What it feels like to listen to Limp Bizkit for the first time
Here at Kerrang! we have a lot of love for Limp Bizkit. That much is a given. They’ve done a lot for us and they’ve put out some sweet jams along the way. But what do all those normal, non-metal people think of the band? Y’know, the sort who think we’re all ridiculous for loving this music? That was the admittedly slim premise that prompted us to ask our very funny comedian pal Sarah Sumeray if she’d give Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water a listen for the first time and let us know what she reckoned. Because it’s nice to get some perspective on these things. Imagine hearing those songs afresh again – lucky, Sarah, right? Or maybe not…
When asked to listen to Limp Bizkit’s album Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water for the first time ever and review it, my initial thought was, ‘This has got to be an easier challenge than the time I was asked to review Slayer.’ My second thought was, ‘What’s a chocolate starfish? It sounds delicious.’ I Googled it; it isn’t.
I’ll be honest here. There’s one song on this album that I have in fact listened to before. More than once. In fact, a fair few times. When Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle) was released in 2000, I could often be found dancing around on my bed to my painfully low quality version of the song, taped straight from the radio. I’d gel my hair back into the tightest ponytail you’ve ever seen, wrap a bandana around my mouth, and slip on some hoop earrings big enough for an elephant to step through. Sure, once the song was over I was back to my bubblegum pop anthems, but for those short few minutes I was as cool and as gangster as they come.
Although a big fan of Rollin’, I never thought to listen to the rest of the album, mostly because I was around 13 years of age at the time and my pocket money wouldn’t have stretched that far. But hey, better late than never…
After repeating ‘Who’s in the house?’ several times, Limp Bizkit finally reveal in this introduction that it is in fact them – which is quite the relief, because I was really racking my brains to work out who was in the house. Annoyingly, I continue to have questions as I’m still not clear on what house they’re even referring to. Let’s just move on.
2. Hot Dog
For a song made up of lyrics that are approximately 70 per cent the word ‘fuck’, I was fairly surprised that Hot Dog was composed by a total of six songwriters. In one line, Fred Durst admits ‘If I say “fuck” two more times, that’s 46 “fucks” in this fucked-up rhyme’, which, fun fact, is only 811 times less than can be heard in the film Fuck: A Documentary On The Word.
A big first song, and one that had me almost reaching for my bandana once again. Yes, I still keep it in case of emergencies.
3. My Generation
Just a lovely little anthem dedicated to Generation X, containing a line of invaluable information: ‘Hey kid, take my advice, ya don’t want to step into a big pile of shit.’ I certainly don’t Fred, I certainly don’t.
4. Full Nelson
After listening to the previous songs, I had an inkling that Fred Durst may have been experiencing some form of bullying throughout the creation of this album – he’s just so angry, you know? – and it’s the opening lyric to this song that absolutely confirms it for me: ‘Why is everybody always picking on me?’
Now, I will never condone bullying and it’s not my place to judge, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that his tiny goatee at the time couldn’t have been helping the situation.
This song had me swinging my arms around and bobbing my head, but could have been more enjoyable were it not for the sad revelation.
5. My Way
It’s track number five and Fred has clearly had enough of being picked on by this point, as he retaliates by telling people that ‘This time I’ma stand up and shout’ and ‘I’ma do things my way’.
You don’t have to like the man but you’ve got to respect him for standing up for himself and sticking by his controversial choice of facial hair.
6. Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)
It might be 21 years later, but as if that stopped me digging out the bandana and jumping on my bed, obviously only after making sure the camera on my laptop was well covered – just in case.
7. Livin' It Up
If you were to ask me who Fred Durst’s favourite person was, I don’t know what my answer would be, but I doubt my first choice would have been Ben Stiller. However, the opening verse has Fred dedicating this song to Ben – Fred’s ‘favourite motherfucker’.
Other surprising revelations follow, such as that Fred is an alien, that he would like Christina Aguilera to ‘come and get some’ and that he’s watched Fight Club about 28 times.
Alright Fred, I’ve seen Titanic at least 30. No need to brag.
8. The One
This was an unexpectedly mellow tune. I’m surprised it wasn’t used as the opening theme to a grungy ’00s American teen drama. Unless it was, in which case, good move.
9. Getcha Groove On
I got some serious Eminem vibes from this track, apart from the line where Xzibit reveals that he and Fred ‘about to go half on Microsoft’. I reckon Eminem would have been more ambitious and reached for the likes of Apple.
10. Take A Look Around
No-one can deny that the theme tune to Mission: Impossible is up there with the best, along with The Lion King, Baywatch, ER, Goosebumps, and DuckTales, so Limp Bizkit’s choice to sample this for Take A Look Around was a good decision. As well as jumping up and down on my bed dancing to Rollin’, I discovered that I can also do a mean impression of a spy whilst listening to this song.
11. It'll Be OK
An emotional song that kicks off with the lyrics ‘I just read your letter, it says that you’ll be gone for a while’ and sets Fred off on a path of utter desperation, not knowing what to do with himself. Who it is that has written the letter isn’t clear, but we can only guess it’s from Ben Stiller.
Thinking that this song had ended, I almost went on to play the one that followed, but found that if you wait a little longer until the very, very end, a voice speaks the words:
‘Ladies, gentlemen / What you are experiencing is in fact an inner lie, man / I would like you to kick back / And think about everything you’ve just heard…’
This, of course, had me re-considering everything I thought I knew about Fred Durst. Had he actually been bullied at all, was he really an alien… DID HE EVEN CARE ABOUT BEN STILLER?
Too frightened of my own thoughts, I moved on to the next track.
13. Hold On
A much-needed slow tune to calm my racing mind, although I did analyse this song for any clues to reconfirm Fred’s love for Stiller. No luck.
14. Rollin' (Urban Assault Vehicle)
An angrier version of the one we all know. That’s it.
Finally, some questions are answered. Firstly, the track starts with a mission being signed-off, which sounds very much like it’s taking place in space, confirming that Fred Durst is in fact an alien. Secondly, as for why Fred’s self-confidence was at an all-time low during the making of the album… well, you just need to listen to the end of this outro to know, as BEN STILLER ROASTS FRED DURST FOR A TOTAL OF FIVE MINUTES. A shocking ending to the whole thing that wouldn’t look out of place in an Eastenders Christmas special.
This is one of the most volatile, toxic relationships I’ve ever come across and I’m frankly glad it wasn’t to last…
Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water is an album which I feel deserves more credit than it gets, especially after discovering that Fred Durst was being picked on throughout the creation of it. Have you ever tried writing a song whilst knowing that people are laughing about your facial hair behind your back? Or whispering about your Backstreet Boys bumbag that you’re extremely fond of? Trust me, it can really put a damper on your creativity.
You did your best, Durst. You did your best.
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