Monday, February 28, 2011

All Korned Up...

A band who is definately a conflict of taste amongst the Metal crowds around the world is KoRn. I have personally had a love and hate relationship with the band and it's music for years now, but I feel that there is enough between us for me to write this entry. You can hate Nu Metal all you want and bitch about the genre's rise, fall, mainstream appeal, 'lackluster musicianship' and Metal credentials until your throat dries up, but that doesn't change my opinion one bit.

I knew about the existence of KoRn several years before I actually heard the band, due to kids in middle school wearing their t-shirts in the mid 90's. At the time, my knowledge of music at the time consisted of what I heard on the local pop rock/r&b radio stations... so not very much, heh. I was more knowledgeable about the classic rock and roll stuff that my parents listen to courtesy of the local 'oldies' rock station they played in the car when we would drive around and I was fine with that. This is all fine and dandy for a nostalgia trip, but it really doesn't have much to do with my first musical exposures to KoRn, so let us skip ahead a few years.

High School was finally the period of time that brought modern music (most notably Harder Rock music) to my eardrums, regardless of the dismay is caused to the people I associated with at the time whom were mostly Pop and Hip-Hop fans. Like many people at the time, I first heard the band through our good friends over at MTV through the popular Total Request Live show (Yeah, I watched it. What of it ? Heh.) when "Got The Life" and the highly popular "Freak On A Leash" bombarded the mainstream with their catchy hooks and moderately aggressive vocals. I ran with the heard of like-minded new Rockers and picked up a copy of 'Follow The Leader' not long after. And you know, it still pisses me off that the first 12 tracks are just 5 second bits of silence!

Regardless, I enjoyed what I heard from the album, most notably tracks like "Dead Bodies Everywhere", "It's On", "Children Of The KoRn (Featuring Ice Cube)", "Got The Life" and "All In The Family (Featuring Fred Durst)". Although I initially liked "Freak On A Leash", it's overexposure wore it's welcome fairly quick and I rarely ever listen to the track (Although I still do love the video). Not too long after this, their fourth album, 'Issues', dropped like a bomb on the public, powered by the singles "Falling Away From Me", "Make Me Bad" and "Somebody Someone". To this day, this album is still my favorite and although my interest in KoRn have wavered over the years, it still gets fairly regular playtime. "Trash", "Make Me Bad", "Falling Away From Me", "4 U" and "Let's Get This Party Started" are definately the stand-out tracks for me. And from this point forward is where everything started it's downhill slide...

It was around this time that I felt that I liked the band enough to check out their first two albums, which I knew very little about. To be frank, I should've just stuck with what I knew (Although, with the way I explore music, it would've happened eventually anyways) as i'm not really of either release. I just cannot wrap my head around what so many people see in the debut, self-titled release. The production is crap at a lot of points (Probably not their fault), the musicianship is pretty weak (Minus certain bright spots) and the songs just aren't memorable to me. And I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that I can go without ever hearing "Blind" again. I have just never enjoyed the song and the fact that everyone thinks it's this amazing piece of music annoys me further. I guess the saving points for the release are definately "Clown", "Faget" and "Shoots & Ladders". And to this day i've still never listened to the track about him being molested as a child ("Daddy"), nor do I particularly care to. I listened to that sort of thing with Otep's "Jonestown Tea" and the context bothers me in an uneasy way.

The second album, 'Life Is Peachy', doesn't interest me either, but in it's defense I don't recall a lot of it. I don't ever want to hear "Twist" again (Nor should people use it as a ringtone, which i've heard on several occasions!), but the tracks "Wicked (Featuring Chino Moreno)", "Low Rider" and "A.D.I.D.A.S" are all enjoyable cuts. To this day, the biggest disappointment KoRn delivered to me was definately 'Untouchables'. I admittedly like "Here To Stay", "Hollow Life", "Wake Up Hate", "Thoughtless" and, to a lesser degree, "Beat It Upright' and "Bottled Up Inside"... but compared to the previous two albums, it's incredibly weak on all fronts. Without a doubt, this was the point where they fell from their fairly short-lived perch near the top of my favorite bands list and never came close to returning. 'Take A Look In The Mirror' is, without question, the best post-'Issues' release the band did. It's a nice punch in the face on a number of tracks, especially with "Counting On Me", "Right Now", "I Did My Time", "Break Some Off", "Everything I've Known" and the cheesy, but catchy "Ya'll Want A Single".

I don't have much to say about the three newest albums, aside from the fact that 'See You On Otherside' had catchy singles in "Twisted Transistor" and "Coming Undone", 'Untitled' had "Evolution", "Hold On" and "Kiss" and 'Korn III: Remember Who You Are' had... well, it had nothing... it was a shitty album. I do have to say that although I didn't really enjoy the albums too much, I appreciated the attempts with experimentation that they did on 'See You On The Otherside' and 'Untitled'. I really do, but the so-called attempt at a revival of their old sound that they achieved on 'Korn III' was a joke, plain and simple. Overall, I still appreciate KoRn for the few handfuls of tracks that I enjoy from the band, but their catalog has too much filler that I just can't look past in order to possibly see a competant and strong musical entity. I will always defend 'Issues' and 'Follow The Leader' (And I suppose 'Take A look In The Mirror' too) and that's that.

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