No guitarist? How about some remixes, then. Nice one!...
Whether you hate them, loathe them or wish them a
swift and bloody death, Limp Bizkit are a grimly
impressive monument on the modern rock landscape. Fred
Durst has become the Osama Bin Laden of rap-metal,
fanatically worshipped by his unquestioning disciples,
but roundly despised by the rest of the world. There
is no middle ground. At least, there wasn’t until now.
Because this remix anthology is, unexpectedly, the
best Limp Bizkit album ever.
You heard. Why? Because
it finds room for all the musical strands that Durst’s
gang always pay lip service to but never quite pull
off – techno, R&B, funk, even drum’n’bass. Because
much of it has a lightness of touch that a standard Bizkit album, with its ruthlessly calculated mix of
bullying bluster and marketable machismo, can not
deliver. Most of all, because Fred doesn’t dominate.
To give Durst due credit – or at least his spin
doctors and presidential advisors – there are some
witty and surprisingly decent inclusions here.
Bizkit‘s traumatically duff novelty cover of George Michael‘s ‘Faith’, for example, is reborn as an
unlikely hybrid homage to David Bowie‘s stuttering
funk-pop smash ‘Fame’. DJ Monk’s darkbeat remake of
‘Rollin’ slots Fred’s guttural growls into
ragga-friendly drum’n’bass shoes with inspired
smoothness, while Bosko sneaks vocoder phunk into the
hard-step blast of ‘Crushed’.
Some obvious guest stars also do their thing.
Superstar nu-soul producers The Neptunes find prancing
grace in ‘Nookie’ and fashion a Wu-Tang style loop
around the Method Man duet ‘N2Gether Now’, in each case
elbowing Durst to the edge of the frame. And
Timbaland’s reshuffle of the ‘Take A Look Around’ is also an improvement,
swapping testosterone bluster for Eastern-tinged beats
and vapour-trail guitars.
That said, the hefty sportz-jock body armour of
nu-metal is clearly not naturally suited to the nimble
art of remix culture. Hence in-house DJ Lethal’s pared
down ‘Break Stuff’, Durst’s most brutally effective
hate anthem, which sounds like a 25-stone Hell’s Angel
zipping around on a dinky scooter. And not even
Taliban-style Bizkit fundamentalists need five –
that’s [I]five[/I] – new versions of ‘My Way’, already a
charmless bully of a tune. Puff Diddy Doddy The Magic Dragon, or whatever he’s called this week, strips the
track to something approximating his ‘Godzilla’
soundtrack stomp ‘Come With Me’, while DJ Premier and
William Orbit bite out a few nondescript chunks. Only
the Dub Pistols have the right idea by burying Durst’s
whiny throwdown lyrics almost entirely inside a
midtempo dancehall scuttle. Nice one.
So then – four or five excellent tracks out of 16.
Hardly world-shaking stuff, but a vast improvement on
Bizkit‘s usual batting average. And who knows – maybe
a little of the subtlety, wit and invention displayed
here will rub off on Osama Bin Durst himself?