Still Sucks doesn’t suck, but a weak back-half suggests Limp Bizkit still isn’t sure where exactly to take their sound/brand.
Limp Bizkit had been trapped in production purgatory for over a decade when Still Sucks was announced this past August, the band having made publicly available a handful of singles in the years following 2011’s Gold Cobra (a fine enough album best remembered for its sloppy/sleazy album art) while failing to deliver on oft-promised project, Stampede of the Disco Elephants. Seemingly without a real sense of direction throughout this period, Bizkit drifted from Interscope to Cash Money Records (Birdman an admirer, apparently), though this wouldn’t prove terribly fruitful, the partnership resulting in a Wayne collab (“Ready to Go”) and not a whole lot else. The band faced internal strife and lineup changeovers around this time as well, but it seems like this has largely been reset and put behind them in time for Still Sucks (being put out through the resurrected Suretone Records), a savvily timed release that at once allows Limp Bizkit to clear away the baggage they’ve amassed over the years, and nostalgically reassert themselves as progenitors of a currently trendy attitude toward pop music making.
While unclear how much of Disco Elephants may have carried over to Still Sucks, it makes sense that that iteration of the project (well on its way to becoming a Detox-esque white whale for the band) would be deprioritized in favor of the one that saw release. A lean (31 minutes compared to their usual 60/70-minute runtimes), uncomplicated presentation of the band’s particular aesthetic bent, Still Sucks seems to be largely inspired by Durst and co.’s delight over the band’s reemergence into a sort of cultural relevance with current-day rap and hyperpop artists pursuing nu metal stylings and low-culture indulgences with a sense of glee reminiscent of the Bizkit brand. Opener “Out of Style” gestures toward the band’s awareness of their shifting cultural clout, with Durst spitting “It’s time to rock this motherfucker ’cause I’m always out of style / Never change my style ’cause my style is kinda fresh” over squealing Wes Borland guitar. Knowingly stupid yet wholeheartedly ferocious, “Out of Style” is what one would hope to hear in a modern reconception of the classical Limp Bizkit cut, as is single “Dad Vibes,” a victory lap track that lets Durst pause once more to marvel at the prescience of his style and vision over a more hip hop-minded track (production aided by 808 Mafia’s Purps in one-off appearance).
In general, Still Sucks’ first half plays like this — confident throwback updated just enough, with “Dirty Rotten Bizkit” and “Turn It Up, Bitch” there to remind us of the band’s nastier tendencies. But following a winking acoustic cover of INXS’ “Don’t Change,” the material becomes more dicey and less certain of itself, shifting into sludgier compositions and unappealingly defensive lyrical content. “Love the Hate” offers up a sort of Eminemian self-roast (the Detroit rapper is in fact name-checked here), written from the POV of a couple of life-long haters, whereas “Pill Popper” finds Durst lazily lashing out at pharmaceutical culture (“Gimme my medicine / Pills give me a smile / A smile so genuine”). Penultimate song “Snacky Poo” takes Still Sucks to its most tedious nadir, with a skit depicting a fake interview with Borland (confirming Haxan Cloak and Aphex Twin as favorites) dominating a good chunk of the album’s concluding minutes. It’s a dull end to an album that begins with some promise, suggesting that while Limp Bizkit are quite aware of their enduring appeal, they’re still stumped on where to take that next exactly.
Published as part of Album Roundup — October 2021 | Part 3.