It took a long, long time for Limp Bizkit to get their follow-up to Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water into the stores. First, guitarist Wes Borland, generally regarded as the band's musical force, up and left the band, and it took a long, long time to find a replacement guitarist. After a national talent search performed at Guitar Center stores, where candidates had to sign contracts that gave up their rights to anything original they played at their audition, Limp Bizkit settled on former Snot guitarist Mike Smith and recorded an album. Then scrapped it. Then they recorded another album. Then scrapped it. They were going through album titles, too -- it was called Bipolar then, charmingly, Panty Sniffer. Finally, all the sessions and the turmoil was whittled down into one very long, very bad album called Results May Vary. Part of its weakness stems from two perennial Limp Bizkit problems: for a metal band they sound, well, limp, and in Fred Durst they have the worst frontman in the history of rock. These two things plagued even their hits, but Borland at least gave the band some ideas. Without him, the band is left to flounder, and Durst, who already dominated the band's personality, not only has to provide the bravado, but he has to give it direction -- which is likely why it took so long for this mess to get released. Durst doesn't come up with any new musical ideas, apart from slight hints of Staind and emo on the ballads, but the album doesn't suffer from recycled musical ideas, since they were already doing that on Chocolate Starfish. No, it suffers from an utter lack of form and direction, from the riffs to the rhythms, and a surplus of stolen ideas. "The Only One" cops the opening of Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run," "Gimme the Mic" plagiarizes the Beastie Boys' "Pass the Mic" down to rhyming "y'all" with "y'all" (but Durst adds a whole lotta "motherf*ckers"), while "Phenomenon" borrows from several rap songs, highlighted by Durst getting lyrics wrong. And this points out the biggest problem of Results May Vary -- Durst is running amuck, flattening down the production into a grey sludge, then writing inane lyrics that are shocking in their banality.
Since Durst has ingratiated himself with Hollywood, inexplicably getting Thora Birch to concede to being berated to in the video for "Eat You Alive" and French kissing Halle Berry in the video for "Behind Blue Eyes," maybe he's not such a bad guy in person, but on record he's a mean, vindictive, hateful idiot, spewing undirected bile at undeserving targets. Here, a prominent target seems to be Britney Spears, who unceremoniously dumped the dude after an affair that lasted less than a week, since she wasn't all that thrilled that he revealed her pubic hair grooming on the Howard Stern show (what a guy!). Now, he's hurt and ranting about how she broke his heart, unaware of his own culpability in the affair. But that's par for the course for Durst, who stumbles through life without realizing the consequences of his actions, then whines about how nobody understands him. Here, he complains about being picked on in high school, not realizing that his blustering aggression makes him a bully (and that's not even accounting for how he unwittingly incited violence and destruction at Woodstock '99). Then, he complains several times about radio and MTV playing the same old bands, willfully ignoring that he's whored himself out to MTV numerous times and that his band received their radio breakthrough by paying to get their songs played. He invokes icons callously -- "ease your pain/like a melody from Kurt Cobain" -- most notably on a boneheaded cover of the Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," turning it into a Staind song with a Speak & Spell on the bridge ("B-I-Z-K-I-T. Say it") and adding insult to injury by misspelling Pete Townshend's name in the credits. And this isn't even counting the embarrassing Apple plug in the liner notes, or the Fight Club reference in the artwork, the obviousness of which suggests that Durst would be one of the brainwashed legions chanting "his name is Robert Paulson" instead of thinking for himself. Like before, some of this could have been palatable if the music had a fraction of his anger (no matter how misguided it is) or had some energy to it instead of just being murky emoting. But since the music has no melody, hooks, or energy, all attention is focused on the clown jumping up and down and screaming in front, and long before the record is over, you're left wondering, how the hell did he ever get to put this mess out?