Formed in 1994, the band consists of Fred Durst (lead vocals), Sam Rivers (bass), John Otto (drums), Wes Borland (guitars), and DJ Lethal. Together they have released five studio albums, selling millions across the globe. Anyone into the rock scene of the 00’s will tell you that the band’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water is the definitive nu-metal album, although a lot of the band’s work before and after this record are also worthy of your attention. Limp Bizkit songs are famous for their over the top, profanity-ridden songs, which are unquestionably not safe for work. Still, their distinctive blend of head-banging guitar riffs, counter-cultural lyrics, and violently intoxicating drum beats make them a band that is impossible to ignore.
# 10 – Ready to Go
Released in 2013, this track is somewhat of a paradox. The song sees Durst address what he believes are the current problems with rock music, opining that it’s leaning too heavily towards pop, and yet the song is the band’s first release since they signed to the Cash Money record label. Those unfamiliar with Cash Money might be surprised to see Limp Bizkit’s current label mates include such famous rock stars as Drake, Nicki Minaj and, bizarrely, Paris Hilton. It seems odd for Limp Bizkit to be railing against pop music when they are now so unavoidably linked to it, even having rapper Lil Wayne feature on this track (incidentally, his verse fits in really well).
There can be no doubt that many hardcore fans saw this as the band selling out, but that is their loss. You should ignore the shaky background circumstances surrounding its release and instead embrace this utterly brutal track. Along with an ear-worm of a chorus, Ready to Go features some of Wes Borland’s most frantic guitar work to date, sounding exactly like contemporary nu-metal should. Even though certain fans might not have embraced this new era of Limp Bizkit, this is exactly the nu-metal madness that they’ve always delivered.
# 9 – Gold Cobra
The title track from the band’s fifth album, which marked a reunion of the band’s most famous lineup, after Wes Borland was mysteriously missing in action from 2001 to 2004. Beginning with some hammering relentless strumming, the verses of this song see Durst get about as introspective as Limp Bizkit are ever likely to (besides Walking Away – see below), stating how he’s having problems with his mood, even mentioning suicide – all while whiny guitar chords sound foreboding in the background.
This frank self-analysis doesn’t last long, though, with the second verse returning to the boastful exaggerated Durst we’re used to, bragging about his car and money. Similarly, the surprisingly melodic and pop-esque chorus sees him brag about all the – literal or otherwise – gold he has. The post-chorus breakdowns feature an air-raid siren-like guitar riff, its shrill repetition perfectly underlining the pneumatically catchy nature of this underrated Limp Bizkit cut.
# 8 – Nookie
One of the best Limp Bizkit songs is also arguably the band’s breakthrough track, Nookie comes from the band’s second album Significant Other (1999) and sees Fred Durst in a relationship with a woman who treats him badly, but which he is unwilling to leave because of reasons relating to the song’s title.
The track starts with a funk-inspired hook, also present during the verses, which features a twisted bass riff. It’s not long before the heavy guitars come in, though, providing listeners with an infectious headbanger of an intro. A repetitive, almost monotonous, chant between the verses helps to reinforce the idea that Durst is almost hypnotized by his girlfriend, no matter how poorly she treats him – an effect which works really well.
Despite the song’s success, Nookie wasn’t even supposed to be the title of the song; originally it was just a working title which Wes Borland randomly selected after seeing the word in a magazine. Although Nookie is perhaps a little scrappier than the band’s later work, it serves as a perfect example of Limp Bizkit’s ability to craft music which is not just relatable and silly but genuinely catchy and exhilarating.
# 7 – Walking Away
As stated above, this album cut from Gold Cobra (2011) is the band’s most introspective track, and, to be frank, it sounds like it could be from an entirely different band. One of the best Limp Bizkit songs song sees Durst sing (rather than rap or half-sing) about feeling depressed and held back by his past. This is one of very few times that Durst drops his aggressive and bravado-laden front, allowing a glimpse at the – seemingly quite emotional – human being that lies underneath.
As well as dropping the band’s usual expletive-laden bluster, Walking Away also represents a musical departure for the band, replacing thrashing riffs and heavy drums for stripped back production and brooding guitars. Although the guitars pick up slightly for the second chorus, the song then delivers a real Limp Bizkit rarity, a guitar solo, which is complimented by some intense hardcore screaming.
This oddity of a track is a genuinely unusual addition to the Limp Bizkit canon, and yet it works really well, delivering a genuinely different, almost emo, sound. This refreshing contrast to Limp Bizkit’s usual output successfully displays a truly different side to the band, and that alone makes it worthy of note.
# 6 – My Generation
The first track from Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water to make this list, My Generation opens with a stunning drum solo from John Otto. This is a pleasant surprise, as it’s something the band rarely treats us to. From such a great opening we dive straight into what is a thumping good song, full of growling guitars and a tenacious bass.
Lyrically, the song concerns itself with introducing the establishment to the current generation of teens and young adults. This is done through a hugely compelling chorus, about how young people are blamed for everything, leading to increasing levels of anger and apathy – something which would surely resonate with millennials today.
Following a brooding, somewhat ominous bridge, the song builds to a great crescendo where DJ Lethal’s danceable turntable scratches perfectly accompany the heavy-metal-inspired guitars. Although older than their fans, and therefore actually from a different generation, this angry-yet-exultant track sees the band perfectly capture the very essence of teenage anger and angst. And no, this is not a cover of The Who’s My Generation as so many lists seem to mistake.
# 5 – Eat You Alive
This 2003 single, taken from Results May Vary, was the band’s first release after the mysterious departure of Wes Borland. Compared to the band’s other tracks this is a pretty hardcore affair, missing the rap and electronic inspired elements of nu-metal and leaving us with a straight up alternative metal song.
Lyrically the song is vulgar and quite creepy – not helped by a music video which sees Durst kidnapping the object of his affections – but, despite these problematic elements, it deserves its place on this list thanks to its enormous chorus.
This is easily one of the biggest, most anthemic, sing-along choruses the band has ever produced. Alternating between screams and melodic singing, the chorus is so infectious that it should come with a warning. The song also features a strange balladesque bridge, which is entirely unnecessary, slowing the songs epic momentum to a snail’s pace. Still, despite this, the rousing, electrifying chorus means you absolutely must check out Eat You Alive.
# 4 – Break Stuff
The final single from Significant Other, as the title suggests, Break Stuff (2000) concerns itself with anger, violence and mindless destruction. Interestingly, the song actually features some of the cleanest and most crisp-sounding guitar riffs the band has ever produced, noticeably lacking the scratchy and scruffy elements often encountered in nu-metal.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see even the most passive and non-violent person getting pumped up by the tornado of anger that is Break Stuff, with the bridge, in particular, serving as a whirlwind of virulent fury. The song is often blamed for violence that occurred during and after its performance at Woodstock 1999, perfectly illustrating the visceral – sometimes scary – power that music can have.
If you ever need to let off steam after a hard day, there is surely no better remedy than putting the volume up to max and rocking out to this nu-metal classic.
# 3 – My Way
The fourth single to be released from Chocolate Starfish, in contrast to the band’s other work, My Way is a relatively chilled out track. A lot of this is thanks to a sample from Eric B & Rakim’s My Melody, which opens and closes the song, as well as reoccurring throughout. The verses feature subdued, almost mindless guitar chords, which, during the chorus and bridge, make way for the band’s trademark heavy thrash riffs. Perhaps this vast contrast is supposed to illustrate the calm and chilled vibe of Durst’s “way,” and the angry, hotheadedness that will occur should he not get what he wants.
It’s not clear who Durst is addressing during the song, convention tells us that it’s likely to be a romantic partner, but the lyrics are equally applicable when applied to friendships and business arrangement – could it even represent a conversation with record company execs? Only the band know for sure, but this uncertainty only adds to the majesty of this hugely popular Limp Bizkit track.
# 2 – Take A Look Around
Thanks to its place on the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack, for many, this may have been their first introduction to Limp Bizkit. And what an introduction it is. Similarly to My Way, this track features pretty laid back verses – musically at least, the lyrics are appropriately gritty and cynical – which build to an ominous and sinister hook, culminating in an unflinchingly hardcore guitar driven crescendo.
The band’s unique nu-metal take on the iconic Mission: Impossible Theme is perhaps key to the success of this song, re-appropriating a familiar and historic track into a manic and dangerous guitar riff. It feels almost iconoclastic. There can be no doubt that this track was the perfect choice for M: I-2, creating the edgy and menacing atmosphere which film sequels often strive for, but even without the link to Mission: Impossible, with its enormous hook and fatalistic lyrics, Take A Look Around is an essential listen.
# 1 – Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)
For a lot of people, this 2000 release is the definitive Limp Bizkit track – it even reached number one in the UK charts. Its odd subtitle exists to differentiate it from the Urban Assault Vehicle, an alternative version of the song which features hip-hop elements and many guest features from rappers (if you’re into that sort of music, it’s definitely worth checking out).
While he will never compare to the likes of Eminem, Andre 3000 or Nas, Rollin’ sees Fred Durst at the apex of his rapping abilities, spitting bars at a rate in which they’re almost difficult to keep up with. The verses pair really well with the song’s monumentally catchy hook (with the video even featuring some easily duplicated dance moves that perfectly compliment the song).
With an extraordinary hook, huge guitar riffs, epic drums, frenzied vocals and a great use of DJ elements, Rollin’ surely represents not just the best Limp Bizkit song of all time, but also the absolute pinnacle of nu-metal.
10 Best Limp Bizkit Songs
Written by Ollie Dean