Monday, 22 May 2017

Limp Bizkit "Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water" (2000)


Striking while the iron is hot, the Jacksonville Nu Metal band Limp Bizkit did not mess around getting another record out of the back of their massive success "Significant Other". Fifteen months later the group essentially release another album from the same blueprint, selling over one million records in the first week making it the fastest selling rock record of all time. Working with Terry Date again they make another chart topping collection of catchy, crowd bouncing, party moshing songs, tightening up the previous sound and recreating their formula for easier consumption. This was probably my favorite record as a teen. I still remember buying my copy at my local record store, the album cover was plastered all over the walls and shelves.

Every now and then I just have to give the Limp a listen. With this blog at the back of my mind I always have a more inquisitive experience with the music. This time around the exploits of this record seemed more obvious than ever. Limp master their formula for energetic, bouncy riffs, Fred's catchy hooks and rocking drum grooves, arranging them with a back and forth between the verse and chorus that slowly raises the mood for the "money riff" to kick in with a mammoth weight. They then wind it down, bring it back up and kick in with the knockout riff again before lumping in an alternate section at the end. The majority of songs follow this arrangement and those that don't come rather close, it must be said "Take A Look Around" is an absolutely brilliant perfection of this approach. The big riff is just slamming and the build ups get me fired up every time, even when you know exactly whats coming.

To my ears, Limp's guitar sound may just explain how such an angry, aggressive, urban and metallic band took their sound to the masses. The guitars are mostly contained within a space, when the distortion kicks in its got that ripe, vibrant texture and the groove is bold, loud and obvious, however unlike more traditional Metal guitar tones, its rather contained, within its own part of the mix and not bleeding out or smothering any other sounds, its not as dense or thick but tonal. Most of the songs have a lot of effects soaked acoustic guitars, lively, deep musical baselines from Sam and pumping Hip Hop grooves from John, the two have a fantastic chemistry and their professional background shows. In essences, the fiery rage the band have in their hooks is like a beast in a cage, brought out at just the right moment and locked up again for the average listener to recover from.

The albums fifteen songs flow is also really similar to its predecessor. The catchiest party tunes are loaded in the front end behind the intro, it starts to get more melodic and varied as the record plays on, a Hip Hop track jumps in towards the end, similar to "N 2 Gether Now" but this time with Xzibit, the two exchanging some sub par raps, however the alternate "Rollin" song has Method Man returning along with Redman and DMX, who Ive recently been listening to. The obnoxious beat was produced by Swizz Beats who also handled production on X's records. After it the album fizzles out with a long interlude outro track and like before a handful of "hidden" tracks are throw into the negative space of a tracks run time on the CD release.

I never thought this one was their best but from a popularist perspective it could well be, at the peak of the Nu Metal, Rap Metal craze the LB fine tuned their craft for the charts and I have fond memories of seeing them on MTV every day after school. To throw in some criticism, Fred's raps at times get rather sour for lack of a better word. I consider Fred to be a great front man for moving a crowd with his fun and quirky style. Rap is a tool for him to use but when paired up with some authentic rappers his rhymes sound flimsy and immature in comparison. He is always the point of contention and I think the rest of the group are nothing but solid, especially with their more expansive songs like "Boiler", "The One" and "It'll Be OK". Its not a record time will serve well but it will always be a gem to me, no thanks to the moody teenage feels those seventeen years ago.

Favorite Tracks: Hot Dog, Full Nelson, My Way, The One, Take A Look Around, It'll Be Ok
Rating: 7/10

4 comments:

  1. Compared to Significant Other and 9 Dollar bill, Hot Dog Flavoured water's lyrics are banal at best and infantile at worst. Wes Borland is the only saving grace on this album, without his riffs it would have been a whiney man in a reverse red cap trying to annoy his mum with swear words.

    For me this was the low point of Nu Metal, a signal of the end. I appreciate that you automatically link it with your halcyon days but that doesn't make the album good. Fortunately LB went back to form on The Unquestionable Truth.

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    1. Id partially agree, lyrics are in the gutter at times but the hooks are very appealing and catchy. Wes's riffs aren't the only positive aspect, John and Sam make these instrumentals fantastic. Id recommend listening to the rolling instrumental, its like a whole new song without Fred on it. :-)

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    2. I find it strange that you never did a tool album.. 10.000 days is my favortite.. but it is a hard pick with all their gems

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    3. Still havent gotten into them, im sure it will click one day :-)

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