at Club Popular – the trollish esprit du Durst manifest in the DJ booth. It was horrific, and hilarious, and the best way to hear it, as Borland’s propulsive hippo-rock drowned out Fred’s mewling.

So you can find contexts where “Rollin’” works, where its dump of noise and half-competent rapping is a vulgar virtue. Maybe the number ones list is one of those. But mostly it’s a painful chore, and that’s squarely because of the very dreadful Fred Durst. He’s the law of unintended consequences made flesh, the point where a bunch of 1990s ideas – House of Pain’s frat-hop, Rage Against The Machine’s spluttered fury, Kurt Cobain’s self-loathing, Black Francis’ screams and yelps, Beavis and Butthead’s wit – are driven first to their grim conclusion, then right over a cliff.



  1. 1
    Samantha C on 10 Aug 2015 #

    I LOVE this record, it is absolutely craptastic. Listen to it as a duet between Scrappy Doo and the big dog out of Tom And Jerry. I have never heard anything else by this group and I don’t want to.

  2. 2
    JLucas on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Even as a teenager myself, I could for the life of me understand how anyone took Fred Durst remotely seriously.

    Irredeemably dreadful. Is this the only Nu-Metal #1?* It was never really my genre but I wouldn’t have begrudged the far superior Linkin Park a chart topper. Most of the other stuff – Puddle of Mudd, Papa Roach etc – was truly abysmal however.

    *I can think of one forthcoming chart topper you could make an argument for, but I see that as more of a goth-pop Jim Steinman tribute with a nu-metal guest rap. The lines are blurry…

  3. 3
    Brendan F on 10 Aug 2015 #

    The most inexplicable entry in 1,001 Albums to Listen to Before You Die – needless to say I won’t be taking up their recommendation

  4. 4
    JLucas on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Let’s look at some nicer records, shall we?

    Rollin’ was the first two-weeker of 2001. The first week was relatively quiet with the next-highest new entry a chart debut and career peak of #6 for the much hyped Spooks with ‘Things I’ve Seen’ – a fantastic record that sadly didn’t really lead to much. They had a second hit with the only slightly less good Karma Hotel, then dropped off the face of the earth.

    In at #7 an already defunct All Saints, whose personal relationships fell apart spectacularly around the release of their second studio album, to such an extent that this video had to be shot to accomodate the fact that the Appleton sisters refused to be in the same room as Mel Blatt and Shaznay Lewis. Unlike the sublime Orbit-produced preceding singles, this is the handiwork of the group’s frequent collaborator Karl ‘K-Gee’ Gordon, and like most of his productions for the group it’s dated terribly.

    #9 a third consecutive top ten hit for P!nk, still a stranger to this blog but [SPOILER ALERT} not for long. Her first album saw her marketed as a sort of female Eminem, which was rather misleading. It sold pretty well, but a drastic image change for album #2 would really take her to the stratosphere.

    #11 Falling by Boom, an attempt to replicate the Steps/S Club formula just a couple of years too late. This was hyped to the high heavens in the pop mags of the time, but when it missed the top ten they vanished pretty much instantly.

    #14 something called Spaced Invader by Hatiras ft. Slarta John, a rare chart entry from this period I have absolutely no memory of whatsoever. I’m going to assume it was a dance song.

    #16 ATB ft. York – Fields of Love. Again, no recognition factor here, though both acts had previously scored much bigger hits.

    #24 Linkin Park, making their chart debut with One Step Closer. Would that the positions for this and Rollin’ could have been reversed…

    #28 Terrorvision, a mid-90s mid-chart staple making their final top 40 appearence, and the only one following their commercial apex ‘Tequila’.

    #29 Pistol Whip by Joshua Ryan. Again, no clue.

    #33 Madison Avenue’s third and final top 40 hit. I remember hearing a remix of this song out all the time, far more than their second hit ‘Who The Hell Are You?’, but obviously this wasn’t reflected in the chart position.

    Finally another club song at #34 but one I know well, a celebrated remix of Everything But The Girl’s ‘Wrong’ entitled Tracey In My Room. As you may perhaps have gathered, club music isn’t really my strong point but I really like this one – which I was introduced to by its inclusion on their Greatest Hits. Last appearance by them in the top 40 too, sadly.

  5. 5
    Ronnie on 10 Aug 2015 #

    > I LOVE this record, it is absolutely craptastic.

    I expect this will be a common sentiment in the comments. As far as ironic camp goes, nu-metal only has one better and that’s Papa Roach’s “Last Resort” (and perhaps “One Step Closer,” Linkin Park’s first and worst single).

    I mean, this song, it just has so much energy, and it’s so blind to its own badness. If it is noticeably less enjoyable than other Limp Bizkit singles, it’s because it isn’t as unintentionally revealing as Durst’s more interesting songs like “My Way” or “Nookie.”

  6. 6
    JLucas on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Week two…

    Just missing out on a second #1 is Usher with the energetic Pop Ya Collar. I remember him promoting this heavily, and it did better in the UK than in his homeland, although his next single ‘U Remind Me’ was massive everywhere and really elevated him from borderline one-hit wonder to global superstar status.

    #3 Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg with The Next Episode. A chart peak for Dre as a lead artist, although I feel like ‘Still D.R.E’ and ‘Forgot About D.R.E’ are better remembered.

    #6 Played a Live (Bongo Song) by Safri Duo, one of the more distinctive dance hits of the year, and cleverly sampled (possibly unofficially) by Steps at the end of the year to give their reworking of Diana Ross’ Chain Reaction a contemporary sheen.

    #7 was the final chart appearance for Martine McCutcheon, with a serviceable but ultimately pointless run through Donna Summer’s ‘On The Radio’ – out-peaking the original by a whole 24 places. McCutcheon’s pop career burned out rather quickly, and a commercially disastrous album of musical theatre standards in 2002 – which yielded no chart singles – was her only subsequent recorded output.

    #9 Dario G with a wispy cover of The Cranberries ‘Dreams’. Perfectly serviceable, but not a patch on the original, or indeed Sunchyme.

    #11 Anastacia, staving off the threat of one-hit wonderdom that I was personally convinced she was doomed for with the bluesy ‘Not That Kind’. This sounds almost credible now, and it’s interesting that she didn’t really return to this style, instead carving out a lucrative career honking her way through eurofried pop-rock and light disco anthems.

    #12 Genius Cru with Boom Selection, the obligatory modest garage hit that we’ll see a version of in most weeks of 2001 and then never again, ever.

    #14 The inevitable disappointing second Baha Men single.

    #15 Boys by B.O.N. What an absolute treat this is. Dirty German pop that inexplicably made a mark in the UK. The flesh-heavy video stirred up some troubling feelings in my adolescent loins at the time.

    #19 Blood is Pumpin’ by Voodoo and Serano. Pass, though I recognise the name, I think they did a lot of remixes of pop songs at the time.

    #23 All I Do by Cleptomaniacs featuring Brian Chambers. I do actually remember this one, I thought it was a much bigger hit than this.

    #24 Oh No by Mos Def, Nate Dog and Pharoahe Monch, three critically adored rappers who never really became big chart stars in the UK, though Nate Dog appeared on a number of big hits for other artists – most notably the iconic ‘Regulate’ with Warren G and the slightly less iconic ’21 Questions’ by 50 Cent.

    And that’s the lot.

  7. 7
    lonepilgrim on 10 Aug 2015 #

    the video features the band on top of the Twin Towers – I have a vague memory of TOTP cutting to a live/mimed performance by the band from the same location but maybe its the video I’m thinking of. Slightly disturbing to see them in this context.
    FD fails to appear either cool or tough with his “Alright…..pardner. / Keep on rollin’ baby / You know what time it is” One phrase might work; all three suggest a man without a clue.
    The music itself is pretty compelling and the chorus memorable – but the singing sounds like an old man trying and failing to get down with the kids. Oh wait…

  8. 8
    Doctor Casino on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Oof! This isn’t their best number by a long shot, but it’s maybe their most energetic, and thanks almost entirely to Borland, sonically much more interesting than basically anything else on the Modern Rock chart at this date. Similarly incompetent grandpa-tries-to-rap rappers have fared better on Popular (if maybe with little quite so shameless as the “…right here!” tags padding out the rhymes), so I have to follow the review and agree that the big big weakness here is in Durst’s persona: mouth-breathing troll, shit-stirrer who intends nothing more than to rile you up and then coolly declare “hey man, I’m just saying! jeez, chill out” (while stroking the – inevitable – goatee).

    Obviously not a frontman for the ages, but marking this so low seems to give little room for their [i]worse[/i] songs, like the brooding and interminable “Re-Arranged,” or Durst’s portentous, heavily-played duet with the guy from Staind. At least this has a little bit of toe-tapping pep, and a chorus easily adaptable to the Hokey-Pokey.

  9. 9
    23 Daves on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Just watched the video for “Rollin'” for the first time in well over a decade (and certainly the first time I’ve actually opted to watch it). I presume it’s not supposed to be parodying anything else or actually supposed to be funny, but I’ve had something of a chuckle. Obviously Durst’s conversation to camera at the start of the video is supposed to be amusing, but I can’t quite tell if you’re supposed to wish you were him in such a marvellous situation, or the whole thing is deliberately cartoonish and everyone involved knows they’re being ridiculous. But the latter credits Durst with a self-awareness I doubt he actually has.

    The rest? A mix ‘n’ match mess of metal, hip hop and douchebaggery, the noise of a pie chart having a technicolour vomit. Durst actually isn’t that convincing as a jock, playing it like the kid on the fringes of the circle who has been given the benefit of the doubt and might be found out any minute.

    And… he actually slightly reminds me of he whose name must not be uttered for fear of gaining the wrath of the internet, Gary Glitter. Faintly naff, slightly too old and not quite right for his role, chanting a lot of rebellious slogans and making a sledgehammer racket. My older brothers were both heavily into Glitter as kids, and my parents were repulsed. “He’s awful! He’s ridiculous! He’s hilarious! How can you like this?!” And that’s how I felt about Durst in his time, that he was a slightly silly chancer with a couple of ideas he’d ripped off and misunderstood from other sources, living out his gang-leader fantasies. Trouble is, Bizkit were bloody everywhere for a little while, and the joke wore thin very fast, leading eventually to irritation (and my comparison ignores the fact that Glitter, to me at least, seemed more in command of a stage than Durst has ever had a hope of being).

    It’s safe to say that I never understood nu-metal. Some of my older metal-loving friends were delighted because its popularity meant that a lot of the rock clubs in London in the early noughties began to thrive again after a number of depleted years. But of course, none of them actually listened to or liked Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, or even Linkin Park, they were just quite happy to reap the benefits of metal’s increased exposure for that period. It cheered them up to see lots of younger people around. Seems like too high a price to pay to my ears.

  10. 10
    Chelovek na lune on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Superb review of a fairly dreadful record. Adolescent in a puerile, frat-boy, privileged way (as the video reference to a valet at the start does nothing to deny.)

    Just yuk. Maybe the sole good thing I can say about this is that it helps me appreciate the (astoundingly unbunnied, given how ubiquitious they eventually became) Red Hot Chili Peppers a bit more than they probably deserve: they were even older than Limp Bizkit, although not very much less adolescent most of the time, and did this broad funk-metal-watered-down sort of thing a hell of a lot better than this lot (having admittedly been at it for donkeys years already – oh socks on cocks in the 80s, how did Limp Bizkit fail to copy this too?)

    And as for all the artists with new entries this fortnight – it’s a crying shame we don’t get to discuss Anastasia at any point. At her best, she was fantastic, forthright and fearsome.

    A very generous (2)

  11. 11
    thefatgit on 10 Aug 2015 #

    I experienced nu-metal through my daughter’s shifting tastes. I must admit, some of it wasn’t entirely bad. System Of A Down, Papa Roach, Linkin Park and Korn were enjoyable on their own terms. Limp Bizkit seemed a little too…cartoonish, shall we say to be taken seriously. Ah, but should nu-metal be taken seriously at all? Perhaps that’s a little too broad a swipe. The target here is Durst, who is entirely deserving of the kind of ire directed at (insert G.O.P. Presidential candidate here).

    If I was pressed, I’d probably cite “Take A Look Around”, their Mission: Impossible II tie-in as their most tolerable song. Stuff like “Rollin’…” and “Nookie” are utter bobbins. However, the only redeeming factor is Wes Borland, who by being entirely his own invention, is a glimmer of brightness in the fug of your average frat-house kegger. For that alone, I’ll say (3).

  12. 12
    katstevens on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Great fun to do at karaoke: a song you literally cannot make any worse by drunkenly singing it yourself. I don’t *think* it was me that played this at Club Popular but if so I regret nothing.

  13. 13
    mapman132 on 10 Aug 2015 #

    I never hated Limp Bizkit as much as some people, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan either. This is their worst single of the ones I’ve bothered to listen to (with the possible exception of “Nookie”), and seeing it atop the UK chart for not just one but two weeks was baffling. Slow sales weeks? Curiously it was also their biggest US hit at a whopping peak of #65. Despite two #1 albums I guess they didn’t get much airplay away from modern rock stations…so no US Top 40 appearances. Meh.

    I never saw the video until yesterday – didn’t even realize the WTC was so prominently featured.

  14. 14
    Seb Patrick on 10 Aug 2015 #

    On every Limp Bizkit record I hear, I can only imagine Wes Borland rolling his eyes in a Gromit-esque fashion at the thundering arsehattery of the man yelping in front of him. I can’t actually fathom how the two of them ever ended up in the same band in the first place.

    As this was my just-before-university period, I knew far too many people who liked LB at the time, although to be fair to them, even most of them had grown weary of them by the time of this album and single. “Last Resort” is probably a more hilariously bad track (with its even more hilariously bad “But moo-oooom, I don’t want to clean my room!” video), but at least there was a vague sense of earnestness to it. Linkin Park were pretty unbearable sonically but again, didn’t quite have the absolute twat factor of Durst. Puddle of Mudd were probably the only ones who were even worse than LB.

    Someone mentioned System of a Down above, too: always a bit unfairly lumped in with the nu-metal lot by virtue of putting their most commercial-sounding album out in 2001 (and having a lead single from it that played on MTV2 on a constant loop), but they really were pretty bloody great in their early days, and were unfortunate that all of this stuff kicked off just as they were getting big themselves.

    Oh, and as I understand it, Limp Bizkit basically only existed because Fred Durst was the tattoo artist of yer man from Korn, and badgered him to help get his records out there. Imagine being responsible for inflicting both Korn *and* Limp Bizkit on the world.

  15. 15
    katstevens on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Don’t drag Korn into this Seb! They are the nu-metal ABBA to LB’s Brotherhood of Man.

  16. 16
    flahr on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Maybe Fred Durst should start a new group called Absolute Twat Factor.

    I can imagine this being more tolerable if, as Tom aludes, it was low metal growl all the way through; as it is this isn’t even obnoxious, it’s just bad. I like the sleeve though.

  17. 17
    Tom on 10 Aug 2015 #

    I should point out that this is one of those reviews that marked itself. When you’ve built your intro around scatological metaphors the only way to go is a number two.

    (Anything between 2 and 4 seems a fair reflection of Wes Borland’s efforts to make this interesting. I have a good deal of sympathy with the so-bad-its-good line too but if my marks started taking that into account the barbarians would soon be at the gate…)

  18. 18
    lmm on 10 Aug 2015 #

    Wow, I’m always surprised by what brings out the hate here. I knew there was a Nickelback-style memetic hatred of Durst but I didn’t think people meant it (then again all the Woodstock ‘99 stuff was before my time).

    Musically this was fun at the time and it’s more fun now (partly that I’m less bothered by the lack of melody). Back up, back up, tell me what you gonna do now. I’m not going to claim it’s a work of genius (unlike Linkin Park), but it’s everything the charts are about.

  19. 19
    Andrew Farrell on 11 Aug 2015 #

    The sleeve is definitely “one of these things isn’t like the others”.

    I don’t know that I like like this, but I definitely prefer it to anything else by them – compared to Take A Look Around’s “I know why you want to hate me, because hate is all the world has ever seen lately”, I greatly prefer happy Fred to sad or angry Fred. Though I’d prefer neither, and just to be left with that sad parping noise on the track that haunts me (some kind of synth?).

  20. 20
    Andrew Farrell on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Since we will fortunately never see him again, a note on Fred Durst’s nadir. There is a saying that “a teaspoon of fine wine in a barrel of sewage is a barrel of sewage – a teaspoon of sewage in a barrel of fine wine is a barrel of sewage – such is entropy”. Later in 2001, Fred was that teaspoon of sewage in the Artists Against Aids’s cover of a Marvin Gaye classic: “Somebody tell me What’s Going On? / We’ve got human beings using humans for a bomb”.

    Fortunately the Dupri R&B version is entirely missing that, and frankly something of a delight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_hy8ngsq44

  21. 21
    Andrew Farrell on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Haha pedantry of the highest order: it’s “You better get some better beats and, uh, get some better rhymes” and I am really rather fond of it as a (dismissive, dickish) line.

  22. 22
    Andrew Farrell on 11 Aug 2015 #

    This is also available as Rollin(Urban Assault Vehicle) – zero Borland but extra Swizz Beats, DMX, Method Man, and Redman, from the soundtrack to the Fast & the Furious. The most you can say about it is that Fred Durst sounds genuinely geeked to be sharing a track with them.

  23. 23
    Tom on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Weirdly enough, I am fond of Durst’s mind-boggling contribution to What’s Goin’ On in the same way you’re fond of the better beats line. WE GOT HUMANS USING HUMANS FOR BOMBS! Not that this is the right place for the 9/11 conversation quite yet, but Durst’s mouth-flapping shock at least felt like an honest response. (Even though, of course, it wasn’t one at all – recorded before the event!)

  24. 24
    Doctor Casino on 11 Aug 2015 #

    My favorite thing about them is how [i]un[/i]-shocking their music is. Always thought it was hilarious that the big payoff was decades-old slang, “my way or the highway!” as if Fred’s irritated teen persona had suddenly flipped over and suddenly started quoting Dad laying down the law. My roommate and I kept hoping they would keep trying to mine dated slang, to climax in “Let’s Blow This (Popsicle Stand),” wherein “Let’s blow this” would be slowly intoned over spooky noodling, followed by Fred squeaking out “LET’S BLOW THIS POPSICLE STAND!” as the chorus kicked into gear. Sigh….

  25. 25
    Tom on 11 Aug 2015 #

    He’s a bit of a Bill Haley figure in a way – definitely my reaction to him at the time was “oh come on, who are you trying to kid?” but the kids (some proportion of the kids) seemed to love him. Though I’m slightly wary of the straw man figure of the Teenage Boy Who Takes Fred Durst Seriously – even though I use him a little in the review, I’m a bit unsure he ever actually existed.

  26. 26
    Doctor Casino on 11 Aug 2015 #

    He very definitely existed! I knew a guy that seriously repped for Durst, even met him once after a show (and reported positively that he was very chill and friendly with the fans).

  27. 27
    Doctor Casino on 11 Aug 2015 #

    (I was also a teenager who liked their singles enough to still try and defend them at 33. Was never remotely tempted to buy the album though!)

    I also note incidentally that the UK seems (based just on the charts) to have been largely spared the popularity of Kid Rock, who (before the full emergence of Staind, Linkin Park, et al) was probably the main competitor, besides Korn, for the Bizkit demographic. Again in the spirit of imagining things far worse than “Rollin'” I have to wonder how “Bawitdaba” – whose video features a pointless cameo from Mr. Durst! – “Cowboy,” or “American Bad-Ass” would fare here.

  28. 28
    weej on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I had only previously heard this as a ten-second clip of the chorus used as entrance music for The Undertaker in his brief “American bad-ass” biker incarnation. Though I thought the change of clothes didn’t work, the music seemed, well, ok. It’s only on hearing the rest of the track for the first time today that I can understand why people hated it.

    Nu Metal (along with skateboarding, tattoos, piercings and hating pop music) seemed like a huge shift at the time. When I started university in 1998 it wasn’t even a thing, but with this new student intake in 2000 it seemed like the only thing going. Limp Bizkit seemed to have more in the way of pop aspirations than most of their contemporaries, and Nookie was ok – though obviously this is entirely down to Wes Borland and DJ Lethal. Fred Durst looked and acted like a tool at all times, but this didn’t seem particularly notable. The fact that he was Senior Vice President of A&R at Interscope, that was something else.

  29. 29
    mapman132 on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Chart side note: While Limp Bizkit was selling lots of records and creating a large hatedom without ever having an official US Top 40 hit, the similar sounding nu metal group Crazy Town managed a US #1 with their first chart entry “Butterfly” and then never appeared on the Hot 100 again. Once again Billboard works in mysterious ways….

  30. 30
    Ronnie on 11 Aug 2015 #

    > even though I use him a little in the review, I’m a bit unsure he ever actually existed.

    Seconding Doctor Casino’s confirmation: He was very, very real.

  31. 31
    Andrew Farrell on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #23 and yet, despite this co-incidence, no-one has asked “what did Fred Durst know?”

    Ever. On any subject.

  32. 32
    Ronnie on 11 Aug 2015 #

    While I have no love for Durst, I remember a heartbreaking quote from him around this era, the height of their fame — how he expected fame to cure all his problems but every day he woke up fatter, balder and more beset by anxiety.

    Their cover of “Behind Blue Eyes” makes perfect sense in retrospect.

  33. 33
    AMZ1981 on 11 Aug 2015 #

    In his piece on Candle In The Wind 97 Tom made the point that our first question with every number one should be, `why this?`. And in the case of Rollin’ I’m struggling to answer that question. The new year can be the chart silly season but Rollin’ was on an already available album and the previous single had only got to number fifteen. I can only assume that it picked up a following in clubs but the same could have been true of a lot of other tracks. It’s already been noted that Rollin’ was a two weeker and held on with only a modestly decreased sale.

    Fast forward to 2015 and I still here this one in my local rock club now so it has endured. I’d rather have Fred Durst than Jennifer Lopez any day of the week, although I find Rollin’ quite hard to defend. It’s worth noting that in America Limp Bizkit had no significant hit single; this got to number 65 and was their biggest hit although their albums did much better.

    Looking back now it seems that at the turn of the century rock music split into two categories; nu metal and pop punk. A bit like science fiction and fantasy in bookshops, they’re not quite the same thing but tend to get lumped in together and many fans enjoy both. Nu metal was the cartoonish descendant of thrash metal and was a short lived genre although it arguably evolved into what we now call screamcore. As for pop punk it had already scored a near miss with All The Small Things and would survive being parodied in a record that in most normal circumstances (a phrase I’ll be using a lot over the next few entries just to warn you) we would be discussing two entries along. Fast forward a few years and American Idiot by Green Day would prove one of the most influential rock albums of the early 2000s. I can only think of two bunnies (both interestingly somewhere between nu metal and pop punk) one in 2003 and one in 2006.

    To further muddy the waters, in this country the post Britpop crowd turned their nose up at nu metal/ pop punk and chose to laud the likes of Keane and Starsailor (music for bedwetters as Alan McGee once said with a certain amount of justification). And yet with hindsight there were some punkier bands in the Britpop vanguard (Placebo, Skunk Anansie, Ash – whose commercial peak was still to come) and these arguably fed into the nu metal/ pop punk scene.

    I’ve laboured this because for many kids in 2015 the highlight of their summer holiday is to camp in a field and watch pop punk/ rap metal bands play. Harrogate’s free nightclub has an upstairs room that plays rock music, it’s always packed out and all too often I feel like a dirty old man in there. In garages all around the country groups of teenage boys can be found with guitars making an almighty racket. Guitar based music still seems a big thing.

    And yet the charts tell a different story, albeit with the odd exception (All Time Low proved to have a big enough fanbase to send their latest album to number one this year, even if it dropped out of the top twenty the following week). Mulling over it, I think it might be because the scene is very fragmented; I struggle to keep up with all the bands that are out there; so maybe a split fanbase means that despite a healthy scene no one band hits big.

  34. 34
    Tom on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #33 I think this is a very interesting question – pop-punk (and its harder or gothier variants) is still a big sound, but it’s not even a case of not getting to #1, the bands can’t even break the Top 40. I suspect this is an artefact of a chart system that tracks sales, and Spotify, but not YouTube, but you’re right that fragmentation is probably an issue too.

  35. 35
    AMZ1981 on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #34 also rock music remains very much an album genre and albums are cheaper now than they were a generation ago. If the Itunes revolution had never happened I think we’d still have the culture of first singles from albums scoring highly with a string of diminishing returns to follow (this has of course hit the old guard as well, not just the new wave).

    Of course this was not apparent during the fortnight when Rollin’ ruled the roost so it will be interesting to look closely at what bubbles under as the decade goes on.

  36. 36
    23 Daves on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I’ve just had a quick skim through the Limp Bizkit Wikipedia discography page to see if my memory of the band’s rapid fall from popularity is accurate, and it seems to be (bearing in mind the caveat made in comment #33 about scene fragmentation). My memory was that the last reasonable bit of airplay and exposure they got was their cover of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” in 2003, which is not only accurate, but devastatingly so – after that point, they never scored another UK Top 75 entry. From number one to nowhere in a few years.

    I also note that “Rollin'” picked up a BPI Gold disc for sales of 400,000+, which takes it far beyond being a winter fanbase-orientated number one. It clearly had legs (though some of those sales may have been nostalgic ones picked up through iTunes in the years hence, but I’d be surprised if that totals up to much).

    I always feel as if Nu-metal and punk-pop were the first stirrings of a huge generation gap I’d experienced, things I was too old for and not supposed to get, which was probably a subconscious factor in me finding them infuriating then but being able to brush them aside now. Nobody enjoys it the first time they’re made to feel old. I’ve met a few fans of Korn or Green Day who are my age, but never anyone who would admit to ever having owned a Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, or Slipknot LP. I’m sure they exist, I’ve just never met them, and I have friends with very broad music tastes. At the time, the overwhelming attitude among my peers was “Who is buying this sh*t?”.

  37. 37
    Jonathan on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I feel better about this now than I did as a teenager — Limp Bizkit was my little brother’s music, and I found them accordingly noxious and childish. (My brother also liked Korn and Eminem, through which he found Ice Cube and Dr Dre; there was much more crossover among this crowd at the time than it’s comfortable to remember, and Eminem particularly seems in some ways to endure today as an artefact of the cultural space occupied then by nu-metal rather than as someone connected to what’s happening in hip-hop.) Listening to it today though, I can’t find that visceral disgust: Borland’s guitar is as quantized as a Cheiron production, which I mean as a positive, and Fred Durst is an almost-marvellous absurdity: he begins by rhyming “right here” with “right here” before telling us, “uh,” we should get some better rhymes. “Move in, move out” and “rollin’ rollin’ rollin'” are hooks too dumb to shout along to and too catchy not to. And yet, listening back to it, by the two-thirds mark, I’m worn out and I want Fred to stop yapping at me. When we did one of their quickly forgotten comeback singles at the Jukebox (http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=7629) , Rebecca Gowns linked us to this Reddit AMA Durst did, and it’s worth reading; Durst seems both self-aware and yet still like someone you wouldn’t like to spend any time around in real life: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1iry4g/i_am_fred_durst_of_limp_bizkitask_me_anything/

  38. 38
    Steve Mannion on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Craptastic is the word. The heaviest sounding #1 since ‘Breathe’ perhaps and not much to match it since…this is where the 00s compression/loudness war starts to really make its presence felt – nu-metal designed for the post-Napster age as interest in high fidelity temporarily dwindled as listening shifted more towards hastily downloaded mp3s of dubious bitrate and laptops unable to demonstrate a production’s dynamic range effectively. But once you get past the spoken “Alriiight pardner…” bit it’s one of my favourite hyped up hit intros of the time.

  39. 39
    Ed on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Unfair to lump Kid Rock in with this lot, I think: there was an exuberance and a joie de vivre about him that made him a very different proposition from the Bizkit, Korn, et al.

    And while the line in American Bad-Ass about “I like Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash” may strike you as boring snoring canon-obeisance, it shows his heart is in the right place.

    Having a multi-racial band with a woman drummer helped him evade the ghetto of teenage white-boy petulance that the other bands never really tried to escape.

    His return as a mock-classic rocker with All Summer Long has been pretty good fun, too.

    As regards the benefit gigs for Mitt Romney, though, I will make no excuses…. :).

  40. 40
    JoeWiz on 11 Aug 2015 #

    This is the nadir for me. The absolute bottom of the barrel. As someone who’d grown up in the Britpop saturated 90’s this vile, self important bilge spelt everything out in neon letters that this was THE END.
    There’s nothing in this song that appeals to me, it’s all so boring, so tired, so crass. There’s not a modicum of subtlety or intelligence. Which of course, is exactly why it appealed to some people. And who am I to argue with them?
    Durst of course appeared on the cover of the final Melody Maker. How did we get here?

  41. 41
    Tom on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #39 I agree that KR has a little more to him than some of the others, a better schtick at any rate, and I had a fair bit of time for “Cowboy”. Though – to my and perhaps everyone’s astonishment – the last song you mention is bunnied!

    My favourite nu-metal song is – from memory – Linkin Park’s “Faint”, because it reminds me of a very well known bunny by an act I’ve already been very generous to here.

  42. 42
    The Muppet on 11 Aug 2015 #

    There were a few people who took Durst seriously and wore the same backwards peaked cap as him but most weren’t really like that. A lot of people who were into Limp Bizkit weren’t really massively into Rock in general. I knew people who were manly into rap who had the album and some who liked Coldplay/Travis etc. There were others who really liked Linkin Park who would usually listen to pop/r&b/dance. That’s probably the main difference between then and now. Rocks core audience hasn’t changed much nobody outside that seems to care.

  43. 43
    The Muppet on 11 Aug 2015 #

    This is almost certainly the only time that a song was been used as the entrance music for a pro wrestler who No.1 in the charts. This was the Undertakers music at the time having used American Bad Ass for a few months in 2000. The then still WWF leapt on the nu-metal bandwagon pretty heavily in late 2000 and stayed on it long after everybody else.

  44. 44
    Ed on 11 Aug 2015 #

    @41 Whoops! I had no idea All Summer Long was a bunny violation. Apologies to all.

    I thought it was so unlikely, I didn’t bother to check. An interesting case to consider once Tom gets there.

  45. 45
    Cumbrian on 11 Aug 2015 #

    The best Limp Bizkit track is, imo, Break Stuff. The bend in the riff on the chorus is inspiring and unsettling, an aural cue that there is something dark driving Durst’s rapping into almost repetitive incoherence. People have identified Wes Borland already, to the point where it’s already cliche in this thread to say he’s good or important; the thing that drives the band towards listenability. But he is. He’s better than this band. So good, he left them in the end. He’s back in the fold now. Everyone has to pay the bills somehow.

    It’s telling, I think, that even in the drawings on the cover of this single, Durst is playing Anger, who knows what the other blank faced characters are thinking but Borland’s drawing has a definite look etched on his face. Off to the side, he is playing Sadness. And as the latest Pixar film shows, Sadness is actually really fucking important.

    In answer to the question of “why this?”: I exited a tent at the Leeds Festival in 2000, after watching Clinic play a set and headed over the prow of a hill towards the main stage where I saw one of the most remarkable sights I’ve seen at a gig – a mosh pit, must have been 10k big, bouncing like mad in the sunshine, to Limp Bizkit in the middle of the afternoon. This would have been the tail end of the Significant Other tour probably. Limp Bizkit connected with people. Commenters are asking questions about who was buying this. Maybe not the people you knew but, as ever with metal and as mentioned in one of the Manics threads, those in provincial towns with no connection to an ethnically diverse music culture will find an expression of their feelings. Maybe you weren’t there. I was. I didn’t like it much but there wasn’t a whole lot else going on in those towns club-wise. It was this, hardcore dance for those with a bit of edge, chart dance for the masses or stay at home. I listened to Peel and opted out, with the exception of the mash up scene whilst I was away at uni. So options were limited and running through some of the other new entries supplied in the run down posts earlier in this thread, the alternatives in the specific weeks in question were hardly stand outs either. So, that’s my answer, this lot connected with people you don’t know and don’t think about much, in sufficient number that they were able to colonise the top of the tree with some ropey old track because the alternatives were not there to challenge effectively.

    There’s an obvious comparison with contemporary British politics there.

    I cannot fathom the praise being given to Linkin Park here – I guess this is how people felt when I suggested Semisonic weren’t terrible in the Deep Blue Something thread. LP are terrible now, were terrible then and have never risen above that level at any point in between, as far as I can hear.

    Ed’s right about Kid Rock. Multi-gender, multi-ethnic backing band that rocked hard as fuck and anyone whose key line (before being bunnied) was “get in the pit and try to love someone” is operating on a different plane to Fred Durst.

  46. 46
    flahr on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #45 “Commenters are asking questions about who was buying this. Maybe not the people you knew but, as ever with metal and as mentioned in one of the Manics threads, those in provincial towns with no connection to an ethnically diverse music culture will find an expression of their feelings.

    I can confirm that the Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park axis were pretty big (a couple of years after this!) at the comprehensive secondary I went to in provincial, ethnically homogenous south Inner London.

  47. 47
    Doctor Casino on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I do agree that Kid Rock struck a different note and was generally more fun-loving than Bizkit – but he sold a lot of records to, in my experience, a lot of the same people, and again, there’s Durst in the “Bawitdaba” video! Part of the success of Devil Without A Cause was, I think, his instinctive inclusion of some notes of despair or worked-over frustration in these party songs; there’s a few ways you can read “I ain’t no G, I’m just a regular failure / I ain’t straight outta Compton, I’m straight out the trailer,” but one of them takes us straight into 8 Mile territory.

    Actually, Eminem might be a useful Rosetta Stone for making sense of Durst’s success, with the alternation between cartoony and seething that probably appealed to a lot of angry, frustrated kids who saw wit and sarcasm as their rapiers. The more intellectually-minded of these people, in my experience, got into Ayn Rand and became far more unpleasant than those who found a pit of people willing to love them. (Somehow, this reminds me that I want to defend Papa Roach, who were preposterous from my point of view but who clearly struck an actual emotive chord with broken-home anthems like “Last Resort” and, er, “Broken Home” – I suspect many of their fans found brotherhood in that band, though it wasn’t for me.) Anyway, though, there’s at least one tic here that I think HAS to be from Eminem: Durst back-talking himself with dubbed-in, slightly nasal interjections. “And, uh, get some better rhymes (D’oh!)” The “rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin'” calls forth other then-contemporary hip-hop trends, the Ruff Ryders, etc. – no surprise DMX is on the remix and that they pitch the “rollin” a little lower and gruffer.

    Maybe the one other thing to be noted is the subtitle (or subtitles, counting said remix) – “Air Raid Vehicle” and “Urban Assault Vehicle” are both highly suggestive of “Sports Utility Vehicle,” and indeed I remember my dad, who must have got it from somewhere, using “Urban Assault Vehicle” to denigrate this increasingly popular type of car. They had been getting bigger and more menacing and tank-like; “urban assault vehicle” obviously stresses the military qualities of the things, and also draws forth Bill Murray’s “Stripes.” I don’t know how successful these cars were in Britain but their outsized strutting is a good fit for Bizkit: those complaining about gas-guzzling behemoths would be just another set of uptight wimps to troll. Awright, pardner.

  48. 48
    Cumbrian on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #46: I guess I was asking for that. But we really have rehashed the appeal of non-trendy music in provincial towns on a number of threads, so forgive me for using the shorthand to answer the question.

  49. 49
    Steve Mannion on 11 Aug 2015 #

    At the risk of defending Durst I find the idea Kid Rock was a level above laughable – his sexism seemed just as blatant if not more so going by multiple lyrical examples.

    Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington also managed to be even more whiny-annoying than Durst without any of the relative swag. I quite liked that one about ‘nobody ever listening to him waaah’ though.

    #45 I actually witnessed that LB performance at Leeds 2000 too…from a reasonable distance back however.

  50. 50
    Doctor Casino on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Oh, and incidentally – while Crazy Town did not trouble the charts again after “Butterfly,” their lead singer, “Shifty Shellshock,” would take the vocals on Oakenfold’s “Starry Eyed Surprise,” which struggled in the US but hit #6 in the UK. It sounds nothing at all like Bizkit but, as I just learned, it samples “Everybody’s Talkin,'” muffled and conditioned into a laid-back groove. The main lick on “Butterfly,” though, is indeed very Borland.

  51. 51
    thefatgit on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I feel a bit guilty for laying into Durst after reading Jonathan’s Reddit link. He seems like a decent enough guy on that thread, maybe a younger version of me (obvs, no strawberries were abused in my backstory).

    Kid Rock: mixed feelings really. He won’t be showing up to any Democrat conventions anytime soon. As an entertainer, he’s a mixture of David Lee Roth in full camp excess and Axl Rose with added self-awareness. More on him at a later date.

    Linkin Park: Seen them live twice!! Post-Hybrid Theory, they came dangerously close to becoming Muse.

  52. 52
    AMZ1981 on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #45 I’d actually forgotten that I invested in a copy of Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park in 2001 having liked a lot of the singles (Crawling especially) so maybe nu metal didn’t pass under my radar as much as I thought. To be fair 2001 was something of a watershed year for me with loads of great albums; REM’s Reveal, Dylan’s Love And Theft, Elton’s Songs From The West Coast, Ryan Adams’ Gold and at a less celebrated level Aynsley Lister’s Everything I Need and the late Matthew Jay’s Draw (all records I love to this day) – perhaps it’s unsurprising that I didn’t get around to buying Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World until this year!

  53. 53
    flahr on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #48 – sorry, I didn’t mean to jump down your throat! I of course agree with your main point, that “this lot connected with people you don’t know and don’t think about much”, it’s just because I happened to be a boring tween and not a Trendy Clubgoing Twenty-Something these were, in fact, people I did know, and by and large they were pretty ordinary teenagers who went to school and got buses and felt pissed off occasionally and did German homework and liked other rap and rock and pop and were, really, quite staggeringly dull, all told.

    Music for preteens is either the essence of poptimism (Aqua, Adam & the Ants, er, something else beginning with A hopefully) or the lumpen r*ck*st end of the world, isn’t it?

    More on that in 2006 of course :D

    EDIT: “Okay well thanks for that but do you actually have a point here Frederic” yes hang on here it is

    MY POINT: Fred Durst gets a #1 hit when he raps in a high voice because he’s appealing primarily to people whose voices have not yet broken.

  54. 54
    Andrew Farrell on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I’m just going to drop “nu-metal in general had a mixed audience it never got credit for and barely respected” in here and head down the pub.

  55. 55
    23 Daves on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #40 I’d be tempted to criticise it on that basis as well, but I’m finding myself wondering why. A lot of brilliant rock and pop music is dumb and lacking in subtlety. I love a lot of sixties garage rock and seventies glam, and a lot of those tracks are bone-headed and lack intelligence.

    So why did I find Limp Bizkit (and nu metal in general) so annoying? One reason, I suppose, is the fact they represented a new generation gap opening up which felt very awkward, as referenced above. Another is that their songs were often messy and rushed sounding, didn’t contain hooks I could cling on to even in my drunkest moments. But more than that, I suppose the nineties were the last time that rock groups could do or say something reasonably intelligent and innovative and score hits – and not just in a couple of rogue cases, either. The nu-metal sounds seemed like a very simplistic and negative wave washing those ideas away. It wasn’t as straightforward as that, obviously, but I always had this feeling (probably bullshit and coloured by all kinds of fogeyish prejudices) that the “alternative” on offer in the early noughties was dumber and more nihilistic than what came before, and that was very much a bad thing. Which is probably what a lot of hippies thought about the Sex Pistols.

    #46 I can verify that nu-metal was big in London as well. You could visibly see it growing in popularity in places like Southsea and Farnborough, though (both places I lived in during the very late nineties) long before its commercial apex, whereas I don’t know if that would be as true in the capital. Certainly a small town gig promoter told me that the punk-pop and metal gigs were the big teenage tickets in the late nineties, the real money spinners, and at the time the acts booked were often ones I wrongly thought were no-hopers (The Crocketts always did well on the club circuit on the south coast, apparently).

  56. 56
    Cumbrian on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #45: I think it’s more than fair to say Eminem is the link to all of this stuff. He’s in the video for Break Stuff (as are Dre, Snoop, the lead singer from Korn the name of whom escapes me and Flea from RHCP), he guests for a verse on Fuck Off from Devil Without A Cause, Kid Rock pitches up in Eminem’s Berzerk video many years in the future, the lead singer from Linkin Park looks like he modelled his image on Slim Shady, etc. The link between Limp Bizkit and, for want of a better expression, “credible” rap always perplexed me a bit. Isn’t there a Limp Bizkit track with members of Wu Tang on it? I guess Eminem fans might well be occupying an busily overlapping area of some sort of Venn Diagram as a result.

    #50: That main lick to Butterfly doesn’t sound very Borland to me. It sounds more like John Frusciante. Indeed, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were a sample.

    #52: Agree with some of those. Ryan Adams in particular. Link here to Limp Bizkit being the World Trade Center – with New York, New York’s video being filmed 4 days prior to an event I guess we’re probably going to get to in the fullness of time and whose final shot is the towers, on top of which Limp Bizkit perform in this video. Ryan now doing a full album cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 – though he did the same thing to The Strokes’ debut and I don’t think that ever saw light of day, so I am not holding my breath waiting on a Tom Petty/Smiths-lite versions of Style or whatever.

    53: It’s OK. No harm, no foul. The band beginning with A that I thought of was actually, erm, A – who would have fallen in the second part of your split there, with Nothing being the big release about this sort of time, from memory.

  57. 57
    flahr on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Right, no, wait, I think I have an actual point this time. What I was trying above very ineffectually to get across is:

    I think it’s a mistake to think of this one as subcultural in a way that, say, 2006 bunny or maybe even Blink-182 if it had got to the top could be thought of as subcultural: it may be metal but I don’t think you can point to a particular Bizkithead ‘group’ in the way that you can metalheads. (The slash in rap/rock is doing a lot of work!) Sure, very few fifty-year-old women will have bought this, but very few fifteen-year-old boys will have bought “My Heart Will Go On” and that doesn’t make that subculture either. So what I think I mean is I think the comments have been sort of treating this as a record where probing deeply into the question of “who is buying this?” is the key that will unlock everything, whereas I think any insight beyond “young preadolescent boys*” is probably both unnecessary and a little false.

    *and girls as #54 says, although I don’t have personal experience of that – it is more age that is the dividing line here (with music, isn’t it always?)

    I will probably change my mind again on what I was actually trying to say but I won’t leave another comment when that happens…!

  58. 58
    lmm on 11 Aug 2015 #

    LP have dropped some rather weak albums lately but they started with two good ones and followed with two great ones. Minutes to Midnight in particular is fantastic – American Idiot may have equalled its ambition but it doesn’t have half the range. My dad grumbled that they were trying to be U2, but in my book they bear that comparison.

    And for a band everyone’s heard of and plenty liked, they seemed remarkably ignored by the critics – as much as I suspect every fan of every band feels that way.

  59. 59
    flahr on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I would certainly agree that A Thousand Suns is great, although I’m aware that its vaguely look-we’re-Radiohead stylings make it not entirely representative of their output (I’ve not actually heard anything else by them except “Crawling” – if only THAT had been #1 instead of this!).

  60. 60
    Steve Mannion on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #50 #56 The ‘Butterfly’ hook is indeed an RHCP sample (from ‘Pretty Little Dirty’).

  61. 61
    AMZ1981 on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #56 Butterfly was indeed a RHCP sample – from Pretty Little Ditty, originally on the Mother’s Milk album. And I omitted The Strokes from my list of great 2001 albums – I knew there was one I’d left out.

  62. 62
    Edward Still on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I have no interest in nu-metal’s past, present or future, especially LB’s, but for a brief period they had a great run of fun pop-rock singles that I have no shame in still loving . 8 for this, Take a Look Around and My Way would have been 9’s and all else I have heard from them 3 at most with that George Michael cover being the worst of the lot and also the worst thing I was continually subjected to in my best friend’s Fiesta after being the first of our group to pass his test (and we spent much time in that car).

    #36 – I completely agree about a sudden generation gap in regards to the rock of this point. No one my age (32) gave more than a fleeting thought to Blink 182 and their ilk. To my current group of friends (aged 27 – 30) they are the universally proclaimed “best band ever”. I just can’t get it, and I really have tried….

  63. 63
    Edward Still on 11 Aug 2015 #

    #61 If you add Gorillaz, White Blood Cells, Discovery, The Blueprint, Your New Favourite Band ( although admittedley more of a best of), Free All Angels…. it really was a fantastic album year to my ears.

  64. 64
    JLucas on 11 Aug 2015 #

    I always found Linkin Park the most palatable of this crop because their songs felt more melodic. Maybe it was just that Chester Bennington seemed like he could sing (or at least scream) in tune compared to Durst. The cover of Behind Blue Eyes was a strange moment, a bit like a nu-metal equivalent Aqua going from Dr Jones to Turn Back Time I suppose, except not even a quarter as good, and of course not an original song.

  65. 65
    GLC on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Confession time: I liked Limp Bizkit when this was popular (and I’m a girl). To be fair, I was a pre-teen at the time (and the local rock station played a *lot* of nu-metal), so I at least have an excuse. The same pair of excuses also explain why I have a lingering fondness for Nickelback’s first major hit single (How You Remind Me) and other nu-metal songs; I know they suck, but I can’t fully hate on them.

  66. 66
    Sausagebrain on 11 Aug 2015 #

    Hi all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

    And how better to open my account than with what gets my vote as the worst UK number one ever?

    Where to start with Limp Bizkit? Well, I’ll try and start by being positive. Wes Borland and the other three at the back seemed like capable musicians to me. On the quitter bits of tracks like ‘My Generation’ or ‘Take A Look Around’, they brew up some fine, tense musical backing.

    As for the frat-ass at the front – even he had a well developed sense of how to get a big crowd going in a live setting, even if it was by appealing to his (adolescent) crowds’ most base instincts. If you can bear the awful racket, check out live footage of him at his commercial peak.

    Of course, Durst the Worst rabble rousing antics sometimes – unintentionally – had tragic consequences. Witness Woodstock ’99 or Big Day Out ’01, where a young fan was trampled to death in the pit (in both cases, the organisers were to blame – I’m not going to suggest for a minute that Fred or Limp were culpable).

    And now for the negative – I won’t dwell on the lumpeness of BratDurst’s ‘flow’ but his lack of skills is painfully apparent when put next to Redman et al on the ‘Urban remix’ (still, next to Mike Shinoda of LP, or Shifty Shellshock of Crazy Town, he’s friggin Chuck D!). The music? Pure repetitive sludge to my ears, with none of the light and shade that Borland and Co used to leaven some of their other work. The lyrics? Those would embarrass a 13 year old doing a ‘rapping’ routine at a school talent contest.

    Apart from the music – why is the Nu-Metal genre remembered with such disgust by most? It’s probably the unfailingly obnoxious attitude of most of the bands. As others have alluded to, it’s a genre that really divided the generations. I remember an anniversary retrospective by Mojo Magazine (whose core demographic must be late baby boomers), which pithily dismissed the genre thus – ‘It was the worst music ever made…’ I can’t disagree, but along with pop punk it may be the last rock genre to pit parents against teenagers. Hasn’t that been the point of rock since it’s inception. Well, yessssss…. But at least previous generations of young rebels had some wit, intelligence and style – not just a melange of grunts, squeals and swears.

    Back to Freddie Flint-Brain at the front – you could applaud him for turning all of his trolling abilities into pay-dirt. The confrontational attitude of his was on one level a brilliant way of tapping into his target audience’s id. Another memorable example not yet mentioned here was the time he led his band in climbing out of a giant toilet at the start of their live shows. And he must have had some sort of business nous to have been made a VP of Interscope.

    On the other hand, the attitude overall stank worst than shit. His persona made him seem like just a thoroughly unlikeable individual. And his rants went beyond the ultimately harmless parent baiting streams of consciousness into far darker territory. Seek out, if you dare, his truly horrific duet with Korn ‘All In The Family’ from 1998. He truly was the Katie Hopkins of rock.

    @#13 – Limp actually seemed very popular on Rock Radio in the US – around the time of ‘Chocolate Starfish’, I found myself taking long roadtrips in the US on two separate occasions. Lots of happy memories, one of which was NOT constantly hearing this song (both versions) and ‘My G-G-Generation’ on constant radio rotation.

    Like a lot of places, the Nu-Metal craze hit suburban West London hard. It’s hey-day was during my sixth form years. The musically inclined of us hardened into three tribes – Nu-Metallers, Garage/R&B fans, and lovers of Ibiza toons. Which tribe was I part of? None of them – I was the weirdo in the corner of the Common Room, listening to Queen’s Greatest Hits on the Walkman.

  67. 67
    Doctor Casino on 12 Aug 2015 #

    D’oh! Of course y’all are right about the Frusciante sample. Color me embarrassed.

    “Isn’t there a Limp Bizkit track with members of Wu Tang on it?” – Yes, “N 2 Gether Now,” a single that appears to be basically a Fred Durst/Method Man solo joint (though perhaps DJ Lethal was somehow involved in the beat? it sounds very much like the Wu house stable of this era though). Obviously, Meth is considerably fleeter on his feet than Fred, but if the latter’s flow isn’t devastating, the lyrics are at least slightly more memorable than those of “Rollin'” if not always coherent (“Discretion is advised for the blood of virgin eyes,” “And that alone will keep John Gotti on the phone,” etc.). Overall it suggests that the *especially* clunky approach to “Rollin'” might in fact be purposeful. I feel like at least one Popular entry has pointed up some so-simple-anybody-can-do-it rapping as a strategic move by the performers, but it was probably back around 1992 and it does seem that by 2001 it shouldn’t be necessary.

  68. 68
    flahr on 12 Aug 2015 #

    “I feel like at least one Popular entry has pointed up some so-simple-anybody-can-do-it rapping as a strategic move by the performers, but it was probably back around 1992”

    I can think of one in 2013… (yes I know that timeline’s not quite fair)

  69. 69
    Jonathan on 12 Aug 2015 #

    #56: “The link between Limp Bizkit and, for want of a better expression, ‘credible’ rap always perplexed me a bit. ” — I sorta suspect this had a lot to do with hip-hop recognizing in nu-metal/rap-rock the opening of a new potential market and fanbase. Rappers have a tradition of holding rather suspect tastes in rock music anyway — see Lil Wayne’s Rebirth, for instance — likely stemming from a rather superficial interest, and I imagine lots of these guys figured that if white dudes with guitars and turntables offered a route to suburban audiences that had once been out of their reach, why not take it? Particularly considering that at the time there was no indication rap-rock was a bubble on the cusp of bursting; “Rollin'” arrives more than a decade after Public Enemy’s Anthrax collaboration.

    #62: I’m also 32, and pop-punk was huge amongst me and my friends back in high school — especially Blink!

  70. 70
    Ed on 12 Aug 2015 #

    A great post, Tom, which raises the question: was this the first – and only – Arsequake number one?

    There is definitely something of Paul Leary (Sweat Loaf, in particular) about Borland’s playing.

  71. 71
    Tom on 12 Aug 2015 #

    I certainly had arsequake in mind! But honestly my knowledge of that genre is not all it should be, so I didn’t want to draw the comparison directly.

  72. 72
    Tom on 12 Aug 2015 #

    Or possibly it IS all it should be.

  73. 73
    anto on 12 Aug 2015 #

    Moving in the sort of circles I do, I was well aware of a lot of nu-metal before it broached the mainstream in 2001 even though I wasn’t a fan. I could recognize some virtue in System Of A Down and their Zappa-esque combination of the righteous and the berserk, I could appreciate Deftones and their variations on a permanent downer almost reminiscent of The Cure on ‘Pornography’. I could even see the appeal of Slipknot’s wildly grotesque self-projection. Similarly I could withstand listening to Korn in small measures and admit that they had sculpted hard rock into a new shape just as assuredly as any other metal innovators who came before them.
    Limp Bizkit, however was where I drew the line. ‘Rollin’ was as horribly clenched and ugly as all their other singles, and as ever there was Fred Durst wielding his attitude in his stupid baggy pants and brimless cap. The posturing like the music would quickly date and Limp Bizkit would seemingly flounder at the realization that having got bigger than they were really meant to be, they were now obliged to build a career. I suspect Durst’s real problem wasn’t so much that his detractors couldn’t stand the sight of him, but that before long nor could his admirers.

  74. 74
    anto on 12 Aug 2015 #

    I think it was Lars Ulrich who insisted on pointing out that there were some rocking vibes at Woodstock ’99 early on before it turned horrible, which is rather like Alan Partridge reminding his guests that the Titanic’s maiden voyage was pleasantly uneventful before it met the iceberg.

  75. 75
    weej on 12 Aug 2015 #

    re: #69 The missing link here is Ice-T’s Body Count project, which was around as early as 1990.

    re: #66 Anyone taking a stroll around Camden market at the turn of the millennium would see that rock had long since superseded indie as a youth movement

  76. 76
    fivelongdays on 12 Aug 2015 #

    Oh Tom, why did you have to post this this week, when I’m on holiday?

    Suffice to say, I can critique LB and the whole nuMetal phenomenon for you from the perspective of someone who actually likes metal …but it’ll be later.

  77. 77

    Alright, comrades. Vote Jez Corbyn. You know what Liz Kendall is.

  78. 78
    fivelongdays on 12 Aug 2015 #

    Oh, and an addendum to my last post – most non Metal fans critiques of nuMetal make me think of what it must’ve been like as an old Labour sort to hear Tories attacking Blair…’you’re having a go for the wrong flipping reasons, guys’.

  79. 79
    Matt on 12 Aug 2015 #

    It’s interesting to hear ‘at the moment’ reactions to Limp Bizkit. I was very young at the time and not old enough to grasp any sense of what music norms were, so inheriting my tastes from my older brother, I loved Limp Bizkit. The only component of them I identified as crass was their tendency to use coarse language (there’s a track near the start of the album that has about 80 f-bombs which I wasn’t allowed to listen to). For association with Linkin Park, I think I was again conditioned by my brother to dislike them for being comparatively uncool.

    It was really only when I’d grown up years later and gotten an internet connection that I learnt just how loathed the band were. With all the radio/TV airplay they got, and minor things like the WWF Undertaker association, it never seemed like anyone was taking issue with them.

    Unsurprisingly I’m less charitible to them nowadays. As has mostly been said, Borland is the saving grace, Durst finds a way to be a nuisance every time he gets to hold the mic, and there’s just a generally mess about them that disrupts potentially workable hooks. “Take A Look Around” is really the only track of theirs that still works for me, because it’s more under control and keeps in tune when they decide to go louder.

    “Rollin'” gets by somewhat for nostalgic purposes. All their worst tendencies are there so I can’t really disagree with Tom’s review/score. But it does feel like the Limp Bizkit track that has the most moments that stick out, even if in a Rebecca Black way, that mean I can’t not enjoy listening to it on that level.

    Incidentally also, Limp Bizkit are a connection to one of my first experiences with the concept of music charts. There was a music channel on TV I remember watching, and I seemed to notice that “My Way” would often be the last song played on a certain program. I distinctly remember one day they ended with the host saying they’re playing the #1 song and that it was the same as last week. I confidently claimed to my mum that I knew what song it was going to be, but to my surprise, it wound up being a certain upcoming bunnied track with 1/4 of its artists having been seen by Popular. Presumably the show was being accurate as I discovered later down the track that it was a #1 while the Limp Bizkit track never cracked the top 50 here in Australia (though I see it did rather well as a follow up to “Rollin'” in the UK).

  80. 80
    katstevens on 12 Aug 2015 #

    #75 Hello yes that was me in ’99, with my cargo trousers and wallet attached to a big old chain that was slightly too heavy, so the side of said cargo trousers kept sagging. If you got the 31 at Swiss Cottage, you only had to cough up for Zones 2-6 which was an extra £1.20 to spend on leather bracelets.

  81. 81
    Phil on 13 Aug 2015 #

    Blimey, that was awful. On the positive side: Robert Sandall (interviewing Butch Vig) described grunge as “a sonic airbrush of punk”, and what Wes Borland’s doing here is very much a sonic airbrush of grunge; not in a bad way, either, although without the wit or light & shade of Vig’s own Garbage, say. I perked up momentarily when somebody mentioned a remix upthread, but of course it was a remix without Borland. Shame – a Durst-free remix might rise to a 5 or 6.

    As for that piggy-eyed manchild with the squeaky voice, the lack of rhythm and the limited vocabulary… just no. You remember the guy who stood on stage with Jilted John doing nothing except a rather basic hand-jive throughout the song? I’d rather watch him for three minutes than suffer Durst’s moves again – and Sid Snot was a better rapper.

    Somebody upthread said that 2 seemed a bit too low when you think of all the awful stuff there is; I partly agree, but I also think this is the awful stuff. 3 if I’m generous, and if you promise me I never have to look at or listen to it again.

  82. 82
    Chris on 13 Aug 2015 #

    “Rollin'” is crap, and I could never understand it being such a big hit.
    Paradoxically “Take A Look Around” and “My Way” are superb – I bought them both, still enjoy hearing them (loud, preferably ) and they stand up well 15 years later.
    I was 27 years old in 2000/2001 so don’t have the excuse of youth or belonging to the generation mistakenly believing the majority of ‘nu-metal’ represents anything other than a dumbed-down generic rebranding of rock music aimed at people who believe tattoos & facial hair are an acceptable substitute for thought.

  83. 83
    Tommy Mack on 13 Aug 2015 #

    For a guy who I claimed to hate, Fred Durst sure gave me and my mates a lot of laughs during 2001. ‘Get some better beats and, uh, some better rhymes’ became one of our put-downs of choice and we never tired of bellowing “Chocolate Starfish!” or “You don’t wanna step into a big pile of shit!”. I went to a fancy-dress party as Fred. It was (appropriately enough) the laziest costume ever: a backwards red cap, a USA T-shirt and a drawn on goatee. I also made a T-shirt of Fred with ‘This Is Your Enemy’ underneath (which makes me wince in its indie-piety far more than listening to Limp Bizkit again) and wrote a column in my short-lived satirical music paper Malady Maker* headed ‘Fred Durst Was Mistake admits God’** Seemingly I was unhealthily obsessed with the man!

    IIRC, everyone urged Wes Borland to go solo, he did so, the following year, with a project/album called bigdumbface, it sold sod-all and he went back to Bizkit only for their next album (entitled Pantysniffer, I believe?) to sell sod-all too.

    As for Rollin’. I’ll stretch to 4. Clearly it’s rubbish but there’s something audacious about stringing such an almighty racket out of absolutely no ideas whatsoever. I recall bouncing around on the ICU dancefloor to it a couple of times (with, of course, an ironic-mugging expression on my face so anyone watching would know I was actually above it. In retrospect, I was a bit of a dickhead at 19)

    *Other headlines included Lemmy To Join Coldplay, Bubbles Solo Album ‘A Classic’ and ‘Mouse Band Eaten By Cat Band.

    **In the Limp Bizkit piece, they’re plugging an album called Piss Poo Botty-Hole Dogfucker…

  84. 84

    Not remotely in a position to judge its quality — tho I’ve seen guardedly positive comments from ppl who certainly are — this piece in Decibel is a detailed look at the rise of and reasons behind Nü-Metal

  85. 85
    Cumbrian on 14 Aug 2015 #

    I thought that Decibel piece was pretty decent (though the objections to Nu-Metal from Metal heads strike me as typical rockist arguments against pop) but I would be interested in reading something similar that doesn’t take as an already agreed upon premise that Nu-Metal is primarily, and with few exceptions, shit. I mean, I didn’t like it much but it’s still an incredible slant on the story. As I said up thread, a lot of people liked this stuff – and the idea that it’s all young teenage boys might be largely true but it wasn’t wholly true by any stretch of the imagination; I saw that moshpit in Leeds and there weren’t that many teenage boys at the festival, there were plenty of older people and women in that pit – and a cursory glance at the Limp Bizkit or Kid Rock sets from Woodstock 99 on Youtube will show you that the audience there wasn’t just teenage boys either.

    I also spent most of that article thinking a) if Korn = Suede, Sepultura = Blur (a stretch but turned from baggy to Britpop so just about fits) and Limp Bizkit = Oasis, this is the story of Britpop and b) it that’s a plausible comparison, I wonder whether it is the story of every fast burning musical trend.

  86. 86
    thefatgit on 14 Aug 2015 #

    Sepultura, as you say, a nu-metal band is a bit of stretch, unless Max Cavalera = Damon Albarn, then Soul(Brundle)fly = Blur/Gor****z /The Good, The Bad & The Queen type of thing fits quite nicely.

  87. 87
    weej on 14 Aug 2015 #

    I also enjoyed the article, with some reservations – agreed that it didn’t present the ‘pro’ side enough, but also felt it odd that it needed to tie it all to the mainstream metal scene when the lineage seemed to be more linked to the pre-Nirvana 80s hardcore punk scene and heavy alt-rock / rap crossover stuff like RATM. This, I should say, is just from listening – I don’t actually know what their influences were, but I know what they sound like, and without the growly vocals and high-speed drumming ‘Nu Metal’ never really sounded like ‘Metal’ to me. Is the hatred of Nu Metal really a problem of appropriated genre names, like the way some Dubstep fans take pains to distance themselves from ‘Brostep’?

  88. 88
    Ed on 15 Aug 2015 #

    @84, etc. It is a good piece, although a couple of things about it made me laugh.

    1) There’s a very straightforward division of music into good and bad, and as Cumbrian and Weej pointed out, it simply goes without saying that nu-metal is bad. It is variously compared to garbage and to a virus, and the writer doesn’t feel he ever has to explain *why* it is so terrible.

    2) There is a similarly unproblematic certainty that quality is synonymous with technical difficulty. One of the most telling indictments of Sepultura’s Roots is that it is easy to play. As a mainstream rock and pop fan, I thought that ideology had disappeared in 1976!

    Truly Planet Metal is a different world.

  89. 89
    Tommy Mack on 16 Aug 2015 #

    So I went for a jog to Limp Bizkit. Like the Chuckle Brothers doing rap metal. Except that it’s really, really sad. When he’s not wholly incoherent, Fred might well be describing depression: everything is wrong, he can’t say why, he can barely even articulate it. “I know why you wanna hate me, cos hate is all the world has even seen lately ” – he doesn’t even blame his detractors for hating him, hate is just an abstract quantity that’s sloshing around in excess, happening to land on poor ol Fred and his red hat.

    My Generation is easily the worst of their hits, being the sloppiest, most incoherent and most bereft of ideas. I didn’t think until they covered Behind Blue Eyes that the G-G-G-Generation hook might have actually been in homage to the Who song of the same name.

    When he says (on Rollin) ‘Hey fellas, hey ladies and the people who don’t give a fuck’ I’d like to think he’s reaching out to the Trans community…

    Also listened to Linkin Park: only entertaining when they’re at their most melodramatic and hysterical. And Korn, conversely, only entertaining when they’re at their spikiest and most amelodic. And Jonathan Davis isn’t singing. Their choruses suck! Give me dislocated guitar grunts and mad animal noises over dreary lumpen angst. Their cover of Word Up is quite nifty mind!

    On to Atomic Kitten, the Limp Bizkit of post-Spice girlpop!

  90. 90
    Fivelongdays on 17 Aug 2015 #

    Right, late to the party as ever, but I need to get this off my erm, motherfucking chest, erm, y’all. Not that you, quite rightly give a fuck what I, or indeed any motherfucker, think.

    I’ve been into heavy metal since I was 12. I saw the (edited) video for Metallica’s One in 1994 and I was hooked.

    I grew up in a sleepy backwards town, where fans of heavy music stuck together, for pretty obvious reasons, and the small group of us who liked the music all knew each other and were at least on friendly terms. And it was a pretty broad church, too – whether it was thrash, or old-school classic rock metal, or stoner rock, or doom, or even grunge and alt, if it was covered by Kerrang, the chances are you listened to it, and you loved it.

    Sure, there were some pricks – people who played up to the stereotype of people who like Rock music being morons – but it was all cool.

    But then something awful happened.

    It didn’t start off as something awful, though. It started off as something new.

    I first heard Korn at some point towards the end of 1996. It was when I was REALLY making my transition from ‘naive Britpop kid’ to ‘lover all all things proper Rocking’, i.e. its when I started reading Kerrang! on a regular basis.

    (And let it be known – while the NME has been reduced to giving itself away for free, Kerrang! is still doing relatively well, even if I only buy it every couple of months or so when they do a piece about a band I like)

    I’d love to say that hearing ‘Good God’ blew me away with its intensity and emotional honesty but it didn’t. It was, however, something DIFFERENT. There wasn’t anything that really sounded like it. So, I cautiously started to get into them. They were alright. A bit samey, though.

    Now, fast forward a year or so, and there was an emergence of something coming out of the West Coast of America. Something vaguely rap-influenced, but undeniably heavy. The genre hadn’t quite got itself a name, so we called it ‘New-School Californian Metal’, but mostly it was ‘Bands Who Sound A Bit Like Korn’. Coal Chamber’s first album featured a run of five tracks which define what nuMetal were, while the Deftones fused hip-hopish beats and down tuned guitars with a Cure-Depeche Mode-Smiths-Radiohead sensibility which valued space as much as it did noise. So it was new, and different, and good.

    (and – random tangent time – the idea that Max Cavelera was in some way the godfather of nuMetal is complete, utter and abject bollocks. Korn didn’t end up sounding like Sepultura. Sepultura ended up sounding a bit like Korn, but that’s because Ross Robinson produced Roots. And the idea that Roots wasn’t good because it was simple to play is not one I’ve ever heard before in my life. If anything, Roots’ problem is that it gets kinda boring. As I’ve said before, Roots Bloody Roots is an excellent two-and-a-half minute blast of heaviness and intensity dragged out to four minutes).

    That all changed in 1999. Suddenly, the world was flooded with bands who confused down tuning your guitars and being a bit noisy with actual heaviness. You couldn’t open the pages of Kerrang! without some American twunt with a stupid haircut, baggy shorts and a fucking tracksuit whining on about their dads. And do you know what made it worse?

    The fans. Dear God, the fans.

    Fake, posturing, sad bastards who deliberately chose to play at being an outsider, knowing their mates and girlfriends and what have you would always be there, shunning anyone who didn’t play their fucking fancy dress pose games and refusing to listen to anything that happened before 1991, pretending they were ‘fucked up’ when they quite clearly weren’t.

    I suppose if I’d been a couple of years younger, I would have been part of it, and I suppose if I’d been a couple of years older, I’d have got over myself enough to have appreciated it. But I was at the worst possible place.
    I was an angry outsider who wished I knew more people would like the same sort of music as me so I could fit in…and then people who were dicks started to like it. Sigh.

    So, why did it become so rubbish? If you ask me, one band is to blame. And it isn’t Limp Bizkit.

    Slipknot (or as I so hilariously called them, Shitknob) were fucking dire. A fake gimmick, a shit vocalist, and a tendency to confuse noisy with heavy. They were the fakest of the fake, the shittest of the shit and, although there are some songs of theirs I like (Left Behind and that one about having a migraine). And they encouraged a bunch a trendy, fake, popular posers to get stupid haircuts (I mean, I’ve always had stupid hair, but that’s because it ended up that way, not because I did it deliberately) and pretend they were fucked up when they weren’t.

    So I had to find my salvation. And I found it in Stoner Rock and what we’d now call Middle School Emo (i.e. Jimmy Eat World, Get Up Kids et al).

    Again, irony alert here – I was condemned for liking Metallica (who are now as big as they’ve ever been), and the aforementioned Stoner Rock and Middle School Emo. MSE I’ll talk about later on in Popular, when it’s more appropriate, but Stoner Rock is doing a darned site better than nuMetal. If nothing else, Queens of the Stone Age must be one of the most influential American bands of the last 20 years.


    Sometimes people slagged off nuMetal because they were Indie Children, and thus did it for the wrong reasons.

    Here are some of them.

    *It’s too loud! (oh, fuck off you Starsailor loving poltroon)
    *It’s too shouty and they’re pissed off! (sure beats what a pretty colour Yellow is, or what a lovely horse Arkle was)
    *It’s just like 80s glam metal! (Easily disproved by actually using your fucking ears, you fucking pillock. Besides, if it was ‘just like 80s glam metal’ it would be frickin’ awesome)

    So there you go.

    That’s not to say that all nuMetal was shit. Deftones were utterly glorious -White Pony is easily in the top three albums (it might even nick top spot) of 2000, a year which had an awful lot of good records. System Of A Down were always interesting and weird and wonderful, and – let’s be honest – Korn were actually quite good.

    Of course, I’ve not mentioned LB properly yet, but that’s because I can’t really deviate from the consensus (i.e. Borland was an excellent guitarist, and Durst is a bit of a twat). However, I need to make some observations…

    *Take A Look Around is fucking BRILLIANT, best single of 2000, a combination of paranoia and inarticulate rage that happens to be my Kareoke jam (and I was mentioned in the Reading 2000 Melody Maker roundup for being a top performer at the Maker Fakers tent) and would be a 10 any day of the week.

    *This song has actions!

    *It’s stupid, but it kinda knows it’s stupid and it has fun

    *It manages to piss everyone off

    *When it came out, we kinda knew nuMetal was dying. It was a slow, painful death, but luckily bands that didn’t suck slowly took its place. The end seemed to be heralded by Linkin Park, a band that led many people to go ‘Ooh, saturation point. They’ll be a one-hit wonder.’ HOW WRONG WE ALL WERE.

    *I’d still rather listen to this than, ooh, at least 90 per cent of anything The Strokes or The White Stripes have ever put out.

    *LB’s 2011 album Gold Cobra is the best comedy album of the decade.

    *Fred Durst may be a class-A, copper-bottomed, atomic-powered tosser, but he’s sort of our class-A, copper-bottomed, atomic-powered tosser.

    So, not that Fred gives a fuck what I, Tom, or any motherfucker thinks, I will give this.


  91. 91
    Steve Mannion on 17 Aug 2015 #

    #90 ‘One’ was probably my intro to (harderbetterfasterstronger) metal too only with the original release six years earlier. But then the video (and the live version) was all over MTV at that point and the latter seemed huge all over Europe so I can relate. That video tho…nightmares 4ever…

    MTV was initially so crucial in this respect with hard rock more than most things – fewer outlets and windows for this kind of thing elsewhere and even tho by the time of nu-metal MTV’s emphasis on actual videos was on the slide (and the inception of the UK & Ireland specific channel in the late 90s actually reduced metal exposure further). The huge buzz for Korn’s ‘Freak On A Leash’ video at the ’98 (or ’99’s?) VMAs did stand out but from my perspective (wrapped up in dance/electronica/rnb/rap) they seemed a distant island until LB and others broke bigger a few years later.

  92. 92
    Cumbrian on 17 Aug 2015 #

    #91: I’d say Kerrang TV (and the magazine) are as important, if not more so, than MTV by early 2001 – and they’re still playing nu-metal to this day (I turned the channel on yesterday for an hour or so whilst collecting more thoughts about this and they played Rollin’ and something by Linkin Park and Last Resort by Papa Roach as well as Blink, Sum 41, The Offspring’s #1 and a variety of other tracks that were big around this time). Mind you, I think I’ve said this before, I’m not convinced that this is indicative of anything other than those who were into that music the first time around still being the core audience – I think today’s teenagers are probably watching Youtube for their music video hit (but am willing to be proved wrong).

    Kerrang also more widely available than MTV (it’s free on Sky now for instance, along with the other Box Channels), so will have a slightly wider audience than the MTV group.

    #90 I too found stoner more palatable than much metal that was being produced under the nu-metal banner. Have recently discovered Torche, who seem to fit this description, and am pretty glad I did (the motorik inflected title track from Restarter has been going around my head for days). QOTSA and Kyuss are obvious touchpoints for this stuff too and I am yet to get tired of listening to them 15-20 years down the line.

    Were System of a Down really nu-metal? They don’t seem to have much in common with some of the others in this group – more willing to play around with proggy time signatures and so on, at least.

  93. 93
    Tommy Mack on 17 Aug 2015 #

    I’d say System Of A Down were number metal to the extent that Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band were blues-rock: both were sonically routed in those genres but never slave to their musical rules.

  94. 94
    Cumbrian on 17 Aug 2015 #

    #93: If there isn’t a genre of metal called Number Metal, there should be. Like Math Rock except heavier.

    I assume that was a predictive text thing – for shame that you’ve not included nu-metal in your dictionary!

  95. 95
    Tommy Mack on 17 Aug 2015 #

    I quite literally need to get some better rhymes.

  96. 96
    Pink champale on 18 Aug 2015 #

    The Iron Laws of Pop are generally pretty clear that any genre so reviled by critics and hipsters is revealed in 15 years time to have been right all along (though not so much the fans who liked it at the time and ever since). But Durst’s terrible power clearly smashes all such laws.

  97. 97
    Tommy Mack on 18 Aug 2015 #

    #90: Five Days Long, interesting that you mark Slipknot as the nadir of nu-metal. From what I remember, they were one of two bands (along with SOAD) who nu-skeptics acknowledged as having something worth checking out, even if it was just their live show and some of the more abstract elements of their music.

    FWIW, I was a casual fan of the nu in that I went to see a few of the bands live but never listened to many of the records. Saw Slipknot twice and found them underwhelming but both performances were at festivals during hours of daylight: I imagine inside with the lights off, it’d have a lot more intensity.

  98. 98
    Ed on 18 Aug 2015 #

    @97 I read SOAD as SUAD, and puzzled for some time about their lost nu-metal phase.

  99. 99
    fivelongdays on 19 Aug 2015 #

    @97 – Mack Tommy, I’m afraid I was offering a contrarian opinion. Slipknot have, it’s true, seemed to have migrated to the Metal Pantheon, which still baffles me. I guess there’s a whole swathe of people who confuse chaos for heaviness. As far as I’m concerned, they’re nothing but a fake gimmick, heavy metal for people who don’t like heavy metal but like the idea of being ‘fucked up’.

    @93 – SOAD were clearly nuMetal, but they were nuMetal with their own ideas, which put them a cut above most of the competition. Shame more bands didn’t follow their lead (see also Deftones)

  100. 100
    Tommy Mack on 19 Aug 2015 #

    #99 – Ha, rebuke taken, I’ll pay more attention in future!

    Not really disagreeing with you other than to say I don’t remember them being that bad. I was just surprised as I remember the attitude of both ‘proper’ metal fans and the rock/indie crowd being “Nu-metal’s shit. Well, obviously System are brilliant and Slipknot are a laugh at least” or thereabouts.

    I’ll have to go back and listen to Slipknot (not what you intended, I’m sure!) to give you my thoughts on their music. I was never a fan but I don’t remember them being as wholly without merit as you say. I reckon I’d take them over some of the bilge Korn ended up doing after their first few albums. But I’m not really a metal fan other than on the most casual footing. And I’m generally fond of gimmickry in music, especially when artists are fiercely committed to their own gimmick. You’ve perhaps hit on something in that their gimmick gave outsiders a way into the band* while repelling people who were perhaps more committed metal fans.

    *(and also appealed to really young kids – my enduring memory of them** is Ozzfest in 2001, seeing hundreds of pre-teen kids, many dressed as members of Slipknot to varying degrees of success, dragging their parents/older siblings in loco parentis into the moshpit only to flee, many of them in tears, after a couple of numbers)

    **actually, my other enduring memory is that Imperial’s student union bar used to have a giant screen showing usually MTV2 but if someone played the jukebox, the TV sound would be replaced by the punter’s chosen song. Clearly some people thought this was great sport and whenever a Slipknot video came on would put Backstreet Boys or A1 or something similar on the jukey. Students, eh?

  101. 101
    Fivelongdays on 19 Aug 2015 #

    I’ll admit that I seem to be in the minority when it comes to Slipknot. I can sort of see the attraction – and I’ll admit that it’s another case where if I’d been born three years later, I’d have thought it was utterly brill, and if I’d been born three years earlier I’d have been over myself enough to get into them. For personal reasons, though, I think they’re one of the biggest cons to have ever been perpetrated on the metal community.

    I should really get over myself.

    (Joey Jordison is an excellent drummer though)

    (And from what I can remember, the reason I didn’t go to Ozzfest in 2001 was that it was chockablock with nuMetal bands. Ozzfest 1998, OTOH, was my first EVER festival. Very good it was too.)

  102. 102
    AMZ1981 on 19 Aug 2015 #

    I was surprised to discover that six of the forty biggest selling singles of 2001 could loosely be termed pop punk or nu metal; I say loosely as one was a Michael Jackson cover and the other by a nu metal artist performing a non nu metal song (none are bunnied). Also two of the top twenty albums were in the genre (Slipknot and Linkin Park with Limp Bizkit just a place outside). Was this a peak year?

  103. 103
    Billy Hicks on 20 Aug 2015 #

    Absolutely a peak year, and this was the music my brother adored even though he was eighteen months younger than me. While I was very much still in the Steps and S Club zone, this was one of the songs my brother would blast out his room/sing along with to show how rebellious he was. Eminem’s album and ‘Clint Eastwood’ by Gorillaz (not bunnied!) were other favourites of his.

    I knew I’d be turning 13 in September of 2001, and instead of seeing it as a good thing I instead looked at that future date with terror. I didn’t want to be a teenage dirtbag. I was perfectly happy with things how they were. I’d watch Kevin the Teenager on Harry Enfield repeats and find him weirdly scary- I was going to turn into *that*? Grow long hair and walk around funny and insult my parents all the time? God forbid. Which by 2003 was exactly what I had become, but more on that when we get there.

    The big, massive early 2001 bunny that reminds me of happy year 7 times is yet to come, about as different to this as you can imagine.

  104. 104
    fivelongdays on 24 Aug 2015 #

    NuMetal had reached saturation point a little before this got to number one. As I think I said, there was the feeling that Linkin Park – who were often described as a ‘nuMetal boy band’ – were the beginning of the end. I think people were just ready to stand up and say ‘no more!’. That said, it didn’t start to die out properly until around 2003 – the end of the scene is hard to pinpoint exactly, just a feeling that everyone was sick and tired of the fakery.

    Have only recently realised that nuMetal’s finest album – perhaps the one record from the scene which could be fully described as great – came out in 2000, which fits my personal narrative.

    I’m intrigued by which singles @102 is talking about, mind…

  105. 105
    Cumbrian on 24 Aug 2015 #

    #104: The first one is Alien Ant Farm doing Smooth Criminal – not sure Alien Ant Farm are really nu-metal, though they definitely got lumped in with them. Don’t know about the other one though – unless it’s Crazy Town the other candidates I have in mind don’t strike me as particularly of the genre. Pop Punk is a broader church and maybe I’m not thinking in the right area as a result (since 102 says terms as one or the other)

  106. 106
    CarsmileSteve on 24 Aug 2015 #

    #75 …and let’s not forget the Judgement Night soundtrack!

    At glastonbury this year, I happened upon Wheel Of Four Tunes, a disco where they spin a wheel and play four tunes from that genre. Anyway “rock” was the genre and they played some foo fighters and ace of spades and THEN rollin’ came on and the group of late 20s otherwise relatively sensible looking lads next to me knew EVERY WORD and sang (and did the moves) loudly and lustily, much to the hilarity of the rest of the field…

  107. 107
    fivelongdays on 25 Aug 2015 #

    And strength to their elbows, I say. Which reminds me of a point I forgot to make

    *It’s a better pop song than anything The Smiths ever did.

  108. 108
    Tommy Mack on 27 Aug 2015 #

    Keep trollin’ trollin’ trollin’…

  109. 109
    James BC on 7 Sep 2015 #

    Fifteen years on, I still don’t understand what the DJ was doing in the band. Was it just a gimmick, or was the DJ a big part of their sound? Only live, or only on record, or both? Which sounds in Rollin’ are coming from the DJ? Do some modern-day bands still have DJs (outside of hip-hop) in or has the whole idea turned out to be a dead end musically?

    Any light that can be shed is much appreciated.

    (This song isn’t my thing but it added massively to the Undertaker’s gimmick, making him seem genuinely exciting and rebellious and impressively current.)

  110. 110
    Steve Mannion on 7 Sep 2015 #

    DJ Legend is credited as co-producer of the track along with Durst (for some time I mistakenly thought Ross Robinson was involved) and presumably provided the scratching/cut-up effects (“throw your hands up” etc.) directly.

  111. 111
    Andrew Farrell on 7 Sep 2015 #

    I never realised, until reading up on this, that this is DJ Lethal’s second big group – he was in House of Pain before this!

  112. 112
    Tommy Mack on 7 Sep 2015 #

    #111, I think that’s why Eminem fell out with Durst: Em had beef with Everlast and by extension Lethal and by extension Durst. Peevish chap, Eminem…

  113. 113
    Cumbrian on 30 Sep 2015 #

    I’ll just leave this here (misspelling in the url and all):


  114. 114
    Patrick Mexico on 22 Dec 2015 #

    You’d better get some better beats, and er.. get some other disputed Eastern European territories.

    I’m trying to think of a terrible Franz Ferdinand pun, but that’s still three years off.


  115. 115
    AMZ1981 on 11 May 2016 #

    Just realised I never answered the direct question Fivelongdays asked me in #104. The non nu metal song by a nu metal artist was Follow Me by Uncle Kracker.

  116. 116
    Gareth Parker on 24 May 2021 #

    Unintentionally hilarious. Well it made me laugh anyway! I’ll stretch to a 4/10 for that reason alone.

  117. 117
    Coagulopath on 10 Dec 2021 #

    I hate to stereotype but isn’t it weird how Fred Durst looks exactly the way you’d expect a man called Fred Durst to look? And sound, for that matter?

    Limp Bizkit is like a fractal. The whole can be viewed in the smallest facet. You can basically reconstruct every twist and turn of their musical journey by studying Durst’s red baseball cap and chinstrap goatee.

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