Monday, July 9, 2012

Korn   Life is Peachy (1996): 44%

Press Play: Twist
“UUUURRROOOOOORAARAPPPPINNNNGGRAGGGGNUUUURRRRAAAGGGGNAINGNAHP!” [insert disjointed guitar chords and more yelled gibberish and unfocused aggression from Jonathan Davis] “twist…twist…twist…twist” [repeat sequence]

Pause for much needed silence
What kind of master strategy is this to begin a make-or-break sophomore album with a nonsensical rant with sour guitar noodling? Next…

Play: Chi
Okay, so we have a proper opener here, but when I say proper, I mean that this song is far more coherent than its preceding track. But still, saying this is proper is still somewhat of an insult to “proper.” We can understand what he’s saying (barely), but since ‘pain’ is repeated so many times with desperate anguish vocals, I guess we need to take him seriously? Never mind, next…

Play: Lost
I’m guessing whoever was handling the technical aspects of this album was getting as fucked up as the band. I can almost smell the recording studio reeking of spilled beer and assorted alcohol, cigarette and pot smoke, and perhaps a tinge of meth from Head’s drug pipe. I can practically see all of their eyes rolling to the back of their heads in a drugged-out daze as they stumble their way through this song. Kids, drugs may be fun, and they may be especially fun while making and listening to music, but don’t take after Korn who damn near overdosed every day for the 2 months of making this album. From what memories of this album I do have, the rest of the album is like this. Given my familiarity with this album, I may just entirely skip over what I know to be complete filler. Onwards…

I can’t really tell if this is a technical improvement from their low-budget debut with producer Ross Robinson. There are moments throughout the album where the weird guitar sounds remind me of a noir atmosphere where pedophiles reign and rapists prowl and crawl through neighborhood foliage/shrubs/bushes/trees just to glare at sleeping families through beady eyes. Will they finally manage the nerve to break in and inspire a Throbbing Gristle song?

Porno Creep
Well I guess even though there are no actual words in this song, the creepy atmosphere continues, so I guess the rapist has decided to forgo his desire to pull off a thrilling B&E, and instead goes back to his lair to cut and paste more porn clippings into a treasured scrapbook. To this track’s credit, it actually does sound respectable and dignified. Thank god JD only mumbles throughout this 2 minute jam, allowing David Silveria’s drumming and Fieldy’s trademark bass sound to take center stage.

Pause for the purposes of savoring one of the only cool tracks on this album

Play: Good God
We briefly hear the precursor to the sounds Korn would explore in Follow the Leader. JD screams with the furious abandon that was prevalent in their debut. “I say shit into my mind”? This was released as a single? Seriously? Next…

Skip to: Mr. Rogers
I am terribly conflicted with this one. Obviously, JD is referring to Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, but upon hearing the lyrics, they don’t exist to praise him. Apparently JD is blaming television personalities like Mr. Rogers for putting on this façade where your old friendly, caring neighbor could be that sex-obsessed fiend with the porno scrapbook I mentioned earlier. As JD himself is a victim of childhood sex abuse, blaming Mr. Rogers for instilling trusting naiveté into his mind (“this child’s mind you terrorized”) is like suing McDonald’s because you burned your tongue on their HOT coffee. Mr. Rogers a childhood terrorist? Why don’t you say that shit about the Teletubbies instead?

Skip to: K@#0%#!
Supposedly the purpose of this song is to give younger kids/teenagers who were lucky enough to buy this album and sneak it past their parents, a taste of giggly porno language. I remember reading an interview where Fieldy says something along the lines of “When we were kids and heard curses on a song, we’d rewind the tape a hundred times just to listen to that one part. So we made a song that’s all cuss words.” You know, this album is already so full of obscenities that making a song like this is utterly pointless on so many different levels. I’d imagine the target audience for Korn would be teenagers to people in their early 30’s who already have heard plenty of obscenities in their time and frequently use them on a daily basis while giggling incessantly on the inside. Enough with this track.

Skip to: No Place to Hide
Every album needs a centerpiece to represent the album’s overall sound, and I suppose this is it. As I hinted at earlier, the guitars sound monotonous to the point where either Munky or Head could have just performed the songs by themselves with the band and we’d never know otherwise. There could be varying parts between the two guitarists, but thanks to the shitty mixing, they are about as easy to decipher as metaphysics. Still though, it sounds radio-friendly (duh, it was released as a single) and easier to digest.

However, if I were to ask Korn themselves what the centerpiece of this album is, I’m guessing this is the track they would choose. But having Chino Moreno (Deftones) performing an awkward rap over an awkward funk riff makes this track probably more awkward than “K@#0%#!” where JD recites as much smut as he can think of. A centerpiece this does not make.

Skip to: A.D.I.D.A.S.
One of the only singles Korn produced for mainstream radio that still somehow manages to appear on most of their greatest hits/icon collections. Now that I am an older and wiser adult, remembering my 12 year old self prancing around the house and singing this song along with JD just embarrasses me. And why I decided to share that with you all, I have no idea. Bad music breeds bad writing decisions I guess.

The most pathetic attempt at a cover I’ve probably ever heard. Even Korn knows this is a crappy cover because it lasts less than a minute and grinds to a halt. Nothing more than an excuse for JD to obligingly bust out his bagpipes for one song.

Ass Itch
So the title of this song managed to get a chuckle out of me. So sue me; I’m human and I appreciate bodily humor just as much as the next guy. But considering this is the product of lyrical boredom, “I hate writing shit/ It is so stupid/ What’s my problem today?” “BURN!/PAIN!” Please, I feel obliged to demand money from JD every time he says PAIN! in this album to compensate for my own. So why does he bother writing this song? “To set me free?” yawn…that’s already expected from an already cathartic band.

Skip to: Kill You
Eminem deserves to have this copyrighted as a song far more than Korn. There are similarities: both singers want to kill their moms (or in JD’s case, stepmom). But the vital difference between the two is that Eminem opened Marshall Mathers LP saying he will kill you and his mom. JD merely wants to kill his step mom, and fantasizes about it. Sure, fantasies are fine and all for cathartic release, but as many serial killers (and Eminem) will tell you, fantasizing just doesn’t cut it up to a certain point.

Silence at last….

An acapella of twist as a hidden track?! It sucked then, and it sucks now! GAAARRRRGH! I suppose this was the master strategy: to get me to feel as much animosity and angst as JD. Thankfully and probably not surprisingly, this is the album that even die hard Korn fans are the least familiar with, and for good reasons.

Music: 4/10
Lyrics: 3/10
Length: 6/10
Meaning: 5/10
Significance: 4/10
Overall Impression: 4/10

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