Freak on a Leash

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"Freak on a Leash"
Single by Korn
from the album Follow the Leader
Released May 25, 1999
Format 7", CD5"
Recorded 1998
Genre Nu metal[1]
Length 4:15
Label Immortal/Epic
Producer(s) Korn, Steve Thompson, and Toby Wright
Korn singles chronology
"B.B.K."
(1998)
"Freak on a Leash"
(1999)
"Falling Away from Me"
(1999)
Korn chronology
"Politics"
(2006)
"Freak on a Leash"
(2007)
"Evolution"
(2007)
MTV Unplugged cover
MTV Unplugged rendition cover art

"Freak on a Leash" is a song by the American nu metal band Korn, featured on the group's 1998 studio album Follow the Leader. Prior to the album's release, Korn had an instrumental section of the song, described as a "noisy guitar break."[2] The section was taken out of the song after their fans requested it be taken out. After Follow the Leader '​s release, the song was released as a single on May 25, 1999, and since then, it has been re-released over ten times. The song uses dissonance, distortion, and effects, and is "aggressive."[3]

The "Freak on a Leash" music video was released on February 5, 1999. Directed by Todd McFarlane in Los Angeles, California, the video explores both animations and live performances mixed together. As a result, the band released a music video that won three awards, and was retired from Total Request Live. The single peaked at number six on the Alternative Songs chart, ten on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and twenty-four on the UK Singles Chart.

Origins[edit]

Following the release of Follow the Leader, Korn promoted the studio album by headlining the Family Values Tour in 1998. The tour ran from September 22 until October 31. "Freak on a Leash" was the first song played on their first tour date. The original composition had a "noisy guitar break in the middle," but, after the group found out that radio stations are not fond of "noisy guitar breaks," they asked their fans if they should take out the break. Roughly four out of five of the fans were in favor of taking the break out. The band described the break as "the Biohazard part."[2]

"Freak on a Leash" was recorded in May 1998 at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California.[4] It was released as their second single, on May 25, 1999, and is considered to be one of their most successful singles.[5] Since its first release in the United Kingdom, it has been released over ten times. It was released in the United Kingdom three times,[6][7][8] twice in Mexico and Australia,[9][10] once in Germany,[11] once in France,[12] once in the United States,[13] and once in Switzerland.[14] Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch said that the song "was about Jonathan Davis being a freak on a leash—sort of a kinky dominatrix thing."[15] Leah Furman said that the song "revolved around the mixed blessings of fame".[16]

Composition[edit]

"Freak on a Leash" is four minutes and fifteen seconds long.[17] The song uses dissonance, distortion, and various effects to bring the song "to life."[18] David Lloyd from the University of Alberta said that the song was an example of a "nonsense-utterance" technique used by lead vocalist Jonathan Davis. Lloyd also noted that the song contained "fragments of English-language words," and said that they "can be perceived in the midst of Davis' gibberish". Lloyd later went on to say that "Davis is giving voice to his inner basic feelings which are trying to resist being shaped or conditioned by utterances of others."[19]

Elias Pampalk said that the song was "rather aggressive" and said it was heavy metal/death metal.[3] Pampalk proclaimed that "melodic elements do not play an important role in 'Freak on a Leash' and the specific loudness sensation is a rather complex pattern". There are reoccurring elements throughout "Freak on a Leash".[3] The song contains vocals, guitars, bass and percussion. It expresses moods such as anger, drama, and sarcasm.[20]

An acoustic rendition of the song was recorded with Jonathan Davis singing a duet with Amy Lee of Evanescence, at MTV studios in Times Square, New York City for Korn's acoustic set on December 9, 2006.[21] A remixed version was made by a fan in San Jose CA and submitted to Live 105 radio station. The new mix pushed the song back to the top ten requested for another month after the original had fallen off. The artist, Nathan E, came to the station for an interview where it was revealed he was just 15 years old.

Music video[edit]

A screenshot from the "Freak on a Leash" music video

A music video for "Freak on a Leash" was released on February 5, 1999, and debuted on Total Request Live.[22] The music video was recorded on December 13 and 14, 1998, in Los Angeles, California. It was directed by Todd McFarlane who was assisted by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The music video contains a mixture of animation and live performance footage.[23] Although it was expected to be released in January 1999, it was pushed back to February 1999. The video "gives all involved the chance to flaunt their strengths" and "twists an animated adventure around the children McFarlane created for the Follow the Leader cover art." The directory work was described as combining "special effects and clever camera moves in the live action portion of the video."[22] An accidentally-fired bullet breaks out of animation world into the real world and wreaks much property damage (while narrowly avoiding hitting many people) before flying around the members of Korn and going back the way it came, returning to the animated world.

The video won awards for Best Editing and Best Rock Video at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards,[24][25][26] and later received the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 2000. It became the ninth video that was retired from Total Request Live on May 11, 1999.[27] The music video was also featured on Deuce.[28]

Reception[edit]

David Lloyd said it was Korn's most popular song, and on July 8, 1999, the song was the ninth most top pirated song on the Internet.[29] iTunes said that "Wright and Thompson bring a brighter, sharper sheen to Korn's sound, which helped make huge hits out of 'Freak on a Leash'."[30]

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance, and its music video won the Best Short Form Music Video. In addition, the music video won a 1999 Metal Edge Readers' Choice Award for "Music Video of the Year".[31] It was also nominated during the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.[24][25] It was rated the sixth-top single of 1999 by Spin.[32] It reached number six on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number ten on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart,[33] although it failed to chart on the Hot 100. It was also immensely popular in Australia where the single was certified Gold for shipments in excess of 35,000 units.[34] The song appeared on VH1's list of the "40 Greatest Metal Songs" at number twenty-three.[35] The song made VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s" list at number sixty-nine, and VH1's "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs" at number forty-eight.[36] The music video followed the previous success of "Got the Life", debuting at number eight on MTV's Total Request Live program on February 9, 1999,[37] and peaking at number 1 on its thirteenth day, February 25.[38] The video spent ten non-consecutive days at the top position until its "retirement", on May 11, 1999.[39][40] "Freak on a Leash" has been used in Puma commercials, was featured in The Simpsons episode "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot".[41] The song is featured in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour,[42][43] and was also released as downloadable content for Rock Band 3.

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic editor highlighted the song.[44] David Fricke described: "caged-animal babble (the Busta Rhymes-in-Bellevue outburst in "Freak on a Leash")..."[45] Yahoo Music! concluded that Davis delves into his own personal demons, in this song present.[46]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Charts[edit]

Appearances in media[edit]

  • The song is playable in Guitar Hero World Tour and is available as downloadable content for Rock Band 3.
  • This song made an appearance in the Daria episode "Monster" when Daria woke up from her nightmare.
  • This song was featured in the "The Simpsons" episode "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot" (2007). Retrieved from ImDb 2008-09-25.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://tagg.org/xpdfs/lloydbulg00.pdf
  2. ^ a b "Please Love Them: They're Korn", Billboard, November 1998. p. 86
  3. ^ a b c Elias Pampalk (2001). "Islands of music: Analysis, organization, and visualization of music archives". Austrian Soc. for Artificial Intelligence: 2. CiteSeerX: 10.1.1.4.5107. 
  4. ^ Follow the Leader (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  5. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 114
  6. ^ "Freak On A Leash: UK Single #1 " (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  7. ^ "Freak On A Leash: UK Single #2 " (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  8. ^ "Freak On A Leash: UK Limited Edition Cd " (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  9. ^ "Freak On A Leash: Mexican Radio Promo 1" (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  10. ^ "Freak On A Leash: Mexican Radio Promo 2" (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  11. ^ "Freak On A Leash: German Single #1" (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  12. ^ "Freak On A Leash: French Single" (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  13. ^ "Freak On A Leash: US Promo" (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  14. ^ "Freak On A Leash: Switzerland Single" (CD). Korn. Epic/Immortal. 1998. 
  15. ^ Welch, Brian (2007). Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story. HarperOne. pp. 101–142. ISBN 0-06-125184-4. 
  16. ^ Furman 2000, p. 127
  17. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "allmusic ((( Follow the Leader > Review)))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-13
  18. ^ Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Hal Leonard. 2002. p. 137. ISBN 0-634-04619-5. 
  19. ^ Lloyd, David (2000). "MERCURY MODELS: DISTORTION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY IN NEW HEAVY METAL". Sofia. pp. 3–4. 
  20. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine "allmusic ((( Freak on a Leash [Australia > Overview )))"]. Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-28
  21. ^ Harris, Chris (2006-12-13). "Korn Quiet Down With The Cure, Amy Lee For 'MTV Unplugged'". MTV News. 
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  25. ^ a b Billboard. Mar 11, 2000. p. 79
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  27. ^ "ATRL - The TRL Archive - Recap: May 1999". ATRL. Retrieved 2010-08-12
  28. ^ "Track listing". Deuce (DVD). Korn. Sony/Epic. 2002. 
  29. ^ Tunnell, Kenneth (2004). Pissing on demand: workplace drug testing and the rise of the detox industry. New York University Press. p. 137. ISBN 0-8147-8281-7. 
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  31. ^ Metal Edge, July 2000
  32. ^ Spin January 2000 p. 80
  33. ^ a b c "Korn > Follow the Leader > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  34. ^ "Accreditations - 1999 Singles". ARIA. Retrieved 2006-09-10. 
  35. ^ "40 Greatest Metal Songs". VH1.com. VH1. Retrieved 2006-09-10. 
  36. ^ "spreadit.org music". Retrieved February 7, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Debuts". The TRL Archive. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  38. ^ "Recap - February 1999". The TRL Archive. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  39. ^ "Hall of Fame". The TRL Archive. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  40. ^ "Number Ones". The TRL Archive. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  41. ^ "'The Simpsons' Stop or My Dog Will Shoot (2007)". ImDb. Retrieved 2008-09-25
  42. ^ Fahey, Mike (2008-09-12) "The Complete Guitar Hero World Tour Set List". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-04-20
  43. ^ (2008-10-02) " 'Guitar Hero World Tour' Trailer Featuring ZAKK WYLDE Available". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2010-06-30
  44. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/follow-the-leader-mw0000596961
  45. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/follow-the-leader-19980812
  46. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20051129053141/http://music.yahoo.com/read/review/12040864
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  60. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 69, No. 1, April 26 1999". Retrieved 2010-06-30
  61. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  62. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Korn search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  63. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Korn – Freak on a Leash". Top 40 Singles.
  64. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: Alex K - Kyuss". Zobbel. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
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External links[edit]