Limp Bizkit - Gold Cobra
Record Label: Flip/Interscope Records
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Limp Bizkit are an enigma. Their songs are poor, yet appealing. The lyrics are immature, yet the musicianship is professional. It looked like they would never be back, yet here they are.
It has been eleven years since Fred Durst (vocals), Wes Borland (guitar), DJ Lethal, Sam Rivers (bass), and John Otto (drums) released their hugely successful album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, a nu-metal phenomenon that swept the world with hits like “Rollin” and “My Generation,” Already having an impressive popular collection of songs from their past repertoire (like “Nookie” and “Break Stuff”), Limp Bizkit were selling out arenas and climbing to the top of the Billboard charts. However, they essentially lost relevance in the music world when Borland left the band in 2001, citing tensions with Durst as the reason for his departure. Limp Bizkit kept going, though, and released Results May Vary in 2003 to mostly negative reviews. By 2005, Borland had rejoined the band to record The Unquestionable Truth (Part One). His return proved to be quite transient, though, as he departed once more before the year was over.
At this point, it seemed like Limp Bizkit were totally finished. Durst began working as an actor/director while the other bandmates pursued different creative endeavors. Everything in the Limp Bizkit camp remained quiet until 2009, when Durst and Borland issued a joint statement recognizing the unique influence and energy of the band, and declared that Limp Bizkit had reunited.
Now, two years later, the world has Gold Cobra, which is an aggressive, abrasive, raucous, puerile, glorious resurrection of the band. There is no evolution, there is hardly anything serious: this record is the epitome of what Limp Bizkit stands for. Most importantly, it sounds like it could have easily been released directly after their debut album, Three Dollar Bill, Y’All$.”
From the moment the cacophonous introductory track (amusingly entitled “Introbra”) leads into the anthemic “Bring It Back,” it is quite clear that absolutely nothing has changed. Durst spits out rapid fire rhymes while Borland’s heavy metal riffs command immediate attention. The rhythm section is as tight and impressive as ever as Durst jubilantly declares “Remember all them 90's things, them 90's hits we laced like this/Comin' to you live 2012 and hell there's still not s**t like this.”
Indeed, the majority of the record invokes Limp Bizkit’s 90’s hits, like “Shark Attack,” an in-your-face track with laughable lyrics like “swimming with sharks ain’t easy/they just want to kill and eat me.” The laughable lyrics here and throughout, though, are not necessarily a bad thing. After all, does anyone listen to Limp Bizkit for dynamically complex lyrics? Let’s hope the answer to that question is “no.”
In fact, the lyrics are just plain comedic, and this is where their value comes from. It is funny to hear a 40 year old man tell his haters and naysayers “if you don’t like it you can scratch up on these nuts b***h/Polar Bear ain’t a cracker you should f**k with” as Durst does in one of the band’s hardest songs ever, “Get a Life.” The mechanical rapping in the verses gives way to a pounding chorus with guttural screaming that is capable of nothing less than causing nation-wide head banging in a good way.
The immaturity of the lyrics lives on in the album’s best offering, a nice little ditty entitled “Douche Bag.” Well, maybe nice is the wrong word. “Douche Bag” is more of the pledge of allegiance for pissed off meatheads looking to start fights, and it features superb musicianship with a beat sure to engender an exhilarating live performance. The chorus goes like this: “Douche bag/Imma f**k you up/F**k you, f**k you, f**k you up” and listeners can easily picture Durst in an alleyway making threats to a nameless foe with his posse hooting and hollering behind him.
Despite the immature, aggressive, and perverted nature of most of the songs on Gold Cobra, other tracks like “Walking Away” and “Loser” see Durst tackling more serious issues like abuse he faced while growing up. Almost a ballad, “Walking Away” features an impressive guitar arrangement courtesy of Borland’s dancing fingers before it builds up nicely into a soaring bridge with a fantastic guitar solo. “Loser” fails to leave a lasting impact, though, damaged mostly by a poor pre-chorus.
One of the most memorable tracks is “Autotunage,” a rocking track backed by fantastic work on the drums and bass. It opens with Durst messing around with pitch correction technology as he sings the words to their 1999 hit “Nookie.” He ultimately resolves to try this tool over some heavy metal and the result is a surprisingly melodic, fist-pumping song with anthemic lyrics like “Let me see you rock/ Let’s turn this place into something they cannot stop.”
The penultimate song, “Why Try,” is another highlight, and should have been the closing track. Its raucous verses, astounding instrumentals, and head-banging chorus represent everything Limp Bizkit stands for. It is a fun, fast ride full of witty statements and declarations, none more amusing and confusing than when Durst raps “Uno/Dos/Tres/In your face” as the band builds up to the refrain. Unfortunately, the record ends on a sour note with “Killer in You,” a very forgettable song musically and a memorable one lyrically only in the sense of the somewhat disturbing content as Durst raps about murdering the worst serial killer imaginable.
Regardless of some of the pitfalls on Gold Cobra, it is still an enjoyable listen with a contagious energy that permeates most of the offerings. It delivers hard-hitting riffs backed up by an exquisite rhythm section, and lyrics so bad that they just might be good. Listeners are likely to find themselves wondering what exactly it is that they are listening to and why they are bobbing their heads.
The simple format and arrangements coupled with the immature lyrics coalesce to form something that sounds like the brainchild of an angst-filled teenager. Even the cover art looks like it was drawn by a horny pervert with a reptile fetish. The reason that this release is worthwhile, though, is because everyone has an angsty teen inside them waiting to be let out. Limp Bizkit lets people forget about responsibilities and maturity, and go crazy for a brief while. They are an escape from normalcy and a refreshing dash into the demented. They are irreverent, raucous, aggressive, heavy, dirty, immature, professional, entertaining, biting, belligerent, outrageous, and zany. They are Limp Bizkit. And deep down, everyone loves it just a little bit.
How and more importantly why would you waste money on this disc? There are so many "re-run bands" (see Incubus, 311, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more) that are giving it another go after a lengthy hiatus--go spend your money there.