What does it say about your band when a lounge parody medley of your songs is better than your original songs? I don’t care that the music was created by a keyboard, I will take Richard Cheese’s “Nookie / Break Stuff” over the originals every day; the music is better and it shows that Durst’s lyrics are best if not treated seriously.
I was dreading the gamut of Nu Metal anniversaries I was going to have to run. All I remembered of the era was being extremely put off by the bands, though sometimes I liked some of the videos. I approached Follow the Leader with extreme trepidation but found that it was better than I expected. Maybe it was because of my fears that I didn’t hate it. Maybe it was because it exceeded my expectations that I now find myself just stunned that a band this dumb could be this successful.
Remember when Wes Borland was considered an “interesting” (or great) guitarist? I knew I didn’t want to listen to Limp Bizkit to find out, but I took the word of friends and guitar mags. “He plays a 7-string! He wears weird clothes! He must be interesting!” The music here is about as boring and simple as metal gets. I can’t always distinguish the guitar from the turntables and samples, but I don’t find either doing much of musical interest and when the riffs come, they are generic. (They are very loud, though. That counts, right?) The one detour into Hip Hop is not quite as generic as the metal, I guess, but I wouldn’t really know
But the real problem is Durst. I don’t care what Les Claypool says or if they’re friends, Durst is not an appealing person. And he’s not a great lyricist, as illustrated by the vast majority of lyrics on this album, most of which are middling and some of which are terrible. “Should have left my pants on this time” is an actual line of a hook on this record. (It’s meant to be taken seriously!) Durst sings about male “bonding”, his fans and relationships with the insight of a 17-year-old boy who thinks he’s the toughest guy in his neighbourhood, and first performer to have an audience eat out of his hand and have lots of sex. (I mean, we have to assume he’s getting laid, right? He sure wants us to know that. And men who brag about all the sex they have, have sex a lot, right? That’s how that works, right?) I don’t know if I wouldn’t hate this record this much if you replaced Durst with, say, Jonathan Davis, but Durst definitely doesn’t help make this dumb music less dumb. Actually, I do know, I would prefer it with Davis. Then I’d just focus on the music, which is probably just mediocre.
This is a band for teenage boys who like simple riffs because more interesting riffs are hard and who think sophisticated music is using a guitar with a weird number of strings or using a turntable to mimic guitars. It’s not just music for Bros, it’s music for proto Bros. It’s incredible to me that this record and this band were so successful. It just goes to show you that popular taste is often terrible.
Yes, that review is more of a “3/10”, but I can’t argue about the quality of the recording – everything sounds good. And, though I do not like their music, they do what they do as well as they could, I suspect.
“Limp Bizkit Choochoo, won’t you take me home?”