Release date: November 16, 1999
For someone that proclaims, “All I want in life is to be happy”, Jonathan Davis (singer/songwriter/bagpipe extraordinaire) of Korn remains one of the most disturbed and complex artists the “hardcore/rap metal/heavy music” scene has ever encountered. This very thing is what draws so many Korn fans to their music. The fact that so many 25-and-unders can relate to the traumas that Davis has gone through in his very distressed past should concern parents everywhere. Instead, Korn has a welcomed stranglehold around the throats of prime radio and MTV demographics and their warped message is reaching atrophied listeners worldwide.
Davis and his band mates wasted no time in creating yet another link in the troubled chain of CDs that came before it. “Issues” (Epic/Immortal) is the latest volume in the Korn library of manic psychoanalysis manuals. The 17 songs on this release are filled with self-exploratory fantasies, full of “whys” and “hows”, and questions that Jon Davis tends to constantly ask himself and others about what the Hell is wrong with him. The cool thing is that he invites the listener into his mind with introspective tracks like “Dirty” (I hurt so bad inside/I wish you could see the world through my eyes) and shows them around the place like you’ve come over to hang out at his house.
A shining example of just how twisted certain parts of Mr. Davis seem to be would have to be “Thrash”. In this story, he seems to battle with his thoughts and how he feels about his freakish desires. It’s difficult to tell however, whether Jon Davis is looking for deliverance or solitude. For example, “Somebody Someone” pleads, “Can’t somebody help me”? while the groovy albeit pounding “Beg For Me” shouts, “Everyone please let me be”! David (drums/ percussion), Fieldy (bass), Head (guitar), and Munky (guitar) all get in touch with a deep, watery sense of calm with “For You” and then explode into fits of rage with crushing tracks like “Wake Up” that ask “Can’t we all just get along”?
“Issues” is polished and well produced, but less focused on the radio-friendly, house party, catchiness that “Follow the Leader” was. Korn seem to have made this one more for themselves, instead of for the masses; which, ironically, tends to magnetically draw others to them. Anyone the band may have captured with their debut release and lost with “Follow the Leader” due to the rumors that they were “selling out” will feel resurrection of their allegiance with “Issues”.
Korn sounds bigger and better than ever. As demented and angry as the lyrical content still is, the actual songwriting has largely improved. The musical aspect of the CD is as funky as it is deadly; just what you would hope for from Korn. I can already see the loyal fans in concert audiences everywhere busting some serious moves to this; and you can definitely move to it.
Schedule an appointment to get yourself to your local CD retailer on November 16th and take “Issues” home with you. Just try to go easy on your parents. They won’t understand.