Album: Limp Bizkit, "Gold Cobra" (Interscope)
Let's get this out of the way first: this is not a good record. It's terrible, in fact.
It is, however, pretty funny. Not, like, Paton Oswalt funny; you will not be lamely attempting to retell Fred Durst's autotune jokes over lunch tomorrow: "...and then he goes 'IMA AUTOTUNE SOME METAL Y'ALL!'" No amount of waiting for guffaws is going to let that one come back to you. But it's still a funny album -- not as funny as "Chinese Democracy," maybe, but probably only because they didn't spend as much time in the studio.
Really what Limp Bizkit have become are today's Three Stooges, even though there are probably more than three of them. There is obviously a surfeit of physical, slapstick-based comedy in today's hurlyburly world, because there are only so many Jonah Hills to go around: imagine Fred Durst and Wes Borland rushing in, arms and legs akimbo, to fill this hole. Take "Douche Bag," for instance, where Fred seems to be telling somebody he's a phony douchebag while at the same time bragging about his "gat" and his ability to "blow you away" while you "lie in that bed you made." Homoerotic? Hell naw! Limp Bizkit will kick your ass for even suggesting it: "Douche bag, I'm a fuck you up, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you up." It's the modern equivalent of Curly stepping on a rake, then windmilling his arms and falling back into Moe, who then slaps Larry on the head, who in turn pokes Curly in the eyes. And it gets me every time.
Or how about "Why Try," where Fred rhymes lots of stuff with, apparently, pizza pie: "So why try, you're gonna die / you're going straight to the gate in the sky / with all the hate I relate to the cry / one more sucker mc gonna fry." Again, it's not Shakespeare, or even Oswalt's "sadness-in-a-bowl," but it'll do for killing time at work, right?
But it's not all fun and games on "Gold Cobra." Opener "Introbra" (it's a play on "cobra," get it?) features some fuzzy bass noises and tape loops and some unfortunate Durst vocalizations in his "I don't wanna do my homework, ma!" range. Is it just me, or has his yelp gotten higher pitched over the years? Isn't puberty supposed to work the other direction? In any case, this 1:21 is as original as it gets all night, so buckle those seatbelts, hands and arms inside the car at all times.
"Bring it Back" reveals some kind of weak stab at horrorcore ("No red no green, Imma paint this black and crack your spleen") amidst a standard-issue numetal riff overlaid with what a rich white man might take to be cutting-edge "hip-hop" filigree; the title track stays in this vein, except adds echos and more swear words. Fred is really mad about playas hatin'! I would be mad, too, if 95% of my core audience grew pubic hair and moved on to Death Cab For Cutie, but what you gonna do, chump?
Most of this stuff is forgettable -- even allowing for the fact that you knew it would probably be forgettable before you opened the shrinkwrap. "Shark Attack" sounds like some other Limp Bizkit song you probably heard in a movie about drag racing once. "Get a Life" is another sad attempt to be street, with a nice little melodic center passage that hints at what they might be able to accomplish if they weren't perpetually busy at being irrelevant turd polishers. No matter how many bass thumps or fret runs or fuck bombs the band throws in, none of it does more than glance off the surface, musically or verbally, like poor, doomed Porkins hitting the Death Star in all the wrong spots because Ben Kenobi isn't in his visor telling him how to relax and let go.
As mentioned earlier, it's at least sort of funny listening to Fred Durst's already annoying voice tweaked into new levels of unbearable by auto-tuning it. It's almost like he knows how terrible his voice sounds to most humans, so he keeps pushing the levels higher and producing more robotic feedback from the computer. You'll almost admire him for his willingness to explicate an already sick joke. Almost.
For all the talk about Durst and Bizkit as some sort of evil troll cancer machine, their worst crimes have generally involved being boring and normal. "Shotgun" is just stupid. "Everybody jumps from the sound of the shotgun / In my neighborhood everybody got one." You live in Beverly Hills, Fred. Grow up.
Maturity is probably asking a bit too much of Limp Bizkit at this point, so can we at least shoot for "entertaining" next time, boys?