Limp Bizkit and our descent into 21st -century gloom

I can’t say that I was ever a fan of Limp Bizkit, exactly. But I didn’t mind them, circa 2000.

Their second studio album, Significant Other, made a big splash in 1999 and 2000. I listened in, from time to time.

The album’s breakout hit was “Break Stuff”. This song is basically lead singer Fred Durst’s ode to his own bad moods and antisocial tendencies.

The song “Break Stuff” was dark and edgy. But in that fin de siècle moment of 1999 and 2000, darkness was still mostly escapism, and not our daily reality.

Then 9/11 happened in late 2001. Then the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the political divisions of the Obama/Trump years.

The public appetite for songs like “Break Stuff” evaporated overnight. That song was released a little more than 20 years ago, but two decades can bring a lot of changes to a culture.

Nowadays, “Break Stuff” would be decried as inciting violence. People would declare that the song “triggered” them. College kids who were still in diapers in 1999 (or not yet born) would run for their safe spaces and therapy dogs.

Also on Significant Other was the song “Nookie”. The intersectional feminists would have a field day with this one in 2021. Patriarchy! Objectification of women! Rape culture! There would be long-winded debates about whether or not the word “nookie” was a cisgendered term.

Good grief.

Limp Bizkit’s music was not high art, by any means. It was gimmicky, cheesy, and disposable.

Nevertheless, it was indicative of a carefree moment in our culture…right before our culture became gloomy, uptight, and constantly angry: the end of the happy-go-lucky 1990s, and the beginning of the humorless 21st century.