Greatest Hitz

Limp Bizkit

Flip/Geffen, 2005

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Someday, we’re going to have to explain Limp Bizkit to our kids.

It won’t be because they hear them on the radio, or because a scholarly discussion of great rock bands would ever reveal their name, but because they will be leafing through our mp3 files or CD cases and come across, say, “Rearranged” or “Nookie” or “Faith,” and they will have questions.

And so we will have to explain that rap-rock was actually a thing, that the latter part of the ‘90s – a wonderful decade up until this point, musically – was full of bands like KoRn, Limp, Linkin Park and Kid Rock that dominated radio and CD Walkman players of high school boys. We will explain that detuned over-amped riffs, no guitar solos and angry white boys offering woe-is-me or fuck-all-y’all lyrics was somehow appealing. Rage Against the Machine, which pretty much started it all, gets a pass because they stood for change and hoped to use their music to bring it about, just like the punks of old.

And we will have to explain Fred Durst. Good luck with that.

What set Limp Bizkit apart from those other bands was their party vibe. You couldn’t play Deftones or “Freak On A Leash” at a frat party, but you could play Significant Other. And despite Durst’s lyrics and approach, a handful of the songs still aren’t half bad, if indicative of their time and place. Put it this way: Greatest Hitz is all the Limp you will ever need. Trust me on this.

Two songs from the debut start things off, the funny George Michael cover of “Faith” and the somewhat awkward “Counterfeit,” the sound of a band finding its sound. Significant Other was an artistic leap forward and the band’s finest hour, but that’s not saying much. “Break Stuff” is anger that any 12 year old can relate to, “Nookie” is a fine piece of music with a regrettable chorus and the same goes for “N 2 Gether Now,” which is great as a rap/rock hybrid but is undone by its repeated request in the chorus to “shut the fuck up.” I wish you would. However, “Rearranged” remains a subtle highlight, a breakup song with Durst singing in his more appealing lower register.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Oh, but then things devolve quickly. Things went off the rails with Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water, with extremely liberal uses of profanity and even worse lyrics. Titling a song “My Generation” immediately puts you in the role of spokesperson, and while Pete Townshend could do it, Fred Durst cannot, nor do any of us in said generation want him to. “My Way” is yet another kiss-off to an ex with signature bad lyrics (“Just one more fight about your leadership / And I will straight up leave your shit”), “Boiler” goes nowhere and “Take A Look Around,” while musically sound in its rewrite of the Mission: Impossible theme, is undone by (surprise!) the lyrics. Sample lines: “Better stay on top or life will kick you in the ass / Remember that, kid, so whatchu wanna do / And Where you gonna run with the barrel of a mic pointed at your grill like a gun?” Oh, and “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” is here, too, so there’s that.

Guitarist Wes Borland, the best thing about the band, left after this debacle, and things got even worse with Results May Vary. Hint: telling the audience the final product isn’t very good, especially when your band is named Limp, does not instill confidence in said audience. True to the title, that album was pretty bad, not least because of the ham-fisted, self-serving cover of “Behind Blue Eyes,” which Durst seemed to cover primarily because it talks about being misunderstood and angry. The megaphone-added “L-I-M-P” spelling section in the center turns the whole thing into a joke. “Why” and “Lean On Me,” B-sides from that album, are added here as well to entice collectors who felt like legally purchasing two Limp songs that they didn’t need. Those people can vote, by the way.

To finish the disc, a medley cover of “Home Sweet Home/Bittersweet Symphony” is present, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Some versions of this add on “The Truth,” one of the seven songs from the band’s short 2005 album The Unquestionable Truth, Vol. 1, in which Borland rejoined the fold. It’s actually a pretty good song until you realize it could easily fit onto Rage Against the Machine’s first album. Evidently, that’s the route Limp decided they had to take, and after that one disc, they called it quits until 2011.

It was cool to like Limp for about two years and then it was cool to hate them for the rest of time. Or maybe we just grew up. I don’t know if we can explain it to our kids, but then again, our parents couldn’t really explain Iron Butterfly, bell bottoms or smoking banana skins to us. It was just part of the era, and anyone looking to relive it, or rediscover it, will find Greatest Hitz to be a great time capsule, if not necessarily great music. For the casual Limp fan, it’s more than enough. For everyone else, outside of one or two songs, they will wonder why this band was ever popular.

Explain that.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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