To be honest, there may have been a time when I might have liked some nu metal songs, maybe not that much, but now I feel have lost much of whatever respect for nu metal I had, and even I don’t think I can embrace it with much integrity if think about it. Looking back, nu metal as a phenomenon was not metal in the strictest sense. It had heavy elements, but overall it was basically white boy hip pop with aggro rock components, some times with pop structure (especially in the case of Linkin Park). No matter how cool certain elements of nu metal are to me, something about it just doesn’t feel right. And despite the heavy metal elements in the music, I wouldn’t really call it metal any more than I’d call One Direction a rock band.
Seriously, nu metal was basically about hip hop, and back in the day Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit (one of the biggest assholes in music) basically admitted this. Pretty much every nu metal band was basically aggro hip hop, albeit with other elements thrown in. Probably the worst then part of it is that it had this dark exterior that I thought I would really like, but see through the veneer and what you get is basically barely music, all topped off with track suits. And almost all the bands seem like brands to me (though lets face it, many popular acts of any sort are gonna feel like brands), and it feels weird that the nu metal on my playlist invariably shares the same space as the rest of my favourite songs (which usually would rather kick the ass of nu metal to the curb), and I feel this is partly because of nu metal’s image, which I dislike.
The only thing that is called nu metal that didn’t follow this was Sepultura’s 1996 album “Roots”, which was basically less “nu metal” and more groove-oriented metal, but with I feel the label nu metal is useless. Maybe it’s not that bad a label for Soulfly, but for Sepultura, forget about it. Also, the Roots album and Soulfly as a band are actually metal, while many if not all nu metal isn’t actually metal if you think about it.
Definitely the worst manifestation of nu metal was Woodstock ’99. Everything was going fine until Limp Bizkit showed up, and Fred Durst proved to be so ignorant as to underestimate the stupidity of his fans. Fred was telling everyone that they were sick of everything and egged them on to release all their negative energy, and he honestly thought the audience would interpret this as just non-stop jumping and moshing. What actually happened, as we all know, is that everyone started tearing down the festival, raping each other, and attacking each other in a see of violence.
Speaking of Limp Bizkit, this incident coupled with Fred Durst generally being a douchebag, is why I feel Limp Bizkit is worse than Poison. My brother and I now argue over who’s worse: Limp Bizkit or Poison. Think about it, Poison may have been just been a bunch of hair “metal” frat boys, but at least (1) they didn’t try to make even douchier rap pseudo-metal, (2) they have an infinitely better name, and (3) at least Poison didn’t end up causing one of the biggest disasters in music and get tons of people raped or god forbid killed a few people.
Going back to the point, after Woodstock ’99, nu metal thankfully started dying off, though not before Linkin Park tried to do their own nu metal stuff. But the sad thing is, I hear nu metal might be making a come back this decade, though I doubt it will be much. Still, it kinda worries me that the music still retains its place in our culture. Believe it or not, the most popular of the nu metal acts (such as Slipknot, Korn, Linkin Park, even Limp Bizkit) are still very much a part of the zeitgeist of mainstream rock music in this time. I can tell.
One last thing, I heavily resent System of a Down being labelled just a nu metal band. From the beginning they were so much more than that, so much more artistic and experimental, and way more worthy of being called heavy metal than any of those nu metal acts could ever hope to be, and in a very new way.