The legacy of rap rock nu-metal maestros Limp Bizkit left a lasting impression on the world of music, whilst today the popularity of the group has diminished enormously due to guitarist Wes Borland leaving the band and nu-metal falling out of fashion there is one thing the group will always be remembered for: they showed that it can still be cool to wear baggy pants and a backwards red cap when you are 30. Lead singer Fred Durst has largely been the major butt of criticism from detractors to the group, a showy, big-mouthed white boy trying to play it cool rapping will always find an uphill battle for himself but for many since Limp Bizkit took to the mainstream around 2000 or so, Durst found himself on many a music fans dartboard for a variety of reasons.
It's easy to dismiss the group for his presence, or the fact they aren't looked upon as incredible musicians, especially today (Wes Borland was okay, we know), but even so with all said and done the group did have a few songs which are well constructed in a pop sense and could get a party going. Whilst this is a far from consistently worthwhile career to investigate, this is precisely why sometime around 2004 when the last thing anyone really heard from Limp Bizkit was a decent enough cover by The Who from the poorly received album Results May Vary somebody decided these guys need a tribute album. Not just any tribute, a classical tribute album. Word.
The Los Angeles based Section Quartet is pretty well known for transcribing popular music into classical quartet pieces, they have recorded entire albums of performances dedicated to the music of artists such as Radiohead, Incubus, Nine Inch Nails, Audioslave, and Tool, and pieces from groups as diverse The Strokes, Coldplay, Queens of the Stone Age, The Clash, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This may leave you scratching your head, but it's only when you realise the implications of recording an entire album of classical pieces based off the work of a fading rap metal act which leaves you wondering just who came up with the idea for this project. Picture a group of trained classical musicians in a room, perched on seats, huddling their instruments whilst discussing the direction of their playing session, who should play what and where they should play it. Now envision them reading transcriptions off of sheet music labelled "N 2 Gether Now", "Break Stuff" and "Nookie". Do it. It is a surreal moment, in my humble opinion. Make no mistake however. The String Quartet Tribute to Limp Bizkit is real
, and is completely mindboggling.
The tracks covered are obvious choices from their most popular era, Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)
, My Way
, My Generation
, N 2 Gether Now
, Break Stuff
etc. Their cover of George Micheal's Faith
from Three Dollar Bill Y'all appears as well (A String Quartet Tribute to George Micheal? Fabulous), as well as Counterfeit
. I'm unfamiliar with tracks such as Eat You Alive
, Build A Bridge
and Ventilation Management
but i'm guessing they are either off Three Dollar Bill Y'all or from somewhere in their post-Chocolate Starfish descent into obscurity. It doesn't matter. Every arrangement here is exactly what you expect, classical interpretations of the primary melodies found in Limp Bizkit songs but played on violins or cellos instead of guitars or turntables.
Obviously recognition value is a priority in any tribute album to create the link between an original piece and it's reinterpretation, but the album features a by the numbers approach that lacks the slightest variation or anything to spark interest at all. Most sections can be deconstructed to the following: hey, it's that detuned verse riff from My Generation, I remember Wes Borland playing this. It was kind of energetic and abrasive sounding there and in the context of the song provided a sort of lift through the production, but here, channeled through the expert hands of a violin player, I can realise just how boring a riff (ostinato?) it really is. The novelty is there for the more popular tracks for about say, thirty seconds. After this The String Quartet Tribute to Limp Bizkit gets boring, and I mean boring. A lot of the intricacies of Limp Bizkits musical passages simply aren't that interesting, and stripped down arrangements with classical instruments do nobody a favour. This is classical with all the passion of elevator music, or Muzak if you will. It is mundane. It is dull. It is not necessary.
The String Quartet Tribute to Limp Bizkit is a baffling affair. Why does it exist?