Friday 5

Friday 5: Five Korn Jams You Can Love (Secretly)

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Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).

Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting. Now let’s get this party started!

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THE FIVE

Five Awesome Korn Jams You Can Love (Privately)

THE LISTER

Anso DFMetalSucks Senior Editor

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1. “Let’s Get This Party Started”
from Issues
(Epic) 2002 

Fuck, it’s tough to love Korn. And in light of their many, many foibles — the bellowing, the whining, the thudding, the crying, the squeaking, the ranting, the plodding, the dragging — you are right to wonder why it’s worth attempting to love Korn. But for some of us, the pursuit of hooky jams isn’t a choice. It’s a mission, an obsession, a gold rush that drives us to sift through hamster vomit to find a chocolate chip. And from 1996 to 2002-ish, Korn delivered a mound of gummy bears caked with llama shit every two years. In other words, you might’ve learned to filter out Korn’s thousands of mistakes to fix on their appeal, elusive as it is. For even if you relate to none of Korn’s vibe — victimhood, ugh — you couldn’t turn away from singable songs that rock pretty hard. You just couldn’t tell anybody.

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2. “Mr. Rogers”
from Life Is Peachy
(Epic) 1996

To work in radio in the ’90s was to be exposed to White Zombie, Pearl Jam, and other priority artists way before their breakthroughs. But being a metalhead in the ’90s meant you’d reject out of hand a band called “corn” with a K. But a couple years later, a full-page ad for their sophomore album would’ve convinced you that Korn was konnecting big-time — and so you’d hunker down and give that album a fair listen. And despite yourself, you’d love its half-dozen sorta-heavy, sorta-snappy, kinda atmospheric winners. Even the one that’s probably about hating an innocuous children’s entertainer.

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3. “Dead Bodies Everywhere” 
from Follow The Leader
(Epic) 1998

Until 1998, I was resigned to being a reluctant fan of Korn and their occasional greatness amid stomach-churning awfulness. But somebody in the Korn kamp did me a solid by hiring for their third album two classy commercial producers Steve Thompson (mixer of … And Justice For All, Appetite For DestructionPersistence Of Time) and Toby Wright (Alice In Chains). With that sonic upgrade came an million-fold increase to their jam:barf ratio. Picture your favorite band covering this song, you are moshing!

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4. “Here To Stay”
from The Untouchables 
(Sony BMG) 2002

If the ditching of producer Ross Robinson after two albums was a sign of Korn’s kommitment to albums that don’t sound like they were tracked in a sock drawer, then their teaming with merciless hitmakers The Matrix should’ve been magical. I imagined an album of sleek, lean superhits impervious to self-sabotage. I imagined super-hooks, technicolor backing vocals, tighter lyrics. I imagined the wiping away of any traces of the awful genre they authored. And it seemed like reality would match my imagination after The Untouchables‘ first jam, the ace “Here To Stay.” But no. No, no, no. [CORRECTION: Shit! I screwed this up — The Matrix produced See You On The Other Side, not this one. But anyway, the teaming of Korn and The Matrix didn’t result in magic and I love the song “Here To Stay” that’s the gist of it :) — ADF]

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5. “Wake Up”
from Issues
(Epic) 2000

Without their, ahem, corniness, Korn would cease to be Korn and would take on the identity of their, ahem, creative partners. And who could best engineer that than producer Brendan O’Brien (Crack The Skye)? After all, he had a reputation for being super hands-on, had clout with freaking Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and I think he was running Epic Records at that point — so let’s say that Korn was disposed to play ball. And their pairing on Issues turned out great via killer interludes in place of shitty rap, an overlong but basically dudless runtime, and an impressive neutralization of Jonathan Davis’s litany of complaints and artless delivery. In a bunch of places, his sentiments are kinda touching. Not bad touching.

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