For the past 20 years, the rock community has done their best to christen nu metal as one of the ugliest genres imaginable. There may have been some real pain and anger in between those dropped tuned guitar riffs, but most of the nostalgia for these bands seemed to fade away the minute that the warranty on all our JNCO jeans expired. As much trash as there might have been amongst the pile, there were still plenty of bright spots if you knew where to look for them.
This list isn’t meant to be just a pick and choose of the greatest hits of nu metal or anything. Though there are going to be some names on this list that you will recognize, the songs they were associated with held up a lot better than what you’d expect from your average nu metal act, focusing a lot less on the whiny nature of the genre and broadening their palette a little bit more with fine tuned elements to their sound.
For a handful of these picks, they shouldn’t even be considered the diamonds in the rough of this genre…they’re straight up modern classics. Though it might be too close to call right now, it’s not out of the question to hear these songs alongside some of the best that rock has to offer once they get a few more years under their belt.
10. Bring Me Down - Limp Bizkit
Edit: Let Me Down, not
It’s easy to just write off Limp Bizkit as the reason why the nu metal scene sort of concaved in on itself. The lyrics of Fred Durst were already subpar compared to the real pain his contemporaries were talking about, and his near riot at Woodstock 1999 was pretty much the death knell for the first wave of nu metal. That’s not to say that Limp Bizkit didn’t have their fair share of great moments either.
While most people like to point out what a phenomenal guitarist Wes Borland is, one of the greatest songs that they ever made came to life after he had long since left the group. Coming on their final artistic gasp Results May Vary, Bring Me Down is a lot more of what you’d expect from a decent nu metal outfit, talking about the different people in his life who just want to see him fail. It’s certainly not the most original nu metal lyric or anything, but Fred knows how to sell it here, sounding a lot more angry on this track and going over much better than when he tries to get introspective on their cover of Behind Blue Eyes off of the same album.
The rest of the band isn’t too shabby either, with DJ Lethal bringing the thunder behind the turntables and having some nice bass grooves to lead you into the next section. This is a Limp Bizkit album though, and we return to our regularly scheduled programming just a few minutes later. If Fred devoted more time to songs like this though, there’s a good chance that Deadpool wouldn’t be using them for the butt of his jokes.