For reasons I sort of understand but hold in contempt, my positive review of this album (see below) was far and away the most controversial thing I wrote all year. Usually negative reviews get all the angry comments, but this one garnered its share. People like and dislike what they like and dislike, I get that. But the conventional wisdom of people who read reviews and make lists of popular music TENDS to arrive at the consensus that Limp Bizkit Sucks. Before I heard this album, I was inclined to agree. I'd barely listened to the guys, just whatever was on the radio around the turn of the century. I still haven't listened to their other albums. As I said earlier (somewhere around here...) I did not expect to like Gold Cobra when I requested it for review. I expected I'd be able to listen to it, form an opinion, and quickly turn around a review full of smutty jokes.
But here's the thing -- IT'S REALLY GOOD. I wish I'd written more about this in the review -- Fred's persona kind of sidetracked me -- but Wes Borland's riffs somehow manage to ape death metal while being catchy and funky, and the hooks are monsters, and the beats make me jerk around my car like Ke$ha. For PopMatters's year-end list extravaganza, Adrien Begrand, whose metal writing I admire, called this one of the worst albums of the year for its "incredible lack of hooks," and I literally have NO IDEA what he's talking about. I hear a song like "Douchebag" or "Shotgun" (one of Entertainment Weekly's worst singles!) and I'm chanting it in my head all day long.
And the thing is, this conventional wisdom is unwarranted because Limp Bizkit haven't been universally loathed. Sometimes music writers ACTUALLY LIKE THEM, to say nothing of all those music fans who don't read reviews or make lists. I mean, they're not Radiohead, but Significant Other got a positive lead review in Rolling Stone, Chocolate Starfish got good writeups in RS and SPIN, people love to pay Wes Borland backhanded compliments, but for some reason Durst's persona, which is diametrically opposed to most review-reading listmakers' personalities, overwhelms anything else that people might actually hear in their music. This is the main reason I chose to focus my review on Durst's persona rather than what the band's doing musically: I was writing to those people. Of which I am one -- albeit one who jams the Bizkit.
The much-loved PopMatters review: