The 12 Most Iconic Nu-Metal Lyrics Of All Time
If nu-metal gave us anything, it’s big singalong lyrics. The anthemic choruses and stripper-rhythmed beats of the genre made chanting their most recognizable lines along with your friends a sort of primal rite best practiced with your shirt off. And while armchair music snobs like to act as though the late ’90s and early 2000s were devoid of talent in metal, they’ll immediately sing the chorus to Slipknot’s Wait And Bleed at you if you mention the song.
In honor of the 19th anniversary of Papa Roach’s Infest being released (you can probably guess which song from that album made the cut), we decided to catalog those nu-metal lyrics that everyone knows by heart. This doesn’t mean the best lyrics, necessarily, or the most poetic ones, but the ones that you couldn’t forget if you tried, and that you’ve probably screamed with a group of your buddies.
Here are the 12 most iconic nu-metal lyrics of all time…
12. Powerman 5000 - When Worlds Collide
“What is it really that is in your head
What little life that you had just died
I’m gonna be the one that’s taking over
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide!”
On the first big single from their 1999 hit album Tonight The Stars Revolt, spacey hard rockers Powerman 5000 give fans a rare treat: an iconic pre-chorus. Sure, it’s just a lead in to the huge, bouncing chorus of the song, but let’s be honest, when one thinks of this album, they think of that last line above.
11. Staind - Mudshovel
“Cause you can’t feel my anger
You can’t feel my pain
You can’t feel my torment, driving me insane
I can’t fight these feelings, they will bring you pain
You can’t take away
Make me whole again”
By the release of 2001’s Break The Cycle, Staind has graduated to bummer rock rather than nu-metal. But the chorus of their ‘99 hit Mudshovel is the ultimate statement of the ur nu-metal fan’s feelings. These are the lyrics you snarl to yourself, shaking your head and wondering who died and made your dad God.
10. P.O.D. - Alive
“I feel so alive for the very first time
I can’t deny you, I feel so alive
I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly”
Early on, it was considered somewhat “secret” that San Diego’s P.O.D. was a Christian nu-metal band. But Alive from 2001’s Satellite left no room for doubt with its lyrics aimed at a very specific ‘you’ (hint: it’s one of three people who are all of the same person). Few choruses are as rife with singalong potential as this one, especially on the high-pitched ‘ALI-EEV.’
9. Disturbed - Down With The Sickness
“Get up, come on, get down with the sickness
You mother, get up, come on, get down with the sickness
You fucker, get up, come on get down with the sickness
Madness is the gift that has been given to me”
Look, we all know that Disturbed’s most iconic line will always be David Draiman’s “OOOOWA-KA-KA-KA” noise, but we’re not sure that qualifies as a lyric. That said, everyone knows the rhythmic, gibbered second half of the chorus from the band’s classic Down With The Sickness. Just because you’re used to blending all of the words into a single nasal noise doesn’t mean there weren’t lyrics.
8. Static-X - Push It
“Yeah, you push it
Yeah, you push it
Yeah, you push it
Yeah, you push it”
Like many of the lyrics on this list, the chorus of Push It is more about how the words are said than the lyrics themselves. But it’s undeniable that this section of Static-X’s first big single is one of those lyrics you take with you until the day you die. If you’re planning on catching the band on their big reunion tour later this year, you’re probably already rehearsing your “Push it push-AAH.”
7. Crazy Town - Butterfly
“Come my lady, come come my lady
You’re my butterfly, sugar baby
Come my lady, come come my lady
I’ll make your legs shake, you make me go crazy”
Love it or hate it, Butterfly quickly became one of the most recognizable nu-metal songs of all time. In fact, few people remember that it was the second single from Crazy Town’s 1999 album The Gift Of Game, the first being the hard-rock rager Toxic. At the end of the day, this is the song the band will be known for, the ultimate soundtrack to a striptease in a trailer park.
6. Coal Chamber - Loco
Mi loco, mi loco
Mi loco, mi loco”
Once more, pronunciation is vital to these lyrics from Coal Chamber’s first big single. The second half of this chorus involves a high-pitched shriek that few if any singers could imitate (though many tried, nu-metal being a genre that was eventually ruined by imitators). Hats off to this one for being one of the gothier, more metal tracks on the list, and for convincing many a suburban white kid that they spoke Spanish.
5. Linkin Park - Crawling
“Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real”
It’s hard to pick a Linkin Park track that could be labeled the “most iconic” (we’ve certainly done so in the past, though). But what makes the chorus of Crawling especially powerful is how fans who love the song deliver it. You have to really scream these lines, spewing them out of your broken heart; this isn’t a song you can just casually sing or add a “shoo bop” to (well, you can, but you sound like an ass).
4. Korn - Freak On A Leash
“Something takes a part of me
You and I were meant to be
A cheap fuck for me to lay
Something takes a part of me”
If we’re not counting Jonathan Davis’ incredible scat performances, then Freak On A Leash’s chorus is definitely Korn’s most well-known lyric. In part, it’s because this section of the sound allows fans to explore all of Jonathan’s vocal styles, from deep bellowing to high keening. One of the most well-known sets of lyrics that people sing while audibly not knowing them.
3. Drowning Pool - Bodies
“Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the…”
Though it’s a hard pick between the chorus and pre-chorus of Drowning Pool’s 2001 smash hit (the counting part is especially classic), it’s finally the former that wins. Not only do these lines make people think of nu-metal, they make people think of all the genre’s trappings: tribal tattoos, ball-chain necklaces, tough guys who self-identify as “warrior poets.” Maybe the genre’s most iconic song, even if its lyrics are still three down on this list.
2. Papa Roach - Last Resort
“Cut my life into pieces
This is my last resort
Suffocation, no breathing
Don’t give a fuck if I cut my arm, bleeding”
What makes the lyrics of Papa Roach’s Last Resort especially powerful is that they open the song. This 2001 anthem starts with no instruments, no sample intro — just Jacoby Shaddix yelling these lines about self harm. As such, they’ve become an acapella shout-along for any fans talking about nu-metal, rap metal, the early 2000s, or kids who feel alone in the world.
1. Limp Bizkit - Nookie
“I did it all for the nookie (Come on)
The nookie (Come on)
So you can take that cookie
And stick it up your (Yeah!)”
How could any song even come close? Love them or hate them, Fred Durst’s iconic lines about shoving a cookie up an antagonist’s ass are the most widely-recognized lyrics in all of nu-metal. Everyone has watched a friend turn their cap around, make a series of the least cool hand motions imaginable, and yell these four lines in a high gangster tone. This right here is the entire genre, summed up in one bizarre confluence of slang and anger.
As we await Linkin Park’s emergence from their post-Chester Bennington limbo, we’ve ranked every album the great vocalist produced with the inimitable Californian rockers…
If You Wanna Breathe My Sulfur is a reminder why mash-ups exist, and proof that God is dead.