If you have been following me long enough, you surely know that I am a Korn fanatic and Jonathan Davis is one of my idols. Since yesterday was Korn lead vocalist Jonathan Davis’s birthday, I decided to honor my idol today by listing my top 20 favorite Korn tunes and why I like them. I know 20 sounds like a lot, but to be honest…..it’s not. About 90 some songs on my MP3 player’s playlist are Korn, so this is really quite a small sampling. To tell the truth, just narrowing it down to my top 20 was a difficult task. I went over this list about 15 times before finalizing it.
All right, then. Are you ready? 😛
20. I Can Remember— Don’t recognize this song title? I’m not surprised if you don’t. This song was never released on any of Korn’s full studio albums; it was actually a b-side on a “Got the Life” single and remix EP. The song is about fame coming between Jonathan and an old friend, from the sound of the lyrics: “I can remember when we first met/We really had some times/Then the success started to kick in/Life turned into a mess/Why can’t we still be friends?/ Why judge me for what I am?/Can we go back again?/I’m still the same man.”
I really like this song, it’s pretty simple but it gets a point across. Friends shouldn’t stop being your friends because you’re doing better in your life—if anything they should support that and share in your happiness. Unfortunately, I think this is something that a lot of us end up encountering.
19. Shoots And Ladders— I don not think there is a single Korn fan in existence that can deny this song its place on their favorites list. “Shoots and Ladders” is an iconic Korn song because it is the one song that best highlights Jonathan Davis’s ability to make the bagpipes into something totally kick ass. Though the pipes make an appearance in other songs, no other song quite compares to “Shoots and Ladders”. Let’s face it, was there ever another moment in recent history that bagpipes looked cool? I rest my case.
The theme of innocence lost (when you grow up you realize nursery rhymes all have dark meanings) and the naïveté of a child is also something that makes this song very dark and classic Korn. For these reasons, it had to be included.
18. It’s Me Again— “It’s Me Again” is a favorite of mine, an extra track available on the Deluxe Edition of See You On The Other Side. This is a song that resonates with me because I feel like it’s dealing with that other, negative and dark side of ourselves. From time to time, any of us can feel negative, depressed, and angry and when that ugly side of us rears its head…it ruins what we love. “I shred your bones to poetry/Yes it’s me again/I wreck your positivity/Yes it’s me again/…You see beauty, I see pain/You see sky and I see acid rain.” In my opinion, this song is about dealing with that negative, self conscious, self-loathing, and angry demon inside us all…..or basically the monster every girl becomes for one week out of the month. Hmm, if I didn’t know better, I’d think a female helped write this. 😛
17. Kick the P.A.— Most long time Korn fans will recognize this title, but I am willing to bet few newer fans will. “Kick the P.A.” was a song on the Spawn movie soundtrack, and I would say that it is probably one of their better known rare/b-side songs. Some say this song seems like a bunch of random ramblings that make no sense, and it is true that when you first listen to it, it’s hard to distinguish what “Kick the P.A.” could even be about. HOWEVER…..if there is one thing I have learned about Jonathan Davis’s lyric writing style it is that he is very skilled at hinting at things without really coming out and bluntly saying what he wants to say. There are several theories which have been discussed from P.A. standing for “pain addiction”, the “Parental Advisory” label which is on all of Korn’s music, to a possible quarrel with a manager or “personal assistant”, to the obvious meaning for P.A.: an amp. If you take away the amp, he loses the ability to communicate and be heard, was one person’s theory on the meaning behind this song. Whatever you want to believe, one thing is for sure: I would love to ask JD himself just what he was writing about in this piece and the mystery behind it makes it a memorable song.
16. Falling Away From Me— If you have been a Korn fan as long as I have, you no doubt recall Korn’s guest appearance in an episode of South Park titled “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery” in which the first single off of the Issues album, “Falling Away From Me”, premiered. That was an epic thing for a band to do at the time. The music video which came out for this song was also probably my second favorite video from the band (the first being the video for “Freak On A Leash”, naturally). At that point in time, I was going through a lot of things and didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Like most Korn songs, this song seemed to describe how I felt at that point in my life, so it became a favorite.
15. Coming Undone— Ever had to deal with a lot of stress? Even though you’re going insane, you have to keep it together but you feel like you could just fall apart and you want to let go? That’s what “Coming Undone” is about. I think JD basically wrote the song to get out how stressed he is and how sick he is of dealing with people’s issues. Definitely a feeling I can relate to. After all, I have a very stressful day job.
14. Hold On— “Hold On” is an empowerment song. I have heard the song applied to every sort of medical condition from cancer to MS to HIV/AIDS. However, wikipedia states that the song initially stems from Jonathan Davis’s near fatal blood disorder in 2006 which resulted in JD being hospitalized and prevented him from performing at the Download Festival. This song can easily be applied to anyone suffering from a whole range of medical issues. Not only that, I believe the central message can be applied to anything in life. “Hold on/Be strong” is definitely a message that you can apply to any hardship, not just dealing with an illness.
13. Hollow Life— In an interview, Jonathan Davis himself admitted “Hollow Life” was his favorite Korn song. This comes as a shock to some of the more metal inclined Korn fans, but I was not surprised at all by this statement. On the contrary, it made me happy. “Hollow Life” is a very deep song contemplating life and a fear we can all relate to: we don’t know what happens after we die. I know that I have taken a moment here and there to contemplate such matters, and when you really sit down and consider your own mortality and inevitable end, it can feel so heavy. Most people don’t consider from day to day that any day the moment might come that it will all be over—and no one knows what happens after that. We all want to believe we live for some greater purpose and never really die, but no one can tell us that with certainty. This song explores that fear, a fear most are afraid to tread on.
12. Kiss— I honestly feel like “Kiss” does not get enough credit for being such a great song. It’s my hands down favorite song off of the Untitled album, and it sounds distinctly different from the rest of the album. “Kiss”, to me, seems to talk about failed romantic relationships. On forums discussing song meanings, I have read some theories that suggest the song is not about a girl or romance at all, but about Brian “Head” Welch’s departure from the band. I could see this interpretation being possible in some points of the song: “The last thing I would like to do before I go away/ Is cry there next to you/ Cry and talk about the good ole days and where they’ve gone/ and now how much I hate you” but even so, I feel that doesn’t make sense with the chorus lines: “Why can’t this kiss be true?” so I am more inclined to believe it is connected to a relationship that failed. We’ve all had those, at least a lot of us have, and so I could definitely relate to this song. When I first heard it, it was one of those tunes that I had to play on repeat for about a solid week. Therefore, it has its place on this list.
11. Fuels The Comedy— “Fuels The Comedy” is an extra track on The Path of Totality Special Edition. It’s one of my favorite tracks on that album, and I personally think it’s a shame that it’s just an extra release. Fuels The Comedy goes back to the emotions behind songs like “Faget” and “Clown” from the self titled album, but there’s a twist—rather than being upset about not being accepted or being viewed as different, the lyrics here show defiance and a bit of pride, in addition to just pointing out that it’s just stupid to judge. “What’s with the hostility/Why is it so provoked/You’re living in a fantasy/That’s how you cope/Go ahead and kick the shit out of me/It just fuels the comedy/Feel that you’re superior/Under you’re just plain absurd/Ridiculous vanity that is blurred/Go ahead and kick the shit out of me/It just fuels the comedy.” I believe this song shows Jonathan’s personal growth in that he now laughs at the people who judge him. It makes me happy to hear him have this sort of take on life and the song is also pretty kick ass, so it earned its place here.
10. ADIDAS— As far as my generation goes; I don’t think there was a single Korn fan I knew who didn’t adopt this song as their anthem when they were a teenager. I know I did, for a time. Who wouldn’t? A song that proclaims “All day I dream about sex” can very easily be an anthem for a teen hitting puberty. The song is pretty dark, when you analyze the lyrics. On the meaning of the song, Jonathan said, “It stands for all day I dream about sex. It’s about how much of a pervert my ass is, and how I daydream about what a stud I am. But when it comes down to it, I’m a fucking pussy and I’m in there jacking off.” Yeah, sounds like most guys. But don’t we all fantasize from time to time? It’s okay. And I think “ADIDAS” was the first song I heard that shared that message.
9. Good God— “You came into my life/Without a single thing/I gave into your ways/Which left me with nothing/Your face that I despise/Your heart inside that’s grey/I came today to say/You’re fucked in everyway” Who couldn’t love a song with an opening like that? “Good God” is one of those songs that can apply to many scenarios. I know I have applied it to a few ex-friends when working out frustration over the end of a friendship. Jonathan even admits it was written about an ex-friend from high school, so the song is pretty cut and dry, no mystery. Even so, it’s a great angst song over a crappy friend, so it’s in my top 10.
8. Twist— “Twist” has no actual “lyrics” to speak of. The whole song is scat, with only the word “twist” repeated a few times within the song. The whole reason it is here is because I always envision a pretty awesome fight scene being set to the track. It’s also great for the mosh pit, FYI.
7. Trash— Trash is one hell of a song. Even though it is a song that should disgust women, I find that a LOT of female Korn fans love the song and list it as one of their favorites, myself included. The beat of the song in general is carnal yet sensual, and the lyrics only enhance this combination. In the song, Jonathan tells the story of his attraction to the young groupies and how he’s so attracted to them, but he’s really only using them and moving on, while they still cling to him and worship him—something he does not understand.
6. Clown— I know the story that “Clown” was written about some guy that tried to storm the stage and hit JD, but got knocked out by security working the show. I think “Clown” took on a different meaning for Korn fans though. For me, it was a way of pointing out the hypocrisy in those who weren’t true to themselves making fun of me for being somehow less than them, even though they were living a lie and I was being myself. “Clown” was definitely one of those anthem songs one could apply to high school.
5. Make Me Bad—I think it’s pretty obvious that “Make Me Bad” Is about sex, namely sex with groupies, which Jonathan admitted to having indulged in. Some Korn fans, I have read, believe this song is about JD being sick of drinking and using drugs and turning to sobriety…..but fuck that, I think it’s pretty obvious the song is about sex. Just read the lyrics:
“I am watching the rise and fall of my salvation” =Now that is an erection reference if I ever heard one.
“I feel the reason as it’s leaving me no, not again/It’s quite deceiving as I’m feeling the flesh make me bad”=the “flesh” is making him bad. That sounds sexual.
“Just to get some sort of attention/Attention”=SEXUAL ATTENTION!
“For me, it’s something I just do”= Already clarified in “Trash” earlier on the album that he likes to just have sex.
“I need to feel the sickness…in you.”= Yeah, this line shouldn’t need explaining at this point. (Also, why dies it sound like some sort of pick up line?)
But you get the point. Make Me Bad was another amazing song for Korn, the video was incredible, it really told a story. It also has one hell of an awesome remix= The Sickness in Salvation Remix. If you can make an already awesome song more awesome….that’s a win.
4. Faget— I think every Korn fan LOVES this song. It is certainly how Jonathan Davis gained his following, IMO. It’s a perfect song to sing about that bully that always picked on you. Every time I see Korn in concert, everyone always seems to sing along and the line “You can suck my dick and fucking like it!” at the end of his rant in the middle of the song always seems about 100x louder than anything else at the show. “Faget” is a way of living the dream. Don’t you wish (if you were picked on) you could one day have a song that becomes a hit basically saying, “ha ha fucker, I made it!” to that person? That’s what “Faget” is for Jonathan Davis and Korn.
3. Narcissistic Cannibal— When I first heard the song title “Narcissistic Cannibal” it sounded a little ridiculous to me. I remembered thinking it just sounded like two words thrown together at random. But once I heard the song, I realized the phrase definitely describes a certain type of person I know I’ve encountered in the world. Jonathan explained the song, saying, “It’s about me watching people who are so narcissistic destroy themselves. They basically eat themselves alive because of their narcissism. That’s the gist of the story.” I think a lot of us can think of someone we know in our lives that this song describes…Additionally, it is the prime example on how to successfully blend rock and dubstep, in my opinion. “Narcissistic Cannibal” blends the dubstep sound with Korn’s classic sound beautifully. It was the song that made me fall in love with their new sound.
2. Last Legal Drug (Le Petit Mort)— This is yet another song that I feel deserves more credit, and should have been a track on the full album it was released, rather than an additional track on a deluxe edition. Last Legal Drug is a dark and sensual melody which compares orgasming to death, and sex as being as addictive as a drug. The French in the parentheses, “le petit mort” is an actual term for orgasm literally translating to “the small death”. In the song Jonathan compares sex to drugs in their addictive nature, they are the only “drug” he can partake in, hence the title.
I only saw this song performed live one time, and I have been to A LOT of Korn concerts. It is a song I can never skip over and must listen to for the duration.
1. Freak On A Leash— I think there will probably never be another Korn song that takes the place of “Freak on a Leash” as my favorite. As many songs as I like by Korn, “Freak On A Leash” just holds a special place no other song can fill. The video, the song, the lyrics, the remixes, all of it is amazing. I always felt that “Freak on a Leash” was a song that described me. Until I find a song that resonates with me more than this one, it shall remain my favorite.
Now that I’ve gotten all that out, it’s time to go to sleep! 😛
Here’s hoping JD had a wonderful birthday and many more to come.
Also, here’s to Korn in general, I am eagerly anticipating your next release, gentlemen. 😉