• Pop Vicious

Yankee Caps and Golden Cobras: The Tao of The Bizkit

written by: on July 19, 2011

Of all the nü-metal outfits that found prominence in the late ’90s and early ’00s, Limp Bizkit always sounded the most self-assured, and, consequently, the most annoying. From Fred Durst’s whiny vocals to the chunky, ponderous guitar work of Wes Borland, the band boasted a sound that rarely elevated above the level of a gimmick. In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine anyone even liking this music, let alone buying it or seeing it performed live.

And yet, people did­—yours truly, among them. So perhaps the best conclusion to draw is, while nü-metal may have been grating and juvenile, Limp Bizkit took the concept and ran with it, constructing radio rock anthems that were at one point extremely popular and these days make for a decent nostalgia trip.

Limp Bizkit’s brand of rap-metal fusion was packed with bells and whistles and all the confidence of a band that was wholly aware of the nerve they had tapped. Despite the gimmicky nature of a genre that blends hip-hop with hard rock, Limp Bizkit has never once winked at their audience or held any illusions that their rise to prominence was of a fleeting nature. In other words, Limp Bizkit had swag: gleefully oblivious swag.

Which brings us to their newest album, the absurdly titled Gold Cobra. The LP arrives after an extended hiatus, in which different members went solo or joined other groups or directed shitty movies. Musically, it’s akin to the albums released in their heyday—Three Dollar Bill, Y’all$, Significant Other and Chocolate St*rfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, to be specificand not like their brief foray into the avant-garde on an album they titled The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), which, as fate would have it, is about as avant-garde as a temper tantrum. Audiences are eagerly awaiting the second part of said temper tantrum.

Gold Cobra, meanwhile, is a conscious effort to recapture the sound that made them superstars.

Lucky for us.

This bravado is in full effect on Gold Cobra. Really, it’s as if the band is pretending the last decade never happened. “Remember all them ’90s things? Them ’90s hits we laced like this?” asks Durst on the albums opener, “Bring it Back.”

Just, barely Fred. But the band does a good job of reminding us. Essentially, each song on the record is a variation of this single idea: “Hey guys, remember when we had that winning formula? The unchecked and unsubstantiated redneck rage coupled with those noodley guitar riffs and cheesy metal breakdowns? Because we’ve still got it.”

And it’s done to the nines: from Durst’s violent outbursts at nameless and faceless enemies (“Get a life! Get a motherfucking life! You don’t wanna see what I can do with a knife” he yawps on “Get a Life”) to Borland incessant guitar work on tracks like “Douche Bag” and “Autotuneage,” the band clearly hasn’t forgot how to do whatever the hell it is they do.

So how do we measure Limp Bizkit’s worth in the present day poposphere? Surely, their moment in the sun has faded. At that, the industry in which they operate has also drastically changed. The success they saw in the late ’90s is nearly impossible to achieve in the present day. Simple pragmatism suggests that any attempt at a grand comeback would be in vain, as the 10- and 11-year olds who were the core of their fan base have (hopefully) moved on to a wider palate.

But remember that oblivious swag? That gratuitous and unearned boastfulness the band uses like a crutch? In a press conference announcing the return of the band, Durst proclaimed, “We decided we were more disgusted and bored with the state of heavy popular music than we were with each other … This is why Limp Bizkit is back.”

The parade of delusion marches on.

Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra Tracklist:

  1. “Introbra”
  2. “Bring It Back”
  3. “Gold Cobra”
  4. “Shark Attack”
  5. “Get A Life”
  6. “Shotgun”
  7. “Douche Bag”
  8. “Walking Away”
  9. “Loser”
  10. “Autotunage”
  11. “90.2.10”
  12. “Why Try”
  13. “Killer In You”