Why Limp Bizkit's idiotic rap-metal represents a cresting wave of alt-rock conservatism.
A light, pop quiz. What is Fred Durst?
A) The brash, churlish rapper-singer for the chart-topping hip-hop-rock outfit Limp Bizkit.
B) An ambitious grassroots entrepreneur and proto-Master P of the burgeoning rap-metal revolution.
C) A recently knighted senior vice president of Interscope Records.
D) A rapacious little hunk of jackal spawn with the cold-eyed ambition of a corporate raider and the soul of a gnat.
Trick question. In the last couple of weeks, Durst and his accomplices in the vile Limp Bizkit have both sullied a perfectly good rock ‘n’ roll word with their grimly misogynistic single “Nookie,” and — if the media-porn flowing out of Woodstock 99 like chapters from a post-Korn “Lord of Flies” is true — goaded a mosh pit to acts of violence that included the gang rape of a crowd-surfing woman. All of the above. And worse.
Paradigmatically, their “Significant Other” is the vanguard of a wave of conservatism in alt-rock that’s just beginning to crest. Durst may be an idiot but he’s no dummy. With “Nookie” he and bandmates Wes Borland, Sam Rivers, John Otto and DJ Lethal have taken everything playful out of the Chili Peppers and everything turgid and challenging out of Tool. They’ve drained Korn’s Reznorian density and flattened hip hop into a girder for rants against primary oppressors — Durst’s ex-girlfriend and the disgusting sexual response that keeps him crawlin’ back to the bitch. In short, they’ve taken dumb shtick and made it dumber; they’ve taken mean music and made it meaner. “Every day is nothin’ but stress to me / I’m constantly dwellin’ on how you got the best of me / I wanna know something I can’t believe the way you keep testin’ me / Mentally molesting me … I’m stuck with my dick in my hand / Because you don’t feel nothin’ at all,” etc., etc.
Which pretty much sums up the attitude: Young white male subject to a hostile world reaches boiling point known to Uzi-toting postal workers and high school shootists. “It’s just one of those days when you don’t wanna wake up / Everything is fucked / Everybody sucks / You don’t wanna know why but you wanna justify / Rippin’ someone’s head off.” Self-pity cum attachment disorder cum warfare. And suddenly the Korn-Rammstein-Manson golden era of freak-friendly goth-rock theater looks like Camelot.
Jon Dolan lives in Minneapolis and writes for several publications, including Spin, City Pages and barnes&noble.com. His reviews of the top albums on the Billboard 200 appear in Salon every week. More Jon Dolan.
More Related Stories
- Stop what you're doing and go watch "Borgen"
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- New York chef serves up eight-course meal around "Arrested Development" jokes
- HLN: Jodi Arias "pleading for her life" got us a ratings win!
- Michael Ian Black on Maron feud: He "considered me a poseur"
- Chekhov's story mirrors Russia's own
- Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina denied parole
- Joe Francis apologizes for calling jury "retarded"
- Mary Karr: David Foster Wallace and I kept each other alive
- Morgan Freeman sleeps during televised interview
- J.J. Abrams reveals deleted shower scene with Benedict Cumberbatch
- Is the anti-gay backlash on?
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- Cannes: Ryan Gosling's new movie draws the boo-birds
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- Juror responds to Joe Francis' insults with thoughtful email
- New track from the Lonely Island features Solange Knowles, semicolons
- Amazon introduces fan fiction publishing platform
- Naomi Watts, "Argo," "Wonderstone" among bizarre Teen Choice Awards nominees
- Imprisoned Pussy Riot member declares hunger strike
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11