Limp Bizkit – Still Sucks: Review

It wasn’t until Woodstock 99: Love, Peace, & Rage that I was able to hop out of my shell and embrace who I am, or rather, who many of us are, a Limp Bizkit fan. Can you blame me (them)? They exemplified the personification of young white male rage from the angst-filled young adults looking to unwind in chaotic ways. And with the kind of topsy-turvy world we’ve been in for the last year and a half, sometimes seeing these artists/bands come back from long hiatuses has been an ethereal experience – it’s uncanny, fun, and surprising – all three personify Limp Bizkit’s new album, Still Sucks. Still Sucks is a cheeky nu-metal rap album that broadens the scopes of Fred Durst’s vocal performances while still giving us that “YEAAAH” Fred Durst we’ve come to love and appreciate, albeit being far from a great album.

Due to the heightened publicity that stemmed from the Woodstock 99 documentary, it allowed Limp Bizkit to promote it their way. Starting with the illustrious Lollapalooza, Fred Durst created an Instagram account and took on a new persona as he took us through a journey where the hypnotic “Dad Vibes” was unleashed onto the world. Donning a grey wig, dockers, and an older-tweed blazer before donning the puffy jacket, Fred is back to his old way – focusing on the tongue-in-cheek lyricism that evokes participation from the audience and amplifies the unquantifiable energy that resonates within our souls. 

But Limp Bizkit knows one thing: the connection between their audience and the mentality. Due to it, a lot of the childish and comically-straight forward nu-metal has given them their own identity, only bolstered by DJ Lethal with his infectious vinyl scratches commanding the lead like on “Dirty Rotten Bizkit,” though it doesn’t take away from what the band does – bringing infectious energy on heightened bombastic songs, like on “Barnacle.” These types of songs bring out enjoyment from casuals who like some gritty righteousness and fuckery.

Still Sucks emboldens an artistic direction that quickly runs in not-so-rampant directions. There is that Bizkit-ness oozing out the seams, but Fred Durst lies to himself with odd acoustic ballads. You hear him break down the parameters of his life today, weighing on heavy subjects, and it’s where the album loses you. Two songs (“Don’t Change” and “Empty Hole”) are centered on an acoustic base for the strings, as Fred Durst laments on themes of change and love. And unironically, Limp Bizkit closes the album with their most pop sound song in some time, “Goodbye” – it weaves tender guitar riffs with subtle bass strings as the antithesis of who they are. Like Durst’s soul, it comes from a well-meaning place since he speaks on pushing away depressive thoughts and lifting your serotonin levels.

Unfortunately, Fred Durst isn’t the best vocalist – his melodies are rough, and they tend to be equivocal to stale fingernails on the chalkboard. Durst comes from the heart, and it’s something to admire, but it doesn’t work. However, it isn’t constant, and he flips the script on “You Bring Out The Worst In Me” – his melodies switch from somber to uproarious, giving fans crazy energy they’ve almost always delivered. And Wes Boreland delivers ethereal guitar riffs that shift with the tone, become the consistent highlight in these songs.

Outside of this not-so-new and always off-brand approach by Limp Bizkit has pulled them from delivering a phenomenal album from start to finish. Unfortunately, they never pick their pants up from the bootstraps and give it their all. But when they do, we are given the fun and madness that comes in the form of “Dirty Rotten Bizkit” and “Snacky Poo,” as Fred Durst gives it his best in the flow and lyricism. The former blends this elegant synergy between vocalists and instrumentalists, especially, DJ Lethal who makes it a focal point for the vinyl scratches to amplify the backing for the rest of the instruments.

Still Sucks doesn’t always suck, and sometimes you have to let loose and enjoy things as they are given – that is how Limp Bizkit rolls. Fan or not, it fits how we feel about the shift from warm to cold – we just want to let loose, warm up, and break things. Despite the score, Limp Bizkit’s new album is a thrill as Fred Durst brings dad vibes to the masses!

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love, and Rage: Film Review

The beauty and whimsy of 1970’s Woodstock is something the few to many have experienced once in their lifetime. It captured the calm and effervescent unity amongst the festival-goers. 30 years later, we would see the reverse happen at Woodstock ‘99. The festival defined a cultural shift in society that didn’t parallel the 1994 festival. They direct partial blame toward pop music, which didn’t fit the mold of the 90s counterculture. Garret Price’s new film Woodstock ‘99: Peace, Love, and Rage delivers dueling cases for the horrors and beauty of the festival.

Garret Price delivers an informative horror flick and concert documentary full of ideas that have a thin veil, like most true crime documentary series trending today. What they bring into the fold are these ideas about the raging toxic masculinity that has allowed many acts of sexual assault to go undermined in the aftermath, the auditory response from the audience, and the lengths to which a performer knew what they were brewing. 

As the documentary stacks idea after idea, there are moments where the film starts to tread between pieces of information undercut by stunningly restored footage of the concert from the various archives  – MTV/Pay-Per-View/Print media. However, it cuts corners to keep intact the most glaring issues, one of which culminated from an underlying motto of the original festival: FREE LOVE

Free love wasn’t necessarily free in 1999 unless you were one of many aggressors who chose to redefine the term free. 1999 had people violating females, ages as young as 14, and the idea of free love on both ends was an expression of love of one’s body with the amount boobs present and the toxic-rape culture with the amount of sexual assault reported. In the documentary, Moby mentions that within the nu-metal and rap, the understanding was absent and picking apart what they like: misogyny and homophobia, which fueled frat boy rape culture.

Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, and Metallica weren’t on a tight leash. The underlying issue stemmed from a callous nature when performing. It was a matter of trying to find equilibrium between an image and the safety of the attendees. It shifts the perception of the concert as this wild rage-fueled event, and it undermines performance highlights and any positive discourse throughout the past 22 years. These discussions spread from the infrastructure to the pre-established sentiment created by MTV in the fight between the uproarious and bombastic rap-rock/nu-metal and the new age of fun and hyperactive teen-pop, amongst others.

Garret Price creates juxtaposition by breaking nostalgia glasses and forcing us to see glaring differences between the three festivals. Unfortunately, despite the number of beautiful highlights, there isn’t much to digest outside of nu-metal and Limp Bizkit made white boys extra harsh and rapey.

Piece-by-Piece, more issues get passed over in simple mentions by the interviewed artists, attendees, and music critics. It makes the marketing of the film slightly manipulative as it breezes through topics swiftly. There are moments the film shows you the all-night party for fans of electronic music and Moby, which gets tossed aside like a salad on pizza night.

The film takes the time to show the chaos, but it lacks proper cohesion in the editing shifting around these topics like a commercial right before the climax. There have been exposés and articles revisiting and detailing the events of the festival. At a point in the film, you hear Rolling Stone Magazine’s music editor, Rob Sheffield, remember having to sleep on white pizza boxes for its linear comfortability and piss visibility. The amount of trash and debauchery preceding the peak of the chaos, with grace and debilitating nausea, became an afterthought. The many attendees had a mindset that mirrored those from the 94 festival: one last hurrah before adulthood. 

Garret Price does a solid job telling you this horrific and chaotic story that formed the wrong kind of unity and demonized an ideal that held for years. It’s filled with beautiful restorations of performance and unique interviews from critics and festival-goers. I recommend this to whoever enjoys a solid music documentary that shies away from an individualized artist.

Rating: 7 out of 10.