It would be fairly easy for me to dismiss Korn’s latest, Issues, on a variety of platforms. I could mock the youth culture explosion surrounding the high-school angst of Jonathan Davis’ lyrics and the band’s inane image. The sound of a million kids screaming their hearts out to mismatched words and rhythms. I could go off on a tirade about the trend of similar, intelligence-lacking pseudo rap-metal bands that have sprouted like wildflowers and proudly sport the dreaded, tattooed Adidas-core look. Or, I could simply criticize the music for being mediocre in every area; not angry enough, not loud enough, not sincere enough. Korn are prime offenders in all of these areas, so it should come as no surprise that I find absolutely nothing redeeming about this record, save for the cover art, designed by one of the band’s fans (in a rather high-school-like “Design Korn’s Kover Kompetiton!” sponsored by the group). However, my voice will do little to stop the band from selling millions of albums.
Everything negative there is to say regarding Korn has most likely been said, spouted off in a variety of colorful tongues, so I see no reason to further contribute. Plain and simple, (and according to me) this is not a good record. “Falling Away From Me,” the first single, bites Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots” practically note for note (although devoid of any of the original’s juicy punch), the mechanical hip-hop beats come off as stale, and the “heavy” parts just don’t rock like the cabal of newer bands willing to take more chances. What I find remarkable is that Korn’s legions of fans find the band to be “the shit.” Likewise, you can’t expect the majority of them to be familiar with the music of Cave In, Botch, Snapcase, or Acme-bands who are at the same time infinitely more aggressive and intelligent. Ah, but how pretentious and foolish of me to even bring that up. There will always be a Korn, a band mainstream enough to be accepted by the mall crowd, “evil” enough to be labeled a menace by parents, and attractive and appealing enough to be on MTV, who specialize in pre-packaged sterilized angst. And to have succeeded this far, using relatively simple means, I raise the glass, but I dare not drink from it.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
"PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as…READ the article