McNulty’s Retro Reviews: Limp Bizkit – Three Dollar Bill, Y’All
So there are a lot of new albums out there, right? As it turns out, there were also lots of new albums released in the past! In this Toilet ov Hell segment, I’ll be reviewing classic albums from the perspective of when they were released. For the first installment I’m going with Limp Bizkit’s debut LP Three Dollar Bill, Y’All. Join me on this trip back to 1997… *Cue dream sequence music*
Driving to high school as a Junior, I always tuned to a local alternative radio station that played mainly indie rock; it wasn’t great, but it sure beat whatever talk radio that was going on and on about President Bill Clinton’s second-term election. That’s where I first heard “Counterfeit” by Limp Bizkit, a band hardly anyone knew at the time (their George Michael cover hadn’t reached the airwaves yet). I wasn’t accustomed to this combination of hard rock and rap, but I REALLY enjoyed it, so I absconded to my local CD Warehouse where I found Three Dollar Bill, Y’All right between Fat of the Land by The Prodigy and Zoot Suit Riot by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
Limp Bizkit’s debut LP kicks off with an intro featuring a religious extremist giving a speech about “kill the pollution, kill the pollution…” which leads right into the first real song “Pollution”. This is a genre-defining riff for the nu-metal community: down-tuned crunch with a funky bounce, and it did a great job of preparing all 266,490,000 red-blooded Americans (as of January 1st) for the onslaught of this hip-hop/metal band. Next up is track three “Counterfeit”(I already told you I love it, and for argument’s sake I’m going to call it the greatest nu-metal song ever written). Just listen to Fred Durst rapping over a bassline so sexy it could compete with Victoria Silvstedt as Playmate of the Year, leading into the signature line “cause you’re sick of yourself… WHILE I’M SICK OF YOU TOO!!!”
There are two factions (or musical genres) working against each other on this album: the hip-hop and the heavy metal. And while the word “against” brings on a generally negative connotation, it really aids the music in this case. These two elements are going head-to-head against each other just like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers at the Super Bowl. It’s this rivalry that inspires a creative spark in the music that would eventually become stale and over-used. Fred Durst separates most of the rapping and turntable-ing for the choruses while the heavier portions, riffs and screams, for the verses. This riffing, nu-metal though it may be, is pretty darn heavy, super catchy, and often speeds up to a comfortable speed towards the end of a particular song, approaching what we could consider appropriate heavy metal. I mean let’s face it, this is no City by Strapping Young Lad here, but really what was at the time?
Most of the songs follow a similar formula as “Counterfeit”, but it’s track 7, “Stalemate”, that really stands out. A magnificent song that plays out in really cool fashion, “Stalemate” starts out slow and creepy with rollicking bass riffs accompanying whispers and after about a minute gains in momentum and weight as the thick riffs slowly kick in, with shifting tempos all throughout its 6:14 run time. Are we allowed to call this song “progressive nu-metal”? Heck I’m going to say yes; we might as well, considering Princess Diana called for an immediate international ban on land mines. Progressive indeed! Then, at the 33:29 mark our ears are assaulted with an abomination of modern music, the song everyone knows: a cover of “Faith” by George Michael. It’s obnoxious, unnecessary, painfully unfunny, and sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the album. Thankfully, once it’s over the album returns to greatness just as Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule; but still if I ever burn this CD for somebody I’m surely leaving the song out.
When Limp Bizkit released their debut LP, it paralleled the U.S. launching its first commercial satellite… unfortunately this album turns out to be similar to The Matrix; subsequent follow-ups never achieve the same level of quality as the first. BUT much like Zaire officially joining the World Trade Organization, Three Dollar Bill, Y’All is joining the ranks of McNulty’s classic albums; I enjoy it as much, if not more, than when it was first released. While Hale-Bop was the closest to the Earth as it would be until 4397, Three Dollar Bill, Y’All came as close as it could to being a perfect album, a collection of great songs with only one real stinker, that I will confidently award:
4 out of 5 Dolly the Cloned Sheep