Review by: Eric Pember
Album assigned by: Victor Guimarães
I was originally going to do an entire Pitchfork-style (but better, hopefully) review, putting this in a cultural context and dissecting the sound and influences of the record. However, one major obstacle got in the way of that: This album is unexpectedly boring.
If you made a playlist of radio rock songs of the era, songs from this album wouldn’t stick out from the rest at all, except in a bad way if the next song played was like The White Stripes or The Strokes or something else that stuck out from the general nu-metal sound of the era.
My general take on this kind of music is usually that it’s kinda interesting for one track, but quickly gets dull. This album is definitely no exception.
Durst hardly even raps for most of the album, except for some generic boast lines on Gimmie the Mic. If he did, the album would at least give me some unintentional amusement.
Instead, he gives the mic to Snoop Dogg on Red Light-Green Light. Dogg has been involved in a lot of bad music (as well as some good, to be fair) over the years. You would think the combination of two infamous personalities in Durst and Dogg would lead to something interesting, but no, the track is just as boring as the other tracks on the album, only it’s boring rap instead of boring rock.
Mercifully, the album starts to become kinda interesting towards its end. After some more generic boast rap on Phenomenon, Creamer (Radio Is Dead) starts asserting the arrogant Durst we all know and ironically love/unironically loathe, even if the sung vocals are still a bit too generic.
Head For The Barricade is all rapped vocals and screaming and Durst vowing that he’ll literally physically attack his haters, which is honestly the kind of thing I expected from the whole record before listening to it. If listening to it separately, I would probably just start laughing but in this context I’m relieved to have something to write about after all the generic radio rock I was just forced to sit through.
After that comes the infamous cover of The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes. The song was already pretty pompous in its original version, but Daltrey somehow managed to pull it off. Needless to say, Durst takes the pomp and makes it the entire song, which just makes it sound hilarious. I know I just said I wasn’t ready to laugh, but the Speak-N-Spell in the bridge got me.
Drown is supposed to give a cathartic end to the album, but it unfortunately sums it up: Durst intended to break his personal mold, but by that point he had no idea of how music had evolved outside of his bubble, so he just ended up assimilating himself into the mold of everyone else around him.