Do you want to know why I’m starting to believe that 2012 is the end of the world? Because it has to be. Hell, at this point I hope it’s sooner. Consider this a small sign of the apocalypse: a couple of weeks ago, Billboard announced Nickelback’s Dark Horse as the best selling hard rock album of 2010. Dark Horse is a terrible album by an awful band, an album so bad that it relies on idiomatic blanket statements to emphasize just how bland it is. It’s like listening to dry paint. Paint which is dry because Dark Horse came out in 2008 and yet here we are, with 2010 coming to a close and listeners still finding new ways to avoid the heap-shit that is Nickelback’s sixth album.
That’s where Fred Durst comes in. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the hump that breaks the [dark] horse’s back. Then maybe, just maybe, we can take Dark Horse behind the shed and shoot it one, two, three times in the fucking head. Limp Bizkit has the chance to save hard rock, but for that to happen, and for Durst & co. to make my weirdest dreams come true, they’ll actually have to release Gold Cobra, their first release in a decade with their original line up. The problem is, I’m starting to think it’ll never come out.
For a lot of early-to-mid 20-somethings, Limp Bizkit represents the point where the fulcrum separating nostalgia and irony breaks into honest-to-blog admiration. For all their goonish aping, there’s an undeniable charm to the L-I-M-P’s first 1-2-3 records. Amidst Fred Durst’s struggle with how to irritate in as many different voices as possible there were some surprisingly strong melodies to be found in their music. No, seriously. While Wes Bordland has never been good at guitar, regardless of what people say, Bizkit’s always boasted one hell of a riddim section. John Otto was metronomic-if-basic but Sam Rivers played his bass so well I once saw his frets catch fire. Either that or they lit up. Still, he’s good. Since the band hasn’t been relevant for close to a decade, just enough time passed for us yuppie-hipster-indie-ironists to appreciate them on a more honest level—as a recollection of hard rock’s simpler times. A time when popularity came with Yankee caps and JNCO jeans. A time that’s since been replaced by an endless stream of Chad Kroeger influenced douchebags singing or moaning or whatever it is they do about fucking strippers on drugs while watching professional wrestling.
What I’m getting at is that against all logic, Limp Bizkit’s stuff has aged pretty gracefully, which is my way of saying that while it’s just as silly as it was ten years ago, we can appreciate their excess on another level. I don’t sympathize with their “fuck this fucking shit” attitude (anymore), but it makes for a goofy compliment to the occasionally solid groove. Even while I realize they were never all that great in the first place, they’re sure as shit better than what we’re stuck with now. Now Limp Bizkit hits me in a place that cruises between nostalgia and irony, just a shade short of a terrible moustache and a level above Orgy. Remember those guys? So when Fred Durst finished vocals for Gold Cobra back in April, I paid attention. When he started tweeting samples from the new songs, I listened. It was definitely Limp Bizkit—still kind of terrible, I can’t argue that, but as irritatingly groovy as ever. One tweet was a video of Durst driving around listening to “Shark Attack”, a would be lead-single for the album if it ever comes out. Calling “Shark Attack” a re-write of “Break Stuff” isn’t far from the truth, but “Break Stuff” is a pretty catchy tune. As similar as the chord progressions are, the clincher comes just a few seconds in as Durst starts the track telling us that it’s just one of those days; not one where you don’t want to wake up, but one of those days that feels like a shovel, because as he puts it, there’s “a whole lot of shit in the way”. Even still, one can assume everything is by all accounts still fucked. By no means a poet, I’ll take Durst’s terrible metaphors over Kroegers “get drunk every night start a fight” bullshit two hundred times out of ten. My dislike for Nickelback defies mathematical logic.
So, then, what’s the point of all this? It’s simple, really. Limp Bizkit have the chance to save what they popularized. Gold Cobra was slated for a ‘summer 2010’ release and it could have dethroned the shame of Canada as the kings of hard rock. This didn’t happen. Durst finished recording vocals for Gold Cobra in April. Eight months and several song-leaks later, Gold Cobra still doesn’t have a release date. It has a cover, though, and it’s bloody hilarious. Picture this: a naked woman lying on her back on a solid gold cobra whose ears are filled with speakers. You couldn’t make this up if you tried. If you tried and did then congratulations, you’re in Limp Bizkit. Now please release the fucking album already.
Fred Durst and his band of misfits—not to be confused with that band, the Misfits—could have saved hard rock from a guy who sucks his own dick. Maybe they still can. No, it’s probably not a genre worth saving, but for the sake of anyone who’s ever been to a hockey game or caught in a sports bar, Limp Bizkit have the chance to make our stays tolerable, or kitschy and fun at the very least. Nobody expects Gold Cobra to revolutionize the genre because Hard Rock is unsalvegeable. It’s the stagnant stop-gap between alt rock and heavy metal, two genres that kind of suck in their own right. It’s the paper towel we use when we forget to buy toilet paper. Limp Bizkit might not be cashmere blend, but they’re the Sponge Towel of the music world—not ideal, but probably still better than the alternative. Nickelback? Nickelback is the sock you’ve been wearing for 8 straight hours. Ew, right?
I don’t know when Gold Cobra is going to come out. I wish I did. Let’s just hope it’s soon. There will always be a market for so-bad-it’s-good irony and for schlocky nostalgia, and Limp Bizkit check every box on the list. Put the album out, Fred. Save us from Nickelback. Linkin Park can’t cut it anymore: they’ve gone and ‘matured’ on us, which is a nice way of saying they’re old and boring now. Plus “The Catalyst” was just an awful single. I mean, really. It’s like a P.O.D. b-side recorded with Super Metroid playing in the background. Limp Bizkit, you’re ten years removed from your last album that mattered. You know, the one about buttholes. Let’s bring that magic back. Hard rock is yours to save, guys. Please hurry.