On the one hand, everyone knows what nu-metal is: big-trousered, aggressive metal with hip-hop influences. But on the other hand, isn’t it more than that? The label was applied equally to goonish silly-named clones sporting big wallet chains and genuine innovators like System Of A Down, Slipknot and Linkin Park.
Small wonder that most bands thought of as nu-metal reject the title – it’s too culturally loaded and easily dismissed as something silly, brash and samey, all (regrettable) style and no substance. But for every crew of goofy-ass one-hit wonders inexplicably given a million dollars on the strength of how spiky their hair was, there were legends being made.
It’s hard to pinpoint a handful of moments that fully sum up a genre/movement/era as nebulous as nu-metal, and embody the combination of silliness and seriousness, of artistry and commerce.
But hey, let’s try!