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Korn
Korn


5.0
classic

Review

by VOTED most underrated user (2016, 2018) USER (7 Reviews)
September 1st, 2014 | 103 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


Anyone who has ever written a review for a Korn album, particularly this one, has started with the line "are you ready?" It's the first line of the opening track, and many believe it perfectly sets the tone for the groundbreaking sound and enormous fanbase that shortly followed. Well...it really does. "ARE YOU READY" has become a cliche slogan for Korn fans much in the same way that "I am your father" and "Asta la vista, baby!" are cliche quotes for movie buffs, but much like those lines, "ARE YOU READY" sure did pack a punch, and even if the world wasnt ready for Korn, Korn came in with middle-fingers raised and dreadlocks dropped down low, ready to shove bullies into lockers and give relief to pretty boys from sea to shining sea.

We live in a strange, somewhat hypocritical world. It's popular to hate on Christian rock because it's chipper, uncannily upbeat, and written by people that "have never experienced a single problem in their lives," yet we also hate on nu metal for the exact opposite reasons. Nobody wants to hear about middle class white boys whining about some girl not talking to them in 8th grade math class, and that's where Korn differs with their 1994 debut. I've read quick biographies online of other nu metal vocalists like Aaron Lewis, Fred Durst, Chester Bennington, among others, and I cant find anything more severe than divorces or mild substance abuse in their childhoods. Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, however, was sexually molested as a child and his parents did absolutely nothing to help him and often claimed he was lying for attention. This man attempted suicide twice before the age of 16. If anybody had the right to create nu metal, it was this guy, but middle class white boys listened to Korn and thought "wow, I've felt upset once or twice!" and totally missed the point behind the music, turning the genre into the rightfully mocked "WHY WONT YOU ANSWER MY TEXT!" nu metal that we know and hate today.

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park screams "SHUT UP WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!" and Aaron Lewis of Staind melodically sings "I just needed someone to talk to but you were just too busy with yourselves." But think about it, we've all been angry, we've all felt emotionally torn apart, it's a human emotion that all people from every corner of the planet experience. We've all wanted to find that douchebag that made today the worst of the week, grab him by the hair, yank him violently and bash his face into a mirror, which is why nu metal caught on so quickly with American teens. No band portrays the genuine feeling of unforgiving anger and unadulterated rage like Korn's 1994 debut does. 'Fake' is Davis practically telling a bully to go kill himself because he sucks at life, hauntingly singing "just let it all go" in a chilling manner. Tracks like 'Faget' deliver jaw-dropping emotion that sounds as real as it gets, almost as if Davis is getting abused during the recording session. Halfway through the track, he stops the song to whisper this message, his mouth a millimeter away from the mic:

"I'm just a pretty boy, or whatever you call it, you wouldn't know a real man if you saw it
It keeps going on day after day, son
You HIV FAGGOT, if we don't want none
I'm sick and tired of people treating me this way everyday
Who gives a ***?! Right now I got something to say to all the people that think I'm STRANGE and I should be out here locked up in a CAGE
You don't know what the hell is up now anyway
You got this pretty-boy feeling Like I'm enslaved to a world that never appreciated ***
YOU CAN SUCK MY ***ING DICK AND ***ING LIKE IT!"

C'mon Puddle Of Mudd, you say that to the dude that picked you last for recess football. C'mon Linkin Park, tell that to the guy that keeps interrupting you. I dare you. When you're pissed off and there's no turning back, what is the inner voice in your head more likely to say? "Shut up!" or the passage above?

Above all, the songs are just flat out catchy and even innovative. Every song, whether it be a charting single or a three minute "filler" track, has its moments that's bound to make the listener go "damn, that's cool!" I guarantee more than half of the riffs on this album will get stuck in your head, and that's nothing to be ashamed of. 'Blind' opens the album and is one of the bands better known songs, as it damn well should be. The track builds up for roughly a minute of nothing but the extremely effective high-hat and a brief four-note riff before Davis yells "ARE YOU READY???" and BAM, the distortion kicks in and the badassery begins. Every riff, verse, and chorus of this track is catchy as hell. 'Ball Tongue' is a track that I'm sure convinced some parents in the world to take away the CD from their kids and enroll them in church camp. The song is supposedly written about some dorky wigger that the bandmembers worked with, but I still firmly believe the song is a social study from a schizophrenic's point of view. The chorus involves Davis spewing insane gibberish over another member whaling "BALL TONGUE!!!" over and over and over again, ending with disturbing moans over the sound of a trash can clanging. 'Predictable' has a cool progressive bridge written in 6/8 time, something you don't often hear outside of Tool in mainstream rock. "Shoots & Ladders" has a 90-second bagpipe intro that catches your attention immediately and uses lyrics from nursery rhymes and childhood folk tunes in a disturbing and effective manner. 'Lies' has death metal growls during the chorus and one hell of a catchy riff.

But if Korn accomplished any single feat with this album, it'd be the release of the most depressing, unsettling track I've ever heard. 'Daddy' is a 9 minute and 30 second song about Davis's childhood molestation, and the emotion is delivered with perfection. Beginning with an eerie melodic section from a lullaby, the song has a very brooding riff and an atmosphere of total hell. While the track may near 10 minutes, the last five minutes consist of nothing but Jonathan Davis sobbing, breathing heavy, swearing in bits of anger, bawling loudly into the microphone. He loses it, and there isn't anything like it on the planet. When he says "real tears came out" while discussing the song in interviews, you know it's true. No one can fake that sort of raw, depressing emotion. It's one of the greatest things ever recorded, but I have only listened to it a handful of times simply because it puts me in a bad mood. There are some excellent pump-up songs that get us motivated; then there is ‘Daddy’ by Korn.

Despite all of this, I'm not sure if I'd call myself a Korn fan. Sure, they released my 5th favorite album of all time, but everything they've done since hasnt touched this record at all. Every album has been sprinkled with minor cool moments but are otherwise pointless, ranging from "eh, whatever" to "this is ***ing terrible". In reality, if I were to make a Korn's Greatest Hits, it'd just be this album three or four other songs…and Coal Chamber’s ‘Loco’. Korn blended with the rest of the angry wigger white boys and forgot who they were. The band has become a laughing stock, and it's a shame that most of the newer fanbases completely disregard this album. To the kiddies: if you want raw, if you want hardcore, if you want interesting music that will feed your attention-craving prepubescent "troubled" selves, then turn off Slipknot, turn off Asking Alexandra, turn off Emmure, hell, turn off new Korn and pop in this classic from ’94. TURN IF YOU’D LIKE, THROW YOUR HATE AT ME IF YOU’D LIKE, TELL ME I’M A PUSSY AND YOU'RE HARDER THAN ME!

Also, that cover art. Damn.



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user ratings (2596)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSonomaDude
September 1st 2014


7299 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A bit long for a review, but I've always loved this album. I wrote this in, like, 30 minutes, but I was able to do so because my opinion on this album is something I've always felt strongly about. Constructive criticism would be liked.

squidysquid
September 1st 2014


9 Comments


Never listend to old korn. Only song I know from old korn is "clown" and "adidas" and i likd both. This review was fucking excellent and I think ill finally sit down and listen to this. peace.

LepreCon
September 1st 2014


5471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Quite a good review. Ten years ago this probably would have been a 5 for me too

Tunaboy45
September 2nd 2014


17259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can't really give this a 5 but good review anyway, pos. Actually like The Paradigm Shift about as much as this.

sapient
September 2nd 2014


2413 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This review reminded me again why this record was so important to me years ago and convinced me to re-bump it to a 5. So for that, pos

Green Baron
September 2nd 2014


25137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've still never heard this.

sapient
September 2nd 2014


2413 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Give it a shot Green, it's a different animal than a lot of their other work

Green Baron
September 2nd 2014


25137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ugh fine, why not

undertakerpt
September 2nd 2014


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Excellent review, well done sir.



Album would prob have to be in my top ten of all time.



This album really clicked for me about 10 years ago when silent hill 2 was out on the ps2. I used to play that game in the dark whilst listening to this on full blast. If you want a truly humbling experience, listen to "daddy" whilst running around those dark corridors, it's almost perfect xD

Matthaios
September 2nd 2014


180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Brilliant review.

I agree with your last paragraph entirely. I love this album to death but the rest of their discography is really hit or miss.

Tunaboy45
September 2nd 2014


17259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This, life is peachy, follow the leader and the paradigm shift are their best albums in my opinion.

Green Baron
September 2nd 2014


25137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Alright, I'm not feeling this.

sapient
September 2nd 2014


2413 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, at least you tried

Green Baron
September 2nd 2014


25137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I mean, it's not horrible like anything they made in the 21st century, but my god is it boring

TheSonomaDude
September 2nd 2014


7299 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Shame you couldnt get into it. You say it's boring, I honestly don't understand that response. I'd get if you didnt like the brooding tone or thought it was pretentious in certain ways, but boring? Eh, whatever. I think it's amazing.

sapient
September 2nd 2014


2413 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah I wouldn't say it's boring. Simple to play, yes, but not boring.



Munky and Head's use of dissonant,screeching noises with their A-tuned riffs makes it a lot more interesting than most Nu-metal imo, and contrary to popular belief, they use more than just the bottom end of their 7 strings

Jasdevi087
September 2nd 2014


6535 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I could never 5 a korn album, but I still have respect for this album.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2014


11798 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review man, have a pos.



"Tbh they were pretty good until untouchables which was the first album they went downhill"



I pretty much agree although I still think Untouchables and TALITM were pretty good. TPS is great though so I hope that continues when they inevitably release something next year.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2014


16739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very nice review bud. Best Korn for sure.

Pizzabakker5
September 2nd 2014


69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review, excellently written.



As for your arguments in favor of this album, I agree wholeheartedly. I just don't agree with the notion that everything Korn made blows after this album. After defending a band hated upon so badly and undeservingly by many, you're dissing the same band for in my opinion the wrong reasons. Sure, no album has been as unique as their first. But the raw emotion in Jon's delivery and badassery musically comes back at times in later albums, though shaped somewhat different because of improved musicianship.



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