Limp Bizkit : New Old Songs

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?

Stephen Dalton