Friday, June 30, 2017

Ranking the Korn, sorry, "KoRn" albums when I was 15-16


"Although the song is about rape, I don't reckon it was good enough to have put on the album" - Me, apparently

I wasn't intending to do this again. This isn't going to be an ongoing catalogue as I preserve my hundreds of bad teenage reviews for posterity they don't deserve.

But curiosity got the better of me, and I was interested to see the transition in my tastes from fun, lightweight American pop punk to dark, angsty American "nu" metal as I similarly passed from care-free Year 10 into the more stressful GCSE year, from a Pre-9/11 World into a Post-9/11 World, and reached the legal age of consent. These last two points would turn out to have no impact.

These heartfelt track-by-track essays masquerading as useless consumer reviews are much too long to be entertaining to anyone but me, so here are some of the highlights:
  • Pedantically insisting on writing it 'KoRn' every single time, while clearly wishing I was able to write 'KoЯn.' Look at me now!
  • Assuming the phrase "I bum it" as a term of appreciation among my friends is in common parlance or acceptable.
  • The phrase "drugs in the form of needles."
  • The phrase "unwanted sexual abuse."
  • A 3,000-word album review containing 1,500 words of copy-pasted interview quotes.
  • These quotes being reproduced in their rambling, inane entirety like they're deep and meaningful sermons we can learn from.
Written for dooyoo.co.uk in 2001. Don't bother writing your own, they don't pay any more. Featuring [mean commentary] when necessary. It seemed to be a lot more necessary this time.

4. Follow the Leader ****

Written on 09.12.2001 and probably the worst thing I've ever written. I didn't even write half of it.

The finest band in the world's (that's KoRn to you) third and most successful album is generally considered their finest work. The Bakersfield Nu-Metal quintet, Brian "Head" Welch and James "Munky" Shaffer on seven-string Ibanez axes, Reg "Fieldy" Arvizu on five-string bass, David Silveria (most interesting name yet) on drums and Jonathan Davis handling vocals and bagpipes (don't act shocked) have successfully managed to produce an album that appeals to the masses whether they are fans of KoRn's unique "seventies funk hip-hop bagpipe metal" (don't worry if this conjurs something very disturbing in your head, I only find it slightly relevant) musical style, or fans of hip-hop and rap culture, as several songs on the album feature guest appearances by rap artists such as Fred Durst and Ice Cube. [113-word sentence.]

There's also an appearance by Trevant Hardson and Cheech Martin (the latter of which collaborates with KoRn on the album's hidden song after "My Gift To You"). This is certainly KoRn's highest budget album, and this is also demonstrated with the award-winning music video for the album's first release, "Freak On A Leash." KoRn have obviously prospered with the sales of their first two albums, and have certainly come a long way since the low-budget-small-room-with-a-KoRn-poster-hanging-on-the-wall video for "Blind," their first ever release.

KoRn's musical style has also taken a turn with this album. Their debut album, "KoRn" (1994), has been their heaviest offering to date, with songs such as "Ball Tongue" and "Clown," then they became slightly different, darker and disturbing with their second album "Life Is Peachy" (1996, n.b. most people are convinced this is their newest album. I don't know where that comes from). [Most people, or the girl you chat with online and imagine is your girlfriend?] "Peachy" initially sold more copies than "KoRn," but its more sinister style put off many of the general MTV public who were looking for something a little bit happier. Personally, I think these two albums are probably KoRn's finest work, however I both respect and bum their succeeding releases anyway so it doesn't matter. [That paragraph wasn't about the album at all.]

The style of "Follow the Leader", rap appearances aside, is more towards the high-pitched guitarring and drum loops, as well as more signing and less shouting from front man Jonathan Davis. However, in songs such as "Freak On A Leash" and "B.B.K." Jonathan performs his distinctive vocalisations that you couldn't really write down, but which might mean something to him. Maybe it's something from his Scottish side (that wasn't racist, it was a JOKE.) [Was it even?] A brief summary of tracks must start at track thirteen, as unless you have some form of illegal copy of the album, tracks one to twelve are simply several seconds of silence each. Nice idea KoRn, however it does get a bit annoying when there's always that odd occasion you forget. Meanings to the songs (as stated by band frontman Jonathan himself) are also included for those who may be interested.

"It's On" begins with a cool sound effect before the drumming and guitarring kicks in, along with the distinctive KoRn clicking. The song is really cool, and explodes into life with Jon shouting "Come On!" It's also one of the only songs on the album that manages to refrain from using that "f" word that KoRn tend to use often (well they do sing about angst and bad experiences, so it's understandable. The start of this song is played at the beginning of the "Got The Life" music video when David and Munky are heading towards a car with their stereo blurting it out).

("It's On" is my s**t peer pressure song. Me being so stressed out going out and partying. Everybody's just going 'Come on dude, it's on.' That's partying, it's alcohol, cocaine, women. All that wrapped into one. I wrote a song about it. And the chorus I talked about Why am I really doing this? It's all my fault that I'm doing this because all the alcohol, the booze an the chicks do is just make it worse. They just rearrange all the problems in a different order that I can deal with at that moment.") [That's right; in the absence of booklet lyrics, I'm copy-pasting an entire webpage section by section.]

Possibly KoRn's most well-known song (apart from "Blind" and maybe "Make Me Bad"), "Freak On A Leash" is also one of my favourites on this album, if not my favourite. It seems the perfect example of KoRn, so if you haven't heard them and want to do some semi-legal MP3 downloading [Those Napster mentions in the Offspring reviews seem quaint now. I was on Aimster at this point, chatting with my Korn fan "girlfriend"] this is the song you should hear. It features all styles of KoRn from their high guitarring and high singing vocals to heavy, clicky bass and guitar parts with Jon's shouting and "noises" (for lack of a better word). [There are better words.] No bagpipes though, unfortunately. This song was one of the album's three singles.

("One of the best titles I've heard ever for a song. That's my song against the music industry. Like me feeling like I'm f*****' a pimp, a prostitute. Like I'm paraded around. I'm this freak paraded around but I got corporate America f*****' making all the money while it's taking a part of me. It's like they stole something from me, they stole my innocence and I'm not calm anymore. I worry constantly.") [Yes, I'm sticking with it for every song. Hopefully just the one album though.]

Another of this album's most popular tracks (also released as a single), "Got The Life" begins with a definite, sole drum whack before launching into a guitar-driven, clicky section. Jon's vocals range from angry shouting to some of his highest vocals ever in the space of a word, and there's even a confusing "get your boogie on" section (?) Oh well. Nice backing vocals from Head again, as there were on the previous track. About half way through, the song changes style and Jon's vocals become more whispery and quiet, and the guitars even more weird. Oh yeah, and there's the "ram-ba-dee-boom" backing bit too, which is cool. Another of my favourites.

("That's a song baggin' on myself. How everything's always handed to me. How I look up to God and don't want this anymore. Like I want something more out of life than all this. And I've got everything I really need but I sometimes don't like. I don't know how to explain it. I have to let it sit through the songs more to actually get into what I write. I truly know, really, the meanings of the songs almost. That's what I'm getting out of it right now.")

Track four (or should that be sixteen), "Dead Bodies Everywhere" starts very confusingly with some kind of child's music box tune slowly playing, before KoRn's instruments start playing. This song was not released, but is another of the album's highlights. It reverts back to the opening sounds after two and a half minutes before returning even heavier and angrier than before.

("That was the song about my parents trying to keep me out of the music business. My father was in it and he knew how it was and I totally understand now that I have a son. I want Nathan to be a musician but I him don't want him to go through the hell I went through. That's the same thing my Dad was doing. A lot of people can relate to it, because it's like the Dad's wanting their sons to be football players and their sons want to be doctors or something. That peer pressure its like trying to make them something they're really not. And the Dead Bodies thing is like so I did it and all I got out of it was dead bodies everywhere and got all traumatized. Thanks a lot Dad, Mom.")

A song I admittedly skip often (even though this is almost a blasphemy upon KoRn), "Children Of The KoRn" features several short Jon Davis verses choruses, a bit of KoRn playing in the background, and a lot of Ice Cube rapping. Unless you've read some of my other reviews on the subject, rap music does not appeal to me at all, and I really don't like this song that much. The KoRn tune is quite good, and Jon's vocals are cool still, but for me it's spoiled by Ice Cube. However, if you like rap you may find this on of the album's highlights, I don't know.

("That's the song that Ice Cube is on- Cube came up with the title. [What a genius.] I fed off of what he wrote, he was talking about growing up and puberty. Dictating what he can do, like how you gonna tell me how to live and who to f***? And all this stuff. And I took that and in my stuff I was talking about being a kid always known as the f*****' town faggot. It's funny how things change. That some of these people picked on me and all of a sudden look who's laughing now. Also in another of the verse I talked about all these parents f****** hating me for what I do, saying I'm corrupting their children, but in turn these parents need to step outside of themselves and really listen to what I'm talking about. Then I think they can understand that they were kids before. They're just really quick to judge me. All the Children of The Korn are all our Korn fans. All those kids going through that shit [Forgot to censor] and feeling what I feel.") [Quotes are getting much longer than my descriptions now.]

"B.B.K." isn't a very original song, however it is cool. The simple KoRn formula with a bit of odd noising by Jon near the end.

("Big black c**k! That's what I call a jack and coke. Those little glasses they serve in Europe and everything. That's what I named it, big black c**k. And that's another song about me dealing with the pressures of this album and how I, you know, I'm trying to kill myself, but you know? Do I really want to kill myself? Things I'm just questioning myself. Most of this is self-structured.")

"Pretty" (track nineteen) begins with a cool, throaty-style sound that sounds cool. The song is slower and in parts less heavy than KoRn's usual offerings, but is a really cool song. Jon sings the verses and shouts the choruses.

("It's a story about this little girl that came into the coroner's office when I was working there and she was f****d by her dad. She was an 11 month old little baby girl. Her legs were broken back behind her and he just f****d her like a toy doll and chucked her in the bathroom. It was the most heinous thing I've ever seen in my life and I still have nightmares about it.") [Just censor the naughty words and leave all the really distressing content in.]

Less serious, and a very light-hearted song, "All In The Family" does feature rapping, but in a comedy context which makes it all the more standable to me. Dividing the vocals between Jonathan Davis and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, the song is basically a diss-fest with the two friends taking the wee out of each other. A lot of the lyrics are very funny, and some of the insults actually shocked me as they seemed like they would be hard-hitting to the receipient. Quite a cool song, there are many I prefer. This was also released as a single, but was the least popular (probably cause the others were better).

("Fred was there after Korn TV and we said, 'Let's do a song together, Hey, man, let's go back and forth and rip on each other like an old school battle.' I don't know who's idea it was, I can't remember if it was mine or Fieldy's or Fred's but we came up with the idea and we started writing and we worked on it together. I came up with some bags on myself for Fred to say. It was all in good natured fun.")

Into the second half of the album, "Reclaim My Place" is quite a cool song, but a bit average for KoRn. A simple song structure and nothing very original, it's one of the reasons why this is my least favourite KoRn album.

("This one is about the whole band and about all my life being called a homosexual. And then I became this big rock star in a band and I'm still called a fag [Don't need to censor that] even by my own band. So it's like I was f*****' pissed off at them. It's like erase them all because I'm gonna reclaim my place and say hey, they owe a lot to me for what I did, and I owe a lot to them back. But, it still kinda sucks. I've never ever gotten away from that fag f*****' title. Just because I'm a sensitive kinda guy. Kinda feminine it really sucks.")

"Justin" is a lot better, and starts with an odd tune that climaxes and leaps into the song with Jon shouting "F*** all that bullshit!" [Forgot to censor.] A heavy tune for the choruses, Jon's voice seems slightly distorted and high in the chorus. This song is very good, but often overlooked for the first half of the album.

("Justin, that was the kid dying terminally with intestinal cancer. His last dying wish was to meet us and it really freaked me out. That threw a whole bunch of new kind of pressures on my head. That's really intense. Someone's gonna die and his last thing he wants to do is come hang out with us. So I truly just freaked out. It's like why would you want to meet me? What makes me so special? And in turn I talk about how I admire his strength and his life. I couldn't stare at him because he was so content he was gonna die. No one could look him in the eyes. And I totally admire his strength. I wish I had it.")

"Seed" features 42 seconds of high-pitched guitar noises between leaping into a tune that is very good, but a bit similar to the previous two tracks. The chorus doesn't seem very clever either, and seems to be swearing just for the sake of it. [I seem to have become somebody else suddenly.] A cool song though. [And he's back.]

("Seed. That's all about the same thing again. I, laying in bed in my hotel room, thinking about do I really need all this stuff? All this pressure on me? Because I'm a stressed out freak. It's about Nathan, it's about every time that I look into his eyes, I see myself how I used to be, innocent and stress free. I'm kind of jealous of it. It really sucks, I used to be that way. It's like I have to work so hard at this thing in my life. I have to become a stressed out freak. I put food on the table for my child. Every time I look in his eyes, I just see myself staring right back at my ass laughing. I was like care free, innocent as a child. It's really weird and I'm really jealous of it.") [It was really important that I include all of that.]

Better than "Children Of The KoRn," "Cameltosis" is another song featuring a rap appearance (by Tre Hardson of Pharcyde), and a little bit of Jon in the choruses. The tune in the background is more prominent than in "Children Of The KoRn", and this song would be really cool (the best song on this album for a while) is if did not feature that damn rap guy.

("That's a love song. It's about women in general, women who hurt me. It's Tre's lyrics. He's going on about chicks and my chorus is like I'm so scared to love anyone and really let them in after I got hurt really really bad by a girl. I've let Renee in a little bit, to be honest, but I'll never be that in love ever again. That's what I'm saying, if you've loved twice, you're gonna get f*****, 'cause you usually do.")

Another of the album's highlights, "My Gift To You" reminds me of "Shoots and Ladders" off the first KoRn album (yes, this is where Jon whips out his bagpipes), and has another very cool, heavy tune overlaid. The song does get a bit long towards the end (lasting just over seven minutes it's nearly as bad as some Metallica song lengths, not that Metallica aren't amazing or anything [Well on to the way to inheriting that fickle best band crown]), and Jon puts the 'pipes away after 48 seconds in favour of vocals.

("Renee always wanted me to write her a love song and that's why I called it My Gift To You. It's my gift to her, you know how I get sick. I always had a fantasy of f*****g her and choking her to death. I fantasize about what it would look like me in her body and watching me do it. So it's like a really sick f***** up song. I did it totally like, I love her so much, I want to take her out of this world. It's really strange. She used to leave notes on my pillow like 25 ways she'd like to kill me. She's got this weird death fetish. We're kinda f*****' freaky. She got it. She's all 'Thank you that's kinda f***** up. I was expecting a f*****' I love you, baby kinda song.' I'm all, 'No, you know me.' I mean I can't do that.")

The album's hidden section ("Earache My Eye") begins after 9 minutes and 14 seconds, with Fieldy and Cheech Martin conversing about some form of barbecue, and this runs into a rather comical song sung by Cheech about wearing his mother's clothes. A nice end to the album, if a little strange. Overall, the album is my least favourite from KoRn as the similarity of a few songs and the guest appearances all diminish it in my view. However it is still an amazing offering from the band, and this album is probably responsible for them acquiring a large number of fans who were maybe put off by their other stuff. It was cool though to see somewhat of a return to form for their fourth album "Issues" in 1999.

3. Issues *****

Written on 16.12.2001

KoRn's most recent release (prior to the upcoming album now slated for a February 2002 release) [You won't care by then], "Issues" was released in 1999. Although the music has evolved since the heavier debut release and dark second album, Issues still lives up to these albums and the amazing music that this five-piece Bakersfield band have been producing for so many years. [I use the word "amazing" eight times in this review.]

Often viewed either as KoRn's finest or worst album, I find it lies somewhere in the middle. Like most people my favourite album is 1994's "KoRn", but my least favourite is the also-popular "Follow the Leader" (1997/1998). Fortunately, this album seems to have cleared out the aspects of the previous one which I did not enjoy (mainly the rap element, which although popular I do not find sounds good), and the songs are more unique. And although KoRn do not, once again, include lyrics (or even thanks) inside the Issues sleeve, the design of the cover was famously left to the fans to decide. A shame that the average teenage or adult who fancied his chances would be beaten overall by people who all took art degrees., but it was a nice effort nonetheless. And the judging should have been different too (I don't like the doll cover). [What's wrong with it?]

"Kerrang!" Magazine gave Issues five out of five K ratings, and labelled it "their deepest, darkest offering yet." That's as maybe, but when examined it quite possibly does live up to this label. Anyway, as for the songs, the album has a generous sixteen tracks (however, four of these last about one minute), and three singles were again released.

"Dead" is 1:12 long, and the bagpipes come on very early on the album. The lyrics all I want in life is to be happy overlaid with Jonathan Davis' account of everything being f****d act as a relevant intro to an album entitled Issues. Time to get some things off his hairy Scottish descendant chest, maybe. Quite a nice song, it couldn't really be taken seriously as anything but a filler. And there are plenty of these in here.

The album's first release, "Falling Away From Me" is an amazing KoRn song. High-pitched, eerie guitarring at the start from guitarist Brian "Head" Welch launches into a nice and heavy, loud piece. The video is rarely on in the UK for some reason, but features a man beating his wife [That may be the reason], and her trying to escape it through KoRn. And there are some nice dangling light bulbs. A really good song, it's definitely one of the album's highlights, and was played (albeit in a slightly undeveloped form) at Woodstock 1999, probably KoRn's most famous concert yet [Because I saw it repeated on MTV2?], as a taster of this new album.

"Trash", track three, reminds me of "Life Is Peachy"'s dark, sinister nature, as Jon's vocals and the instruments are played in a slightly oddly distorted way. The vocals sing about molesting children and not being able to help it, obviously a very serious song. I like this song a lot, as it's very different from other songs the band have come up with; this was a factor lacking in "Follow the Leader" which basically used the identical song structure and instrument style for every song. This song might take some people who are not big fans of the band some time to get used to, but it is very good.

A short and brief intermission between tracks, I actually find "4U" one of the album's highlights. It's very soothing and oddly peaceful [If you like this, maybe you should try listening to things that aren't Korn?], with very distorted vocals from Jonathan singing about how he is doing what he is doing for the fans. KoRn often play this life also, to a very well-receiving audience.

"Beg For Me" was the other song KoRn played off Issues at Woodstock, and is another fine example of the band. Odd, militaristic drumming at the start leads into a weird and twisted song that seems to be lacking something at some points, but sounds fantastic nonetheless. If KoRn had released anything else off this album, it would likely have been this.

Usually the most popular track on the album, the amazing "Make Me Bad" was the second song to be released as a single, and very deservedly so. The song is about how Jon feels the need to be in love (and make it), but how it always screws up somehow. The guitars are amazing in this song, and the drumming is different (sounding even rap-style), and the vocals are predictably flawless. The video (which is quite hilariously high-budget when compared to some of KoRn's earlier releases such as "Blind" and "Faget"), depicts KoRn being experimented upon at a remote location, and being impregnated with weird alien-esque things. Looks very nice and "Matrix"y-green though.

The song leads into "It's Gonna Go Away", once of the album's annoying fillers. Not exactly a fine piece of music, the song only lasts 1:30, and seems to talk about how people crumble under pressure. However, its not that bad a song, and although it does not seem to link songs very well it deserves the occasional listen-to.

Track eight, "Wake Up", is quite good but a bit unoriginal. Acts as a very good song to put on your stereo alarm if you have that capability, as long as no one will be offended by hearing "WAKE THE F*** UP!" At 7am. [I did this a couple of times.] The song begins loud and samey, but after a while becomes very different and unusual which is cool. [I use the word "cool" 14 times in the second half of this review alone.] However, the similarity of the main riff section puts me off this song a little bit. Not quite sure why it's surrounded by two short tracks over other songs, either.

Track nine is very reminiscent of track seven, although this time lasts 0:59. "Am I Going Crazy" basically asks that question several times over a weird, not particularly good backing tune, and makes me wonder why KoRn decided to include some of these songs on the final album.

"Hey Daddy" is another proper song, and has a fantastic start (mwah wa wa wa wa, mwah wa wa- bish)... okay, you have to hear it to know what I mean. It's less heavy than the released songs, but this isn't a bad thing. The chorus is heavy and loud and cool, while the rest is unusual and sung very nicely. A really cool song.

Probably my favourite song on the album, and well worth the wait, "Somebody Someone" was the third and final song released off Issues, and is definitely among my very favourite KoRn songs ever. Beginning with five high guitar tuney bits (similar to the start of "Falling Away From Me", only less scary), "Hey Daddy" [Wrong song] adds a fifth at the end which can really screw you up at times when you try and bop to the song's amazing riff when it starts. [What a teeny bopper.] Everything is played fantastically in the song, from the guitars to the bass (which is very apparent in this track) and the drums, and Jon's vocals which range from high and singy to very deep and throaty. At 2:59, the song becomes even better after Jon screams "I'm Dyiiiiing", and the song launches back in louder than before but slower and somehow even more amazing. Definitely something you should check out if you want to hear more KoRn.

"No Way", track twelve, is more distorted and dark than the songs have been for a while, but does sound really cool. The song also has fantastic guitarring once again, and shouty vocals from a more angry Jonathan. I think it's really cool, but maybe a bit odd for the casual listener (similar to how "Trash" was). The song ends with a cool burny sound that continues getting louder until it suddenly becomes the quiet intro of the next track.

"Let's Get This Party Started" is another really cool song, and is very clicky (I have commented upon the amazing KoRn clicking sounds quite a lot in my reviews of the band's other albums). The verses are clicky and cool, the prelude to each chorus is different and cool, and the chorus itself is... well, cool. [Get some vocabulary!] Very loud and distorted and nice, with screaming from Jonathan. The song also changes style towards the end with weird high vocals overlaid with high guitar bits. Really cool.

Probably my worst song on the album, "Wish You Could Be Me" luckily only lasts 1:07. Some simple drumming and odd sounds accompany Jon singing in a really stupid, sing-a-long style. Although the song is about rape, I don't reckon it was good enough to have put on the album.

"Counting", the next track, begins with a fantastic (yet simple) bass intro, and this tune is repeated throughout the verses. Proof that the album does not slip towards the end (this is track fifteen) [But you hated the previous one], Jon's vocals fit in perfectly with the clicky and amazing riffs. Another change in song style in the middle, Jon's vocals become distorted and high-pitched before the song launches into its previous style with the bass intro again. Really cool and fun song.

"Dirty" ends the album on a good note as it is a really cool song with Jon singing again. The guitars get really cool and Metallica-esque in my opinion almost after two minutes. A really good song, this song is very different once again and Jon's range of vocals are portrayed once again. With lyrics of "I wish you could see the word through my eyes" and "you dirty little f***", the song is a very appropriate ending to the album. However, it does get annoying when, at 3:43 the song ends and simple static white noise continues for about four minutes until the album finishes. KoRn intended this as some kind of old-style radio finish for the night when only static would emerge from the speakers, but it does get a bit tedious when you forget.

Overall, a fantastic album which is possibly the most diverse out of all the KoRn albums. The only real flaw is the odd, meaningless tracks that crop up every so often, and the fact that KoRn haven't released anything since then. Then again, they were sans drummer for a while. I hope this opinion has been interesting to you- I normally include lyrical quotes, but a few people have responded badly to them. [Ha ha!]

2. Life Is Peachy *****

Written on 18.11.2001

Usually the most disregarded and misunderstood KoRn album, Life Is Peachy is one of my personal favourites (I only prefer the previous album, 1994's 'KoRn.') [Listening to this much too loud on the walk to and from school is largely responsible for the tinnitus I've had ever since. Thanks a lot, Dave.] The whole style appeals to me, and I feel that the true fans of this album are those who appreciate it musically [?]- it certainly shows KoRn at their fullest, and has no crappy rap cameos like another album I can think of. Oh no, hang on... It does. [I was already doing my own critical commentary.]

Life Is Peach’s style is certainly a lot more of an acquired taste, and is not for the casual hip hop/metal listener. The album is deeper and darker than the others, and while dealing with much the same issues as the Bakersfield quintet’s debut offering, they are tackled in a less heavy, more distorted fashion. Fans of Follow the Leader or Issues over the first album would probably not think very highly of this album, which can appear very random and peculiar until after that customary few listens it takes to get to know an album inside and out. Having accomplished this task [Prick], I felt the need to successfully dissect the album for your scrutiny and my miles [dooyoo miles, the original Bitcoin]; I hope this track-by-track listing lets some of you who initially disregarded Peachy to maybe give it another go.

The first track, entitled 'Twist', puts Jonathan Davis' vocal talents to expert use by making him blurt out apparent nonsensical that does include several actual words ('you not rot', 'hot something'). KoRn's trademark-tuned seven string Ibanez guitars played by Head and Munky provide an equally disturbing backing soundtrack, as do Fieldy's loose five stringed bass and David Silveria's drumming. The track acts as an intro to things to come, and lasts for a mere 49 seconds before the whine of the next song begins. [All that for a 49-second intro. Nowadays I take the same space to review a whole novel.]

'Pain!' is what Jon shouts as 'Chi' commences, although this is understandably hard to confuse with 'Boy!' (I have to admit that it was only when I obtained lyrics I understood the song). [Why am I talking like a pompous prick?] One of the finest songs on the album in my view, Chi is probably the heaviest song on the album and features both of Jon's unique sounding vocalisations: his angry shouting and melodic singing. KoRn's instruments are fantastically clicky and distorted, making this song of drug abuse and torment a masterpiece that appears to end about a minute early before launching the listener into the cacophony of noise once again in true Sergeant Baker fashion (any fans of Primus may understand what I’m talking about!) This certainly sets the standard for the rest of the album to follow. ('Sick of the same old things so I dig a hole, bury pain!')

Track three, 'Lost,' begins quite mysteriously until Jon appears to be either orgasming or in extreme pain (oh well, easy mistake). The song deals with somebody’s friend drifting away from them and not seeming to realise it, either for a girl or other reasons. Being a huge KoRn fan, I consider the song amazing, but it’s probably one of the most average on the album. It isn’t very memorable unless one can remember it as the 'thorn in your spine’ song, which does stand out quite a lot in the lyrics. The instruments are not played as heavily, but in the same fashion as Chi, with all going at once throughout the song. ('Why can't I decide why my feelings I hide? Always screwing with my mind, a thorn in my spine.')

'Swallow' begins nice and Parental Advisory with a resounding, and satisfying-sounding, 'F*** yes!’ from Jonathan. The song is about paranoia consuming someone, which may be related to drugs (hence the title and chorus). Very high, well-distorted guitars and a noticeable bass line contribute with Jon’s singing/shouting approach once again, and when examining it many KoRn-pitched guitar chirps are purposefully added, especially towards the end, in which Jon finds himself mumbling into the fade-out of a very good, if not particularly memorable, song. ('It came unknown to me. Paranoid, it’s controlling all of me. Somehow, terror so pure. Right now, sh** I'm yours')

Although track five, 'Porno Creep,' seems a very unlikely song to be one of my favourites on the album, it certainly does hold that regard. The song seems simply to be a cleverly thought-out instrumental prelude to the first single off the album, 'Good God,'and is jam-packed full of KoRn quirkiness just how I like it. A great bass line, weird effect at the beginning that sounds like wind mixed with a roar, high guitaring, deceptively-simple drumming and quiet repetitive singing from Jon should always prevent this from being skipped on anyone’s CD player. Certainly a song that is as good an example of KoRn’s talent as any. The only lyrics are 'closer to me it feels.' The only question is, what’s that title on about? Is it suggesting that one of these five musicians has a secret hobby? Maybe those 'whore' 'b*tch' and 'liar' magazine covers inside the first album were from someone's private stash. Spooky. Kinky. [I really go in-depth on these intros and interludes.]

Certainly my personal favourite track on the album, the afore-mentioned 'Good God' is a pinnacle of musical genius. [Move over, Beethoven!] Beginning with screaming guitars and a clicking bass, Jon’s vocals soon invade our ears before the oh-so-memorable chorus of 'won't you get the f**k out of my face?' NOW!' is shoved down your ear holes and out of our anus with your faeces. [Has Chris been writing stories again?] The song is simply one of the finest KoRn have ever produced, and is apparently about a friend of Jon’s at school "who I thought was my friend, but who f****d me. [Oh god, back to the epic anecdotes.] He came into my life with nothing, hung out at my house, lived off me, and made me do s**t I didn't really wanna do. I was into new romantic music and he was a mod, and he'd tell me if I didn't dress like a mod he wouldn't be my friend anymore. Whenever I had plans to go on a date with a chick he'd sabotage it, because he didn't have a date or nothing. He was a gutless f****ng nothing. I haven't talked to him for years." This certainly explains a lot of the lyrics, which seem to be on about getting the f**k out of his face for one thing, and sucking him dry. I’m guessing the 's**t' he tried making Jon do involved drugs in the form of needles due to the lyrics 'In the sea of life, you’re just a minnow. Live your life insecure. Feel the pain of your needles as they s**t into my mind.'

'Mr. Rogers' is another of my favourites (yeah, that term does account for about a third of the album), and begins very hauntingly with echoey whispers and vocals punctuated with a guitar beat. When the song gets going it seems very distorted and warped. No being an American, it wasn’t immediate to me that Mr. Rogers is some form of TV show that Jon watched as a kid. As he explains, "back in the day when I was a speed freak, um... even further back when I was a little kid watchin' Mr. Rogers, that s**t was scary. He was a freaky old man... Land of Make-believe and Mr. F****n McFeely and s**t... made me sick. So back when I was doing speed, like for 5 or 6 days I'd be trippin out and my brain would start to get freaky and get schizophrenic and stuff, and I'd tape it and watch it everyday over and over... I don't know, I was sick in the head. As a kid he told me to be polite and all it did was get me picked on. I f****ng hate that man. Thanks for making me polite and trusting everyone, and easy to take advantage of. So I spent 3 months on that one song, just tweakin' on it, and it was totally just my Mr. Rogers obsession, about how evil I thought he was. Pretty much drug induced." And of course, aside from the fantastic vocalisations by Jon, this song must be memorable for the backing vocals by everyone’s favourite guitarist, Brian 'Head' Welch ('dumb,' 'f***er.') Great stuff. At first I wasn’t sure whether it was a continuation of 1994 KoRn - KoRn's 'Daddy' track that dealt with a yound Jon being molested by his parents' friend, however this is still very serious.

Okay, completely breaking away from the serious aspect is what I know as 'That K Song.' The appropriately titled 'Ka#0%!' (Which may stand for 'K****', although I doubt that’s much use at all as I’ve had to censor it) is the closest KoRn have come to a comedy song, and it certainly works. Respect has to be given to the band that can use 'p**ker' in a song! According to Jon, the song is about the women in his life who had used him and no loved him, and is not an attack at women in general, but to me it’s just that really funny, badly in need of censoring 'K Song' with the funny lyrics. I like to see it as something to cheer the listener up, in case they’ve been listening to such songs as 'Good God' and 'Mr. Rogers’ and started thinking what a bad place the world is to live in, and let them laugh for a while. Trust me, you should enjoy it while you can. ('Saggy t**s swinging between your fat crusty armpits/ Big ass hairy mole between your p***y l**s. [Putting in the stars doesn't automatically make this okay.] F*** s*** c*** d*** c*** t** barf (?) p*** balls ass p****r q***f?')

Beginning with what sounds like very loose bass strings, 'No Place To Hide' was also released as a single, although I don’t find it as good as many others on the album. Fair play though, it is a very good song, and is nice and distinctively clicky, as well as featuring very cool guitar ring and drum solos (overlaid with vocals). The themes this song could represent could be that KoRn’s new-found success means Jon’s painful past memories are no longer secrets, or that KoRn are now too exposed to the public for their own privacy (similar to the theme of the famous 'Freak On A Leash' song, which documents how KoRn are basically freaks on the media’s leash). Quite a good song in its own right, but not fantastic. ('I see your faces and I do not understand why each time I dream you're standing right there by my side. Why do you make me? You take m pride and in my eyes you kinda rape me inside.')

Not being a fan of rap in any form, I have to admit that I dislike track ten, entitled 'Wicked.' Featuring Chino Moreno from Koran’s [Koran?] close friends the Deftones, 'Wicked’ is basically a fast rap with a basic drum beat and deservedly quite good guitar whine in the background, interlaced with sections of Jon’s angry vocals ('cause I got wicked, I told them not to keep on their fire!') I heard this might be originally an Ice Cube song, as Ice Cube is also friends with KoRn, but I’m afraid I can’t confirm this. I’m not even sure if it interests me, frankly. Okay, sorry about that.

But listen, that fantastic guitar intro? This can only be 'A.D.I.D.A.S.' (All Day I Dream About Sex). Another of the best songs on the album, and this time I really really mean it, but possibly not as good as track six, this songs was deservedly (but confusingly) released as a single. Confusing as the song features a lot of swearing and is very short and repetitive, but understandable as it just sounds really, really cool. It’s no secret that KoRn have been sponsored by a certain sportswear company (aside from Puma), and this song may also be a nod in the direction of their sponsors, however the song basically seems to be about someone obsessed with sex who can’t have any ('so I dream and stroke it harder'). [Finally, Korn angst I could relate to.] The most popular release from Peachy, it’s the only video I have actually seen thus far, and it’s a damn funny video at that. It basically revolves around KoRn being found dead at a car crash incident and placed into body bags where they spontaneously become reanimated. Not very relevant, but who cares if we see Jon Davis wearing women’s underwear? Not that I’m into that sort of thing. Basic and simple, A.D.I.D.A.S. (or A.D.I.D.A.F. as it could also legitimately be called) appeals to a wide variety of people, so give it a go! ('All day I dream about sex / All day I dream about f***ing.')

Track twelve, 'Lowrider,' may also be a comedy track (it certainly brightens my day), and is this album's bagpipe song in which Jon can show off his cultural skill at playing an old tune that you will almost definitely have heard in some form before. An excuse for Head to shine with main vocals, he sings about how much he wants a low rider, and that’s about it. Very, very cool, it’s in that favourites list certainly, although it’s too short at only 58 seconds. Oh well, at least you can get to experience it. By this point one really should be realising the bad press of this album is severely incorrect. ('All my friends drive a Low Rider. And a Low Rider is a little lower. Take a little trip, take a little trip, take a little trip you and me?') A little bit of trivia that I’d like to believe is true is that Head recorded these vocals on his birthday, and they’re meant to sound like 80s rapper Tone Loc. If you’ve heard of him (who the f#0%?) then I hope I’ve enlightened you!

'Ass Itch' is fairly average for the album, but is still a quality piece of song writing that’s about song writing oddly enough. Jon seems to be realising that his life has actually been severely screwed up, partially due to his own actions it is evident, and that he keeps writing all this pain down- he has too much of it for one man to handle. Very clicky (which I like), this also features a singy chorus that sounds cool. But other than that, I don’t consider it a particularly amazing song (guitar, bass and drums sound fantastic though). ('Tell me now I want to know, is that me inside you see' Ah, this is fair, I gotta let this song inside me 'free.')

The closing track on this album, 'Kill You' begins very quietly and slowly before Jon softly sings accompanied by heavyish but quiet guitar, drum and bass. A really cool song, Jon admits the meaning. "It's about a relative I first met when I was 12. I f****ng hate that bitch. [Forgot to censor.] She's the most evil, f****d up person I've met in my whole life. She hated my guts. She did everything she could to make my life hell. Like, when I was sick she'd feed me tea with Tabasco, which is really hot pepper oil. She'd make me drink it and say, 'You have to burn that cold out, boy'. F****d up s**t like that. So every night when I'd go to sleep, I'd dream of killing that b*tch. In some sick way I had a sexual fantasy about her, and I don't know what that stems from or why, but I always dreamt about f****ng her and killing her." ('I would come walking in and say hello but you’d slap me and make some f****d-up comments about my clothes.') Certainly some very disturbing messages there, this song acts as a great outro to the album. Softer and pleasanter, but contrastingly with possibly the most disturbing lyrics of all, this eventually fades out into Jon’s heavy breathing and light crying, culminating in silence at 5 minutes.

Yes, there is a dodgy secret bit at the end (after 7 mins 40 seconds), which is an encore of Twist with just Jon and a very quiet bass working to make the scary song even more disturbing to the point where I do sometimes feel it’s scary in a freaky, unusual sort of way. But it’s basically not worth keeping your CD on for after you’ve heard it a few times. The only major flaw with the album relates back to Koran’s [Second time] annoying and (as-yet) unrelenting preference of not including lyrics within the album. These, however, can easily be found on the Internet through many search engines. But for those budding Twist'ers out there, it’s a lot harder than it sounds! And sorry for any rap fans, but this is my personal view on that aspect of music, so don’t take offence!

My Peachy came with a Sony 'CD Extra'option that contains the Good God live video when the CD is placed into a PC, but others I’ve examined do not. If yours doesn’t, don’t feel down- it’s pretty s*** anyway. [Nah, explicit lyrics don't encourage casual swearing.] But played well. I hope I’ve managed to broaden peoples' minds about this under appreciated album that deserves a lot more respect than I’ve seen it getting. [Maybe if you hadn't put them off right at the start.]

1. Korn *****

Written on 10.06.2001

KoRn are undoubtedly my favourite band, and have been ever since I heard "Blind" for the first time last year. [You bloody liar! You finally got curious enough to buy this album on your recent school trip to Koblenz. The Offspring were your favourite band last week, and will be again in a couple of weeks according to your Smash review. Who are you trying to impress? Oh yeah, everyone in the world.] This album was their first, and although it is not as well-known as "Follow the Leader" or "Issues", I believe it is their finest work.

It begins with "Blind", the album's first single, which is an amazing song, but probably among the worst on the album (although KoRn's worst is still better than the best of most bands). After a gradual build-up we hear Jonathan Davis' huge "ARE YOU REAAAAADY?" roar, and the song erupts into action. It's a spectacular start to the album, and a damn good song.

"Ball Tongue" features one of he only occassions of Jonathan's famous "weird noises" that are more common on later albums, and has an amzing riff which still retians the bass and drum clicks that make KoRn's unique sound. It also features an appearance from guitarist Brian "Head" Welch shouting "Ball Tongue".

"Need To" begins with a loud, slow guitar tune before bursting into a click-fest (bassist Fieldy has his strings loose so that they produce this noise, and it is aided by drummer David tapping the drum's edge. It produces the chopstick-like sound that is probably more occurent on this album than any other, and sounds fantastic). [This was the theory my goth mates eventually settled on, anyway. I'm not a musician. Neither were they.] The song is also amazing.

"Clown" begins with KoRn talking and generally pratting around before the song begins. it is one of the best songs on the album, and was also rewarded with a music video (although i have never seen it). Definitely one of the album's high points.

"Divine" is another cool song, and has some great vocals by Jonathan. only problem is, I don't know the meanings behind many of the songs due to the lack of lyrics inside the cover. (A flaw KoRn decided to change with their third album, "Follow the Leader.") [At least I hadn't hit on the idea of including background info yet.] This song is another of the best on the album.

"Faget" is possibly my favourite KoRn song on the album, and is a personal story about vocalist Jon gettin taunted at school by people (allegedly including some of his KoRn band members) for being gay, even though he was not. [I felt like I shouldn't leave that ambiguous... even if it was.] The song lasts for around six minutes, and has slow and fast, loud and quiet segments that all flow together brilliantly. definitely worth hearing if you haven't already.

Track seven features a two-minute bagpipe session from Jon before bursting into what is another of the album's greatest songs, "Shoots and Ladders." It's got a great tune, and very confusing lyrics which, in case you are wondering, are actual nursery rhymes. Although they seem strange to put into a KoRn song, the meaning is scarily clear; by listening to the words, you can realise the true evil of such childish rhymes, which i believe is the greatest message on the album. [I sound like a paranoid Christian parent, paradoxically listening to nu metal.] I believe this song also had a music video, although if it does it must be another rarity.

"Predicatable" is an average KoRn song. it's very good and loud, but has nothing unique about itself. The vocals sound very good though. [That was just pathetic.]

"Fake" is about someone insincere [No shit], and is another cool song. It alternates between slow and fast like "Faget", and features great clicking. [I did really enjoy all the clicking.]

Track ten, "Lies", is another cool KoRn song, and I love the guttural roaring in it. It's possibly another of the album's greatest songs.

"Helmet in the Bush" begins with some form of Mexican man saying something confusing, and becomes a very good song that has a nice build-up.

The final song, "Daddy", is seven minutes long and very different. It is about Jon receiving unwanted sexual abuse [As opposed to...] from his parents' friend when he was younger, and as such has a very deep meaning for him. Near the end, Jon does actually start crying, which is very effective. Although the song isn't the best on the album, it is certainly worth listenining to for the haunting lyrics and message. it is a song that KoRn have reportedly never played live.

The album has a very odd and poor secret track which is about an abusive man shouting at his partner about fixing a car, but the album's songs definitely make this the best KoRn album. It was the first one I bought, and i urge you that if you decide to invest in some KoRn, this album is well worth it. I'll have to try and find some meanings for thed songs on the internet, and maybe I'll appreciate it even more. [Nooooooooooooooooo!]

"Bonus": Korn in general *****

Written on 22.04.2001

Out of all the new bands that have appeared over the last few years due to the sudden increase in metal's popularity [Get this guy a job at Kerrang!], Korn [Oh look, I wasn't a true fan yet] are by far the most original. [They were the original nu metal band, so this is true as far as I narrowly understood things.] They don't have the image of Slipknot or the chart success of Limp Bizkit, but their music is original and inspiring.

The obvious difference about the Korn "sound" is the heavy bass and drum clicks used in almost every song [I was never sure what made those clicks; covering a couple of the bases here], and the bagpipes wielded (albeit seldomly) by Jonathen Davis. Jon's singing is also a refreshing change, as it seems to cross the boundary between singing and the shouting of bands such as Slipknot and Mudvayne, and can change instantly.

The only problem with Korn is their apparent dislike of including lyrics to a lot of songs they produce, which is a shame as some songs contain very deep, sensitive messages, especially on their first, and so far best, album, "KoRn."

[The fifth KoRn album came out in June 2002, six months after the last of these reviews. True to fickle form, I'd moved on from nu metal by then and never listened to it. I'll spare you my earnest Metallica reviews from 16-17, it's not even funny when the music's acceptable.]

No comments:

Post a Comment