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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Limp Bizkit's Gold Cobra: A Catalog of Disaster

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Why did I choose to subject myself to Limp Bizkit? Because with the myriad of styles coming back -- think LinnDrum R&B ballads featuring on Bon Iver and Frank Ocean releases; the meaty '90s alt of Yuck and Male Bonding; the retrospective thrash metal of Kylesa -- it seems just about every era and genre has been resurrected of late. Fuck, Dirty Beaches married Elvis' rockabilly to David Lynch motorik ambience. In other words, it's become rare to hear what true irrelevance sounds like. I wanted to experience what rap-metal is in 2011, which, hard as I pretend, probably does not sound like Sleigh Bells. So instead, here's a song-by-song tour through our first listen to Limp Bizkit's new album, Gold Cobra.

A screaming girl at 0:08. That's how far into a Limp Bizkit album it takes to posit a suffering female as art. I thought the intro was meant like "Intro, bra," like they're frat guys, but then I realized it's a play on "cobra." Practicing early for Scribble Jam?

Bring It Back
Fred Durst cannot rap now even more than he could not rap before, which should make him more appealing to fans of his not-rapping. Is that how the logic goes? His new cadence is triple-nerdy, and the little divots of speed-rapping are stumbles. He pronounces "danger zone" the way Archer makes fun of people who say "danger zone." Durst sounds thin and weird; whether or not you think he's the biggest asshole in the world, you notice the missing heft. One thing New Limp Bizkit can do that no other band can is put Old Limp Bizkit in perspective.

Gold Cobra
Again, Fred's high new twang is not a plus. "It's so golden, y'all," he chants on the chorus. "Aggravated"/"Man I hate it," he rhymes in the verse. "Nuttin'" and "playa," he pronounces in strange tongue. "My Way," he rips off, echoing buildup bridge and all. John Otto's bass whomp and Wes Borland's dentist-drill whine, though -- they'd do a real rapper some good. In 2000.

Shark Attack
Not just "Another one of those days," but also "straight to your fucked-up ass," the band recycles two or three Bizkit chestnuts of olde ("Break Stuff," "Hot Dog"), and puts them in a nauseating blender while fighting the real enemy: chumps who "talk trash in pajamas." "Watch them get smoked like a cig," Durst wordplays proudly. "While you get robbed like a zombie." If Nicki Minaj said, "while you get robbed -- zombie" I'd laugh. Comedy is all editing.

Get a Life
You get the idea from these titles that this is -- what else? -- a concept album about Limp Bizkit's hate mail. Which is not to be confused with any other Limp Bizkit album. "They're just hating cuz I motherfucking made it!" exclaims the Hatted One. Actually, I think they're hating because the lines, "If you don't like it you should scratch up on these nuts, bitch/Polar bear ain't a cracker you should fuck with" are terrible.

The single, I reckon, because there's almost a melody. How the shitty have fallen; I hate Gold Cobra because it's forcing me to retrospectively praise the importance of Fred Durst's singing. "That's the sound of a shotgun," Fred points out after the sound of a shotgun. "In my neighborhood, everybody's got one." Okay, buddy.

Douche Bag
Au contraire, says the future NRA Man of the Year. You can't accuse Fred Durst of not writing what he knows, but this isn't the best thing here because of cutting barbs like "You just crying cause you ain't got milk." Wes Borland isn't the world's worst guitarist, which makes him an ill fit for this band. Quick, someone call McSweeney's: "Douchebag/I'ma fuck you up/Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you up."

Walking Away
This is a really unremarkable ballad, so I'm just going to use this space to point out that Limp Bizkit has actually had good songs. "N 2 Gether Now" and "Getcha Groove On" put Method Man and Xzibit on high-grade beats and stayed out of the way -- no one has ever complained about that. "Rollin'," "Break Stuff," "My Generation," and "My Way" accomplished all the destruction they were supposed to and plenty they were not (Rapestock '99). "Re-Arranged" had a fancy little bassline that proved the group could lowball. "Nookie" was the band's one serious honest-to-pop classic, video with red-hatted Fredgirls and all. But it's about time they stuck it up their yeahs.

"I'm a loser, yes it's true," Fred suddenly realizes over a farting chord compression. "We bring out the worst in each other/That ain't no way to love another" is probably his most honest observation ever. Too bad he's the 987,358,846th person to observe it. Not sarcasm: impressive guitar solo. Wondering if I slept on Borland side projects Eat the Day or Big Dumb Face.

Occasionally a riff here and a big grinning "Ladies and gentlemannnnnnnn" there brings to mind the relatively fun Bizkit of old (relatively, relatively). But this band is just so fucking stupid, it's hard to remember why the nostalgia in the first place. I vaguely recall their rebellious air and record number of "fuck"s in one song, but then I remember that Fred was an Interscope VP. Swear to no one in particular his sing-rapping on this one sounds like an attempt at recent Kanye, and not just because he used guess what on his voice.

Straight Slayer-metal intro is kind of cool, double kicks and all, and I'm briefly excited for the possibility of Fred taking on a whole genre that hates his lily white guts. And then it turns back into a Limp Bizkit song, bummer.

Why Try
Why indeed. The obligatory Tom Morello divebomb riff-rip. It feels like nothing. "Why try/You're gonna die/You're going straight to the gate in the sky" is an apt philosophy for these nihilistic shitdicks and they meet it oh, a quarter of the way.

Killer in You
"There's a motherfucking killer on the loose..." begins the band's first warm-water wave at horrorcore. It's incredible to think that Eminem came up in a musical moment with this guy. He's about eight times the trailer trash Durst tries to be. Come to think of it, this album didn't even suck in a spectacularly interesting way.

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