Korn (album)

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Korn
Studio album by Korn
Released October 11, 1994
Recorded May–June 1994 at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California[1]
Genre Nu metal[2]
Length 65:51
Label Immortal, Epic
Producer Ross Robinson
Korn chronology
Neidermayer's Mind
(1993)
Korn
(1994)
Life Is Peachy
(1996)
Singles from Korn
  1. "Blind"
    Released: August 1, 1994
  2. "Need To"
    Released: April 8, 1995
  3. "Shoots and Ladders"
    Released: October 31, 1995
  4. "Clown"
    Released: February 2, 1996

Korn (printed as KoЯn) is the eponymous debut studio album by the American nu metal band Korn. It was released on October 11, 1994, through Immortal/Epic Records. Before recording the album, the band was approached by Immortal/Epic Records after a performance at Huntington Beach, California. The band signed to their label because they didn't want to "sign away all of their creative freedom."[3] The band would record at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California with producer Ross Robinson, who also produced their 1993 demo Neidermeyer's Mind. The recording took place from May to June 1994. After the recordings, Korn toured with Biohazard and House of Pain.

The album's themes mainly consisted of both drug and child abuse. The controversial album artwork depicts a young girl being approached by a large man who is holding what appears to be a horse shoe. Photography was done by Stephen Stickler, and the design was directed by Jay Papke and Dante Ariola. The first single "Blind" charted at number 15 on the Canadian Alternative 30, the album peaked at number ten in New Zealand as well as number seventy-two on the Billboard 200. The debut album has sold over 4,200,000 copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan as of January 4, 2013. The album has now sold over 10 million copies worldwide, and is considered to have popularized the nu metal genre.

Background[edit]

Before Korn developed a name, they had moved into a small house together in Huntington Beach, California, south of Los Angeles, where they began working on songs.[4] Soon after moving, they rented Underground Chicken Sounds, a recording studio, from Jeff Creath, who had previously allowed lead singer Jonathan Davis to live in his garage. While they were recording at the studio, they attracted a crowd of people when performing the prelude to "Clown".[4] The band's bass guitarist, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, said that the crowd gathered because the band's style sounded so "different".[5]

Korn began playing gigs in the summer of 1993. While performing at Huntington Beach, the band was spotted by Immortal/Epic A&R Paul Pontius. He approached the band offering to record an album through their company. Although the group had offers from several other labels, Korn went with Immortal/Epic because they did not want to "sign away all of their creative freedom. "[3]

Recording and production[edit]

"Once we started playing, there was a complete sense of concentration among all of us. It was truly the only time we were all focused. I think that the synchronicity comes through in the sound. Once we were ready to record, we'd go into the studio where [James Shaffer] and [Brian Welch] would come up with a heavy guitar riff while I'd lay down a bass line over it, and before we knew it, a song would start. "

Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu[5]

While Korn was looking for a place to record their debut album, they asked producer Ross Robinson to produce their album. After accepting the offer, Robinson suggested they record at Indigo Ranch, Malibu, California. The band would record the majority of the album there, while additional recording took place at Bakersfield's Fat Tracks.[3][6] Korn recorded most of the album with all members playing simultaneously, as opposed to recording instruments separately. The "distinctive" sound and quality of music was given off by their instruments, rather than the production.[6] The recording of the introduction to "Shoots and Ladders" took place on a mountain-top, where Davis is heard playing the bagpipes. This resulted in acoustics that sounded more "natural" as described by Arvizu.[7] Korn finished recording their self-titled album by the end of June 1994.[5]

Since Robinson produced the album, his career was launched by its success, as it "taught Robinson how to produce. " In an interview with the heavy metal magazine Metal Hammer, Davis touted Robinson's behavior, saying: "Ross is a very pure and clean-spirited person, and you feel it when you're with him. He's the kind of person that can draw that out of you. I felt very safe with Ross. "[3] The album was released on October 11, 1994 through Immortal and Epic Records.[8] During the recording of Korn, there were five outtakes: "Christmas Song", "Sean Olsen", "Layla", "This Broken Soul" and "Twist". "Sean Olsen" was put in the single "Shoots and Ladders". "Twist" was later put on their second studio album Life is Peachy.

Marketing and promotion[edit]

Stephen Stickler acted as the band's photographer, and Jay Papke and Dante Ariola directed the album's cover art and booklet. The cover depicts a little girl in a purple dress with a matching bow in her blonde hair, bringing her swing to a stop to squint in the sun at the man standing before her. The man is only seen as a dark shadow on the ground, and is holding what appears to be a horse shoe. The band's logo, a childlike drawing of the band's name created by lead singer Jonathan Davis,[3] is seen on the sandy ground by dark shadow.

After Korn finished recording the album, they began touring with Biohazard and House of Pain at free gigs. Korn personally passed out flyers at their performances. Their record company gave them enough money for their own tour bus. Korn's first gig was in Atlanta, Georgia.[3][9] About half way through the tour, the tour bus that their record company gave them stopped working, forcing the band to find a new one.[10] This first tour proved very unsuccessful in promoting the album.[11] Aside from them touring, Korn released four singles. "Blind" was the lead single, released in 1994,[12] followed by "Need To",[13] "Shoots and Ladders",[14] and "Clown".[15]

Composition[edit]

Korn begins with "Blind", starting with the dueling riffs of James Shaffer and Brian Welch. Lead vocalist Jonathan Davis' first line is "Are you ready?", which is now one of the band's trademarks.[16] Davis told Metal Hammer that on the album's second track, "Ball Tongue", he "didn't sing a goddamn word in that song. I couldn't describe what I wanted to do, so that's how it came out. It's a really heavy sound. "[3] "Shoots and Ladders" is about Davis' disgust with the society. The song explores the concept of nursery rhymes. Davis relates: "'Shoots and Ladders' uncovers the hidden messages in nursery rhymes, the first songs many of us ever hear. 'Shoots and Ladders', to set the record straight, calls out nursery rhymes for what they really are. I choose each rhyme for a different reason—'Baa Baa Black Sheep' has racist overtones. 'London Bridge' talks of all the people of London dying (from the Black Plague, as does 'Ring Around the Roses'). Then there's 'Little Red Riding Hood'—one story tells of the wolf raping Red Riding Hood and killing her."[17]

"Clown"'s concept deals with an incident that happened in San Diego, California. A skinhead that told Davis to "go back to Bakersfield" attempted to hit Davis but he dodged and the band's road manager, Jeff, knocked the skinhead out.[17] "Helmet in the Bush" was about Davis' drug abuse, and the fear that gripped him at the height of his drug problem. He pleaded for a divine intervention to deliver him from his nightmare, as if he cannot help himself. Davis explained: "I'd wake up in the morning and do a line to get out of bed. Speed in the morning, I'd have it all lined up for breakfast so when I'd lay down and go to sleep, I'd wake up and just snort and it's like 'Yeah, okay, I'm up. ' It was bad. It's like, you do one line and stay up all night, but then you have shit to do the next day so you have to do another line to be able keep staying up to get that shit done. Eventually you start spinning-out from sleep deprivation. You get hallucinations and shit like that. "[17]

"Daddy", the album's longest track saw, Jonathan Davis "descending very real tears. " Davis said that the song's concept deals with his childhood, saying "People think 'Daddy' was written because my father abused me, but that's not what the song's about. When I was a kid, I was being abused by someone else. I don't really like to talk about that song. "[18] Some 14 minutes into "Daddy"—well after the song has ended—a tape that Ross Robinson found in an abandoned house begins to play. The tape depicts an argument between a man and his wife over a Dodge Dart exhaust manifold.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[19]
Q 4/5 stars
Kerrang 5/5 stars
The Village Voice C–[20]

On January 29, 1996, Korn went Gold in the United States (US),[21] and on February 10, 1996, the album charted at number seventy-two.[22] The album spent 30 weeks on the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand charts, entering on June 23, 1996 and peaking at number ten. The album left the chart on May 18, 1997.[23] It went Platinum in the US on January 8, 1997,[21] and entered the ARIA Charts on March 28, 1999 at number forty-nine. It maintained a position on the chart for five weeks, and peaked at number forty-six.[24] It peaked at number five on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart on April 24, 1999.[22] On July 17, 1999, it entered the MegaCharts at its peak position of fifty-six. After three weeks, Korn left the chart.[25] On November 10, 1999, it was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[21] The album peaked at number one-hundred-eighty-one on the UK Albums Chart on February 10, 2001.[26] It has been certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[27]

Korn was well received by music critics. Korn's debut album is said to have established nu metal. As said by Joel McIver, Korn "was almost solely responsible for the tidal wave of change that subsequently swept the metal scene."[28] Arnopp stated that the group "positively encouraged America's formerly introverted, apathetic misfits to thrust a livid middle finger in the face of high–school jocks who would traditionally bundle them into a locker and brand them 'faggots' for sporting hair longer than any Army buzz–cut."[29] Bands like Coal Chamber and Limp Bizkit were inspired by the album's "churning rage, emphasising similar grooves and song structures," and "the sound's hip–hop elements."[29] Slipknot, Machine Head, and Sepultura were also inspired by the album.[29] The album launched the career of record producer Ross Robinson,[30] who later produced albums such as Three Dollar Bill, Yall by Limp Bizkit and Slipknot's first two albums.[31][32][33]

In July 2014, Guitar World ranked Korn at number 27 in their "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[34]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Blind"   4:19
2. "Ball Tongue"   4:29
3. "Need To"   4:01
4. "Clown"   4:37
5. "Divine"   2:51
6. "Faget"   5:49
7. "Shoots and Ladders"   5:22
8. "Predictable"   4:32
9. "Fake"   4:50
10. "Lies"   3:20
11. "Helmet in the Bush"   4:02
12. "Daddy" (a hidden track "Michael & Geri" starts at 14:06, after 5 minutes and 11 seconds of silence.) 17:31
Total length:
65:51

Chart positions[edit]

Credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.discogs.com/label/Indigo%20Ranch%20Studios
  2. ^ McIver, Joel (2002). "How did we get to nu-metal from old metal?". Nu-metal: The Next Generation of Rock & Punk. Omnibus Press. pp. 10; 12. ISBN 0-7119-9209-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Small 1998, p. 16.
  4. ^ a b Arvizu 2009, p. 63.
  5. ^ a b c Arvizu 2009, p. 64.
  6. ^ a b Arvizu 2009, p. 69.
  7. ^ Arvizu 2009, pp. 70–71.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Korn – Korn : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 74.
  10. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 77.
  11. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 78.
  12. ^ Furman 2000, p. 56.
  13. ^ Need To (CD). Korn. Epic Records. 1995. 
  14. ^ Strong, Martin; Peel, John (forward) (2004). The Great Rock Discography (Paperback) (7th ed.). New York City: Canongate US. p. 853. ISBN 978-1-84195-615-2. 
  15. ^ "Korn – Korn – Epic". CMJ New Music Monthly (17): 36. January 1995. 
  16. ^ Small 1998, p. 18.
  17. ^ a b c Furman 2000, pp. 49–52.
  18. ^ Arnopp 2001, p. 6.
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Korn – Korn : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ Christgau, Robert (1995). "Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice (November 28) (New York). Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "RIAA – Gold & Platinum Searchable Database – October 17, 2012". riaa.com. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c "Korn – Korn | Billboard". billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "charts.org.nz – Discography Korn". charts.org.nz. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b "australian-charts.com – Discography Korn". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "dutchcharts.nl – Discografie Korn". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: Alex K – Kyuss". zobbel.de. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Albums". aria.com.au. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  28. ^ McIver, Joel (2002). Nu-Metal: The Next Generation of Rock & Punk – Joel McIver – Google Books. Omnibus Press. p. 23. ISBN 0711992096. 
  29. ^ a b c Arnopp 2002, pp. 6–7.
  30. ^ McIver 2002, p. 23.
  31. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Three Dollar Bill Y'all – Limp Bizkit : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  32. ^ Anderson, Rick. "Slipknot – Slipknot : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  33. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Iowa – Slipknot : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994". GuitarWorld.com. July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
Sources