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Korn III: Remember Who You Are Listening Party Report

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Last night, Vince and I attended a listening party for Korn’s latest earth-shattering masterpiece, Korn III: Remember Who You Are. “But Axl,” you ask, “if you and Vince hate Korn so much, why did you go?” Well, three reasons:

  1. We were told there’d be free drinks.
  2. We thought it would be really funny.
  3. We were told there’d be free drinks.

And there were free drinks! Unfortunately, there wasn’t much humor to be had.

ANYWAY, as part of the presentation, three-fifths of the band got up – Fieldy and whomever is playing the second guitar with the group these days were absent – and said a few words, none of which made any impression on me. Then they played the album. Herewith, my thoughts on said album, track-by-track.

1) “Uber-time” – This is just an intro. Jonathan Davis is saying something but I couldn’t tell what, and there’s some guitars just kinda fiddling around, and I think I was already regretting coming to the listening party right around the five or ten-second mark.

2) “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)” – This the single, which everyone who wants to has heard already (see above). Thudding bass, Jonathan Davis doing nu-metal’s version of good cop/bad cop vocals (whispering the verses and shouting the choruses), lyrics with all the sophistication of an adolescent whining (“Why don’t you just leave me alone?!?!” Davis screams as he slams the door in mommy’s face.). We’re off to a bad start… and this is one of the best songs on the album, ’cause at least it has a hook.

3) “Pop a Pill” – This basically sounds like “Oildale,” but a little faster. Ray Luzier’s drumming is actually pretty good, but as Vince points out, the drumming was always the best part of Korn, even back when they had that Calvin Klein model in the band. “LOOK AT THIS!” Davis shouts in a way that kinda reminds me of Anthony Kiedis. Is there even a second guitar part on this song?

4) “Fear is a Place to Live” – Starts with a pounding machine gun kinda thing, and then turns into a funkier version of “Here to Stay.” It’s right around now that I’m coming to terms with the fact that a) every song on this album sounds more or less the same and I’m consequently going to run out ways to describe them very quickly, and b) the drums are really, really high in the mix, to the point where I can barely hear Munky’s guitars. But since, as I said, the drums are the best part of the record, this was probably a wise decision.

5) “Move On” – This still sounds the same as all the other songs, but at least it’s kinda heavy… until the verse starts, at which point we’re back to Jonathan Davis whispering over Luzier’s quick cymbal taps. The song ends with something resembling a death metal scream, only it sounds like it’s been digitally altered quite a bit.

6) “Lead the Parade” – You know that guitar feedback that sounds like it’s been looped backwards at the beginning of Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People?” Well this song opens with something that sounds more or less exactly like that. Then this kinda swirling guitar part starts, and I thought, “EUREKA! AN ACTUAL RIFF!!!” But it doesn’t last long, and doesn’t repeat much – it’s as though Korn threw it out precisely because it was kinda okay. The verse, bridge, and chorus all sound like parts from three different songs that have been cut and pasted together – they just don’t seem to fit. I wonder if every time Mike Patton hears Jonathan Davis trying to sound like him, he throws up in his mouth a little? I wrote down the note “Holy shit, what is happening in this song?”, so that can’t be good. The song ends by ripping-off the intro to another famous, better tune, “Foxy Lady” – but then just devolves into some kind of droning. At this point Vince turns to me and whispers, “This sucks.” I point out that we’re just about halfway through the album, so at least this record appears to be fairly short.

7) “Let the Guilt Go” – I wonder if the members of Korn can even tell the difference between all these songs, ’cause I sure as hell cannot. This one has the Korn disco beat that they sometimes do, but that’s all that really sets it apart from any of its predecessors. Davis repeats the name of the song over and over and over and over, like Stuart Smalley giving himself a daily affirmation. I don’t know who came up with that kind of croak-y spoken-word vocal style first, Davis or Marilyn Manson or someone else I’m not thinking of, but Davis is doing a lot of that here. “I’m such a stupid fuck,” Davis announces, then scolds himself for thinking. Finally, some lyrical honesty! As the song ends, we can hear pretty much everyone in the room having conversations which have clearly been going while the track was playing. Vince turns to me: “Hear all that chattering? That is the sound of no one caring.”

8) “The Past” – It sounds like the guitars have a hairball and are trying to cough it up. But when the riff starts, it’s pretty speedy and I might even deem it “catchy.” There’s a mid-section where a normal band might have put a guitar solo, but it’s actually fairly listenable. If not for the fact that verse is the usual whispered B.S., I might deem this song “almost good.” Besides “Oildale,” it’s one of the few tracks that makes me want to cry but not die.

9) “Never Around” – This is the only note I have written down for this track:

“Kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me kill me.”

So I guess I didn’t like this song very much.

10) “Are You Ready to Live?” – Seriously, nobody told these dudes that all of these songs sound exactly the same? I’m starting to think Korn’s entire songwriting process consists of Luzier supplying a disco beat, Fieldy playing some generic-souding slap bass, and then Munky hitting his flanger and/or phase shifter pedal and approximating something like a riff. (Seriously: Kirk Hammett takes so much shit for over-use of the wah pedal, but I’ve never heard anyone take Munky to task for over-use of the same fucking effect over and over and over.) ANYWAY, during this song I saw some dude in a suit holding the bridge of his nose the way one might if one had a throbbing headache. I don’t know who this guy was, but if he was in a suit, I’d imagine he works pretty closely with the band. Sucker.

11) “Holding All These Lies” – The song builds and builds and builds to… nothing. It has the saddest attempt at a guitar solo I’ve ever heard. But the chorus is semi-epic and you could see some kids who don’t know better doing invisible oranges to it; I would not be at all surprised if this was the next single. But as a finale, it was incredibly anti-climatic. It just kinda ends, and then the record was over.

And then we had some free beers and food and left.

So, yeah. This record is garbage. But not even garbage the way old Korn was garbage; I never really liked this band, but unlike, say, Crazy Town, I was able to understand their appeal to a certain type of person. But Remember Who You Are is just as boring as watching paint watch other paint dry. There’s a severe lack of hooks; I’ve gotten “Freak on a Leash” stuck in my head and been really annoyed by it, but at least it got stuck in my head – there are really no memorable melodies on this album. If it sells well it will either be a testament to the Roadrunner marketing team, or the loyalty of Korn’s fan base.

In any case, since the folks from Roadrunner were cool enough to invite us to this listening party and let us eat their food and drink their beer, I feel like I should tell you that Korn III: Remember What This Album is Called comes out July 13, and if you like Korn, well, I hope that you and the CD are very happy together.

And now, because this is the closest thing to a formal review of this release you’ll ever see on MetalSucks, I’m going to give it a fairly arbitrary rating:

(Lunesta out of 5 horns)

-AR

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