Reviews of Albums I Downloaded Six Years Ago and Haven't Listened To Until Now - Part IV: Limp Bizkit - Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water

Welcome, all, to the final album review in this series. Truth be known, the only reason it's taken me this long to writing this piece is that I simply dreaded having to sit through this album one more time.

When this album hit stores in the crisp autumn of 2000, people went nuts for it. Limp Bizkit was the biggest thing in rock since the last big thing in rock. Probably Marilyn Manson or something. Immediately it shot up to the #1 spot on the charts.

Coming off their previous two albums, I can't say I blamed fans for wanting more.

Rumors leaked that it was going to have a title like Chocolate Starfish, and it raised some questions. What's a chocolate starfish? Well, actually that was the only question raised, aside from, “Seriously?”

The answer, unfortunately, is an anus.

Flash forward to the crisp late spring of 2007. I dust off these same recorded ones and zeroes and press play on my stereo. I can't help but marvel at the fact that I had experienced these waveforms before and had a vastly different reaction to them then versus now.

Out of the gate, there's your standard cheesy vocoder intros like you'd hear on a $2.99 bass test disc from Wal-Mart.Pressing play is really the high point of this interactive listening experience.

“This is not a test. blah blah blah.” Wake me up when there's music, 'kay?

“Who's in the house?” Who, indeed. Evidently, Limp Bizkit is in the house. Well, we have no choice but to bring it on.

I'm so glad this intro track is on the album. Otherwise, how would I know it was, in fact, Limp Bizkit that was in the house?

Well, there may be a few clues left behind...

And once the “Intro” has concluded, our humble emcee for the next hour-fifteen decides to re-announce and even introduce The Chocolate Starfish and its associated Hot Dog Flavored Water.

This isn't going be tedious at all.

Immediately after invoking the Starfish, Durst decides now is the proper time for a mic check. Thanks, numbnuts, but I think your engineer already made sure your levels were correct. If I had been behind the boards, I probably would have thrown him an unplugged SM-58 and told him it was a wireless.

If you haven't ejected the disc by this point, another cry for attention is invoked. “Listen up!”

Look, buddy, you've been building up to something for the past two minutes. I'm still waiting for whatever it is you're in the house for. You mind starting, already?

Ah, I see. You've been building up for the lyrical masterpiece that is Hot Dog. Mr. Dust will now take the liberty, for your listening convenience, of dropping the F-bomb 48 times.

Classy.

I dropped a phrase 48 times in a song once, but it had to be longer than 3’48” to keep it from becoming mind-numbingly repetitive.

There's probably some pretty good music there behind all the filth, but if you're unable to express yourself intelligently, I'm just going to have to proceed to your next track.

For the brave, the rest of the track is essentially the frontman venting against the much more talented Trent Reznor, taking the gentlemanly method of repurposing lyrics from Closer

The album continues in this vein. Durst attempting to defend himself and his "cred", calling out to his Generation to back him up. The Generation who, according to him, doesn't give a f*ck. Apathetic backup. Good luck, Fred.

Here's a fun exercise to run on track 4, Full Nelson: Every time he uses the second person (you, your, etc.), replace it with the equivalent first-person pronoun. Because that's what Durst is really talking about. He can be a bit schizophrenic at times.

All this gangster attitude from a white boy from the suburbs of Jacksonville, Florida is a bit offputting. But it's not nearly as unbearable as when he decides to go all emo and bear his withered soul to the masses.

The One is by far the most offensive track on this album. He wonders why his offensive charade of using his fame to attack people and make himself feel untouchably awesome, but yet he's miserable inside. And he's still bewildered why he can't find a woman who will love him for all that.

You said it best yourself, Fred. You're a Chocolate Starfish. Chicks don't dig Chocolate Starfish.

Now I've got a bone to pick with the band on this next track. They were commissioned by Paramount Pictures to re-record the Mission: Impossible theme song for the second film starring Tom Cruise.

The first time around, they chose U2 to freshen up the arguably stale big-band style of the original 1966 theme. And U2 destroyed it by subtracting a beat from each measure in the song.

The Bizkit essentially does the same thing. But when Fred asked why he didn't have a part to sing, nobody was able to explain to him what an "instrumental" song is.

Or what Mission: Impossible is.

He proceeds to make it just like the rest of the songs he wrote lyrics to, complaining about how everyone hates him, and he's finally figured out that it's because there's no love left in the world.

What about spies and espionage and such? Anything? Bueller?

Once the band got him to shut up, they actually rocked out on the M:I theme in full 5/4 glory. A short-lived concession for an otherwise completely narcissistic piece of pop culture.

Oh yeah, and we have to call it Take a Look Around. Because my lyrics are more important than the theme we're getting paid to re-record.

This track was released five months before the album. Included on the MI2 soundtrack. Everybody has a copy of it. So let's also use it on our next album to take up five extra minutes.

In the rest of the band's defense, the musical content is excellently rendered nu-metal goodness, especially in Boiler. Hardcore when it needs to be, and intensely quiet, building to a rocking climax when necessary. The main problem is Fred Durst. His writing, juvenile. His whining, unbearable.

If they had released a companion disc with the Fred Durst Eradication Filter applied, that one would have been legendary. As it stands, This album is legendary for the most ignoble of attributes.

Whether the Bizkit intended it or not, the title of this album is probably the most appropriate one available. It's all about a guy who carries on like a Chocolate Starfish. And just like Hot Dog Flavored Water, it left an awful taste in my mouth.

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