1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 197

Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, by Limp Bizkit
Suggested by Andy Scott-Morrissey

There’s a confection stocked in Gregg’s called the Spikey Mikey. It’s a five-pointed star-shaped shortbread, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. Sometimes it has a smiling face too.

In a very real sense, Spikey Mikey is a chocolate starfish.

And that’s funny, right? Because a chocolate starfish looks like a puckered anus!

At the time of writing, there are over 800 albums on the masterlist, reviewed and unreviewed. Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water is the worst title by far. The hotdog flavoured water thing is a fatuous in-joke from the tour bus, and as for Chocolate Starfish, it’s exactly what it’s pertaining to be.

Fred Durst, Limp Bizkit’s rap-centric frontman, proclaims throughout the album that he is, in fact, the Chocolate Starfish in question. He name-drops this, plus the band name, on multiple occasions. He never pulls a Full Snoop, mind, as the vast majority of the self-reference is compiled of insipid mid-beat ego-stroke phrases. It’s all “Uh, uh yeah, Limp Bizkit, yeah, uh, I’m a chocolate starfish, uh yeah.” I mean, honestly. It’s positively wretched.

When Durst isn’t cloying the mic with this turgid ornamentation, he’s actually a pretty decent rapper. If you’re unaware, this is Limp Bizkit’s schtick, slightly angry rapping over a Nu Metal foundation. Fred’s flows are relatively tight, and the lyricism is largely bearable. And when the song structure is suitably expressive and augmenting, such as in the obvious standout Rollin’ and the excellent My Way, it creates genuine hits with hummable hooks and lasting appeal.

There are a couple of tracks on which Fred and his pals welcome other successful rappers to add their own expressive spin. When Xzibit and Method Man take up the mic, they expose Fred as the journeyman he actually is. Both Getcha Groove On and the Urban Assault Vehicle version of Rollin’ are strong tracks, but that’s more to do with the guests than the hosts.

If I met Fred Durst, I don’t think I’d like him. He proudly proclaims he’s an asshole, and there’s a strain of spite to his nature that makes me feel vaguely ill. The song Hot Dog, for example, is a massively sweary track that’s part of an ongoing beef Durst had with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Aside from forty-six instances of the word f**k, the songs chorus apes famous lines from NIN’s back catalogue. The whole ordeal feels petty, grubby and tawdry, and only serves to remind me that Nine Inch Nails are great.

The rest of the songs range from fair to middling, with a few slower numbers in amongst the Nu Metal rubble. Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water gets a limp 5/10, but I can’t be sure if that’s tainted by my distaste for the album’s title. Limp Bizkit are the purest example of a Rap / Metal fusion, but overall I’d prefer something a little more skewed in either direction.

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