Even before Limp Bizkit had finished work on their album Significant Other, frontman Fred Durst said the band was determined to keep its feet on the ground.
That vow is being put to the test now, as the thrash-rap act's sophomore release is expected to top the Billboard 200 albums chart Wednesday (June 30).
"We're still so involved in our music and what we do that we're not really affected by the hype," Durst said earlier this year. "Everyone's still humble. ... There's a million bands jumping in this world everyday, and things change so quick, you gotta keep going with it."
Significant Other, which includes the manic first single "Nookie" (RealAudio excerpt), was estimated to have sold 700,000750,000 copies in its first week, the second-highest weekly total this year, according to industry sources. The biggest is the Backstreet Boys' Millennium, which sold a record-breaking 1.13 million copies during the week ending May 23, according to sales tracker SoundScan.
Durst could hardly contain his excitement over Significant Other as he discussed the effort from a Los Angeles studio. At the time, he only had one track left to finish the collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man that would later become "N 2 Gether Now"
(RealAudio excerpt). The new album also features Korn's Jonathan Davis and Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland on "Nobody Like You"
Weiland, who shares production credits on the album with the band and Terry Date, coached Durst with his vocals during recording.
The group Durst, guitarist Wes Borland, bassist Sam Rivers and drummer John Otto formed in 1994 in Jacksonville, Fla. Former House of Pain turntablist DJ Lethal joined in 1996 after the demise of the Los Angeles hip-hop group.
On the whole, Durst described the new album as a huge leap forward from the band's 1997 debut, Three Dollar Bill Y'all$. "I feel like we're just at an amazing level," he said. "It's everything you like about Limp Bizkit, but to the next level. Musically, the band's a lot tighter, a lot better. Vocally, I've really expanded the hip-hop's more hip-hop and the melodies are more melodic. It's crazy."
He added that the new music reflects a band that has developed a sound while coming into its own. "We're getting more confident about what we do, because what we do is we're Limp Bizkit, this is how we sound, you know what I mean?" Durst said. "People are gonna step back when they hear the record and go, 'Wait a minute.' "
Aaron Axelson, program director for KITS-FM in San Francisco, said fans pick up on the band's rebellious attitude and are immediately drawn to it.
"They fuse all the elements they grew up with together," Axelson said. "[The new album] really represents and personifies a badge for their fans' generation. Their music represents their lifestyle. It's ... very male-focused."
Durst said the lyrics on Significant Other are personal, though he tried to reach out to certain listeners by tapping into such emotions as melancholy, aggravation, fear and betrayal.
"The people who feel those things, those are the people I want to touch," he said. "I want to connect with everyone who feels alone, because those kinds of feelings make you feel really ... bad and sad. People kill themselves, people do drugs, people do drastic things."
The frontman said he drew inspiration from a failed relationship to come up with several of the songs, including "Nookie" and "Rearranged." Elsewhere, the corrosive "Break Stuff," for example, is "about having a bad f--king day, and how if my day keeps going this way, I'm gonna break something."