The next time someone shouts out "gimme something to break," Judge Bill Gibron recommends you offer up your Limp Bizkit CD collection, or at the very least, this lackluster collection of the band's "best" videos.
The riZe and fall of a one-time ZuperZtar punk funk act.
Hello? Fred Durst? This is the limelight calling. Remember when you and I were tight, as thick as thieves? I distinctly remember you convincing the kiddies that your combination of Korn-style krunk and ersatz rap was the next big thing in musical moves? Do you recall how you could scream a simple sentiment like "GIMME SOMETHING TO BREAK" and a nation of millions would go into robotic fits of similar destructive delirium? Ah, those were the days. Heck, I thought when we tore it up at the 1999 Woodstock debacle, revving up the riotous nature of an already-disgruntled youth that we'd be in it together for the long haul. So w'happen? Was it all those late nights partying in plain sight of the paparazzi? Did you start to believe your own hype, failing to see the flimsiness of your music and its lack of true sonic staying power? Maybe your support of Napster came back to bite you in the butt, huh? Or it could have been all of that celebrity trim. That will get anyone's head good and goofed up? Perhaps when founding member Wes Borland bailed on you, taking with him the inspiration and invention that made the "Biz-kit" what it was, your shockingly shabby emperor's new clothes finally became clear? Whatever the case, you owe me, pal. I gave you the best few years of my publicity life. So I'm putting out a DVD collection of your Greatest Videoz, hoping to recoup some of my star-making reputation. Hope you don't mind.
You know, looking back, it's amazing you ever became as popular as you did. A cover of "FAITH" (???) by crooner George Michael? What was that supposed to be? Irony? Heck, the video is just a bunch of lame backstage antics, with several shots of your zombie-like followers hopping and popping along with you. The other clip from that debut album, Three Dollar Bill Y'All, is much better. At least "Counterfeit" showed you weren't just some novelty act. Though the standard disgruntled youth storyline is terribly lame by today's standards, at least you let someone other than yourself share the stage for a moment. It's clear that by Significant Other, you thought you were the shiz-nit. The first video, "Nookie," is not all about the sex—it is all about the Fred. You appear at the beginning, dress your dancers in the Durst uniform (red hat, white shirt, blue jeans), and have yourself arrested at the end. All the while your band blares out the basic pump thump funk, making music that is undeniably catchy in its call/response parameters. Yet the high point comes with the undeniable classic "Break Stuff." If you and your Bizkit buddies are remembered for anything, it should be this terrific teen angst classic. Tapping directly into every adolescent's desire to take out their emotional frustration on the physical objects around them, this anthem to anarchy and obliteration is a highlight here. The video's decent as well.
So, then what happened after that, huh, Fred? Did something snap? Where once it looked like Limp Bizkit was a band, with you as it's flashy frontman, it appears you simply stole center stage and decided never to give it back. Oh sure, the next video from the Other album, the mopey, morose "Re-Arranged" featured the entire group in jail and being executed via drowning in milk (?), but they were nowhere to be seen in the collaboration with Method Man, "N 2 Gether Now." I mean, Pauly Shore had more of a role than your crew. All that fake martial arts mania may have seemed sweet back then, but wire fu went and made you look like a tool, didn't it? Only Mr. Method manages to maintain any manner of dignity. Then it just gets worse. Borland escapes into more and more elaborate make-up and costumes (What was he supposed to be, anyway? An aboriginal mime? Some kind of alien scuba diver?) and you…you just offer up another derivative album's worth of the same old sh…stuff, each song applying the by-now formulaic rap-riff-chorus concept. Even your videos for the LP, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, were plagiarizing your previous efforts. "My Generation" is like a revamp of "Faith," only this time you have more money to build an elaborate prison stage setting and more time to primp and preen for the camera. You know, come to think of it, a review of the clip credits shows that you directed or co-directed 11 of the 12 in this set. Maybe it is all about the ego. Whachathink, Freddy? "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" is another near-solo outing, the band being sequestered on top of the World Trade Center while you cruise around New York lookin' sweet and stylin' (though you do give them the courtesy of a ride at one point—how nice).
Both lyrically and logistically, "My Way" seems to be the last straw. In this occasionally funny, often foolish clip, you've got the Durst dancers again, a single stage set-up where you appear sans group to do your sing-song shout-along thang, and a weird concept in which everyone plays dress up—cavemen, swing band, '50s motorcycle gang—as part of some routine cinematic parody. Who is messing with the clap board all the time? Who do the others argue with and confront? What's the main line of the lyric, again—"it's my way or the highway"? Sounds, and looks, really communal and happy to me. No wonder the final clip featuring the original band—the befuddling cyperpunk junk of "Boiler"—looks like a sci-fi sex film featuring our focal point Fred as the stranger in a softcore land. When you figure out just what the fudge you were on about, Fred, my man, give your fame-making pal a buzz, will ya? And just to be fair, I'm not even going to mention that abortion known as Results May Vary (not a bad album title, as long you include "from shite to shat" at the end of it). Do we really need to go into the Deliverance-meets-dirt-farmer fantasy of "Eat You Alive"? Even the cameos by Bill Paxton and Thora Birch can't elevate this weak-ass waste. Glad to see you saw it was all over as well. But then, that "Behind Blue Eyes" cover? Reconfiguring the classic Who's Next track into a straight-ahead ballad for some Halle Berry thriller??? Then you go and mess with the lyrics??? Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred. Come ON!
Granted, things have been bad for you as of late. A reunion with Borland (yeah!), a 2005 album that no one cared about (rats!), and a quickly-released greatest hits CD package (yeah!) turning into another sigh of apathy from a fan base that has already moved on to some other forced fad (rats!). Guess you can give Geffen a big wet lickery kiss for releasing this DVD companion. It's a chance for your followers to witness that mighty metamorphosis from tattoo guy to megalomaniac spotlight stealer all in one 56-minute compendium. By the way, what's up with all the bleeping and editing? Didn't you make versions of these videos with the swear words left in and the other risqué content intact? Seems like that would be the sensible release strategy—give the devotees something that they can't see on their old MTV—or is it VH1 Classic by now??? Also, got to give you credit. The films look nice, combining a full-screen friendly 1.33:1 image with some swings into broader, more cinematic faux letterboxing. Along with a decent Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 remaster, the disc is decent. I guess some extras would be asking a bit much, huh? Can't believe you passed on a chance to add some commentary to each clip. After all, what's better than listening to Fred Durst, talk about a video made by Fred Durst starring Fred Durst? Sounds like a perfectly self-serving trifecta.
Okay, so here's the deal. I'll return some of your past presence, and will steer a small amount of my celebrity bathing brilliance back in your direction if you promise to be more of a team player. Look at my gal Gwen Stefani. She pledges her harlot heart to her No Doubt buddies, delivers a multi-platinum long player with the group, and then heads off into the superstardom stratosphere with her "Hollaback" solo shot. Never once does the world think she's abandoned the boys for life as a hip-hop whore. You should have followed her lead, instead of screwing every starlet or singer that showed you some interest. Notches on the bedpost are nice, Fred, my man, and a vault of videos looks good on a resume. But I am fickle and prone to abandon you at the slightest scent of staleness or industry disinterest, and without me, you'll have no headboard to note your nookie nor a place to pile those moldering VHS tapes. Listen, I gotta go. Lindsay Lohan and Ashlee Simpson are calling—again! Talk about your high-maintenance stars. Yeesh!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Geffen Records
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