A buzz saw of bad attitude, metal guitar and white-boy rapping, Limp Bizkit
’s breakthrough album, Significant Other
, is unapologetically rude and immature. But perhaps more importantly, it also rocks very, very hard.
Aiming for Superstar Status
Building on the rap-rock template of their 1997 debut, Three Dollar Bill, Y’All, Significant Other finds the group growing in confidence. Wes Borland’s guitar is more agile and frontman Fred Durst’s boasts are more booming, but beyond those technical improvements, the record feels like the sort of ambitious leap forward that up-and-coming bands attempt to announce their aspirations to become superstars. Armed with a fleet of surefire radio singles, Durst uses the opportunity to take aim at anyone who’s ever crossed him, which mostly means unfaithful girlfriends and his competition on the pop charts. You couldn’t exactly describe Significant Other as socially redeeming, but its snide, petty catharsis is undeniable, the sound of one petulant brat unloading his screwed-up psyche onto the world in dramatic, dynamic fashion.
One Aggressive Track After Another
After a cocky intro that proclaims, “You wanted the worst? You got the worst,” the album launches into a series of aggressive tracks that merge hard rock and hip-hop into a snarling statement of misanthropy. The opener, “Just Like This,” features turntable scratching and sets the stage for Durst’s arrogant taunting, letting anyone in earshot know that he and his band can’t be beat. From there we proceed to “Nookie,” a head-banging song whose rhythm track has the same steely menace as top-shelf Public Enemy. Here, Durst lays into a girl who broke his heart, covering up his pain with impressive amounts of vitriol. And then there’s “Break Stuff,” a metal-tinged ode to violent behavior as a way to solve life’s problems.
Antisocial Behavior: Glamorized or Genuine?
By this stage of the album, most uptight parents will be repulsed by Limp Bizkit’s antisocial behavior, and Durst definitely opens himself up to criticism that he glamorizes the misogynistic, bad-boy mindset. But like similar albums such as Guns N’ Roses
’ Appetite for Destruction
, Significant Other
has a skuzzy integrity that makes its less-appealing qualities at least feel genuine. You may object to Durst’s attitudes toward women, but he’s not being calculated: He clearly is someone who doesn’t have the maturity to enjoy an adult relationship. The authenticity of his confusion turns him into a fascinating character, even if he’s someone you wouldn’t ever want dating your daughter.
Durst Can't Get No Satisfaction
And for those who envy Durst's life of groupies or think that he doesn’t deserve such attention from the ladies, Significant Other
argues that he’s hardly having much fun. “No Sex,” with its skeletal bass-driven melody, paints a scenario in which Durst is fighting to extricate himself from an enticing cutie who has trapped him in a loveless fling. Part of the reason Durst’s diatribes against the fairer sex seem largely unobjectionable is that, quite honestly, he continually exposes himself to be the real jerk, the one whose insecurities repeatedly torpedo his chances for true love. It’s that tension that makes the album so memorable: Sonically, Significant Other
feels like a raucous party, but at its center is one truly unhappy dude.
Release date – June 22, 1999