10 lesser known Korn songs that everyone needs to hear
Since birthing nu-metal with their explosive self-titled debut album in 1994, Korn have remained a prolific and reliable force in the alternative music world. Unlike many of their peers (or should we say followers), they never split up or went on extended hiatus, although there have been almost-inevitable line-up changes and periods of inter-personnel drama. The result is an impressively bulky back-catalogue, for which the jump-off point alone consists of 13 full-length studio albums and more than 40 singles.
And then there are the EPs, compilations, remixes, collaborations, soundtrack appearances, B‑sides and all manner of odds and ends released or leaked over the years. Everyone knows standards like Freak On A Leash, while chillingly emotional cuts like You’ll Never Find Me from 2019’s The Nothing continue to win the band new friends nearly three decades on from their inception. There’s still plenty of arcana to be unearthed from the depths of that catalogue, however, and here are 10 lesser known tracks that deserve some love…
Proud (I Know What You Did Last Summer: The Album, 1997)
Korn have made numerous appearances on soundtracks of various kinds, but one of their finest was also one of their first. Proud initially appeared on the soundtrack for slasher flick I Know What You Did Last Summer in 1997 but could easily have slotted onto their second album Life Is Peachy, which was released the year before. Edgy and emotional, the song features a jagged, tension-inducing riff and some screaming from frontman Jonathan Davis that matches pretty much anything he delivered elsewhere. A deep cut to be proud of? Oh yes.
Sean Olson (The Crow: City Of Angels, 1996)
This track also appeared on a soundtrack around the same time, appearing in the disappointing undead goth revenge sequel The Crow: City Of Angels. It wasn’t written for the film, though, and was an outtake from the band’s debut album that originally surfaced as a B‑side to Shoots And Ladders. In keeping with that early period, the song is dark and disturbing, riding a sinister rhythm and skin-crawling riffs, as Jonathan delivers lyrics mired in images of abuse and betrayal.
Haze (Untitled enhanced edition, 2007)
Haze was a sort of gamer’s equivalent of The Crow: City Of Angels; a highly anticipated work with a great premise that ended up a huge disappointment. “Gaming for me is a religion and Haze is the shit,” Jonathan proclaimed at the time, using an extraneous ‘the’. It did have an excellent Korn song as its title-track, though. There’s a great driving groove to it, not to mention a hackle-raising scratchy guitar solo – a rarity in their catalogue. It was made available as a download for fans who bought the 2007 Untitled album and later surfaced as a bonus track on the enhanced edition.
Make Me Bad/In Between Days (MTV Unplugged, 2007)
Okay, so Make Me Bad is hardly an obscure track. It was one of the big hits from Issues and featured a blockbuster Alien-style video, but casual fans might not be aware of the unplugged mash-up featuring The Cure. JD introduced the uber-goths as “the soundtrack to my life” and, while the two bands expressed darkness and pain in entirely different ways, they meshed superbly on this acoustic mash-up of two of their biggest respective hits.
Camel Song (End Of Days, 1999)
Another soundtrack song, this comes from the Satanic Schwarzenegger flick End Of Days. The song is more creeping and pernicious than outright apocalyptic, with that slow pull and release that Korn do so well. Building from a middle eastern-inspired guitar line, the bass and drums mesh into a complex web as the song slowly spreads its claws. It actually came out around the same time as Issues, but sounds more in tune with the rhythmic clatter and angsty grind of preceding album Follow The Leader.
Fight The Power (XXX: State Of The Union, 2005)
Korn love a good cover song. Their cover of War’s Lowrider and later version of Cameo’s Word Up! both became staples, and rumours of the full Korn Kovers album have been rumbling on for years. This Public Enemy cover was intended for that now semi-mythical project, but ended up surfacing on yet another soundtrack. It also featured Xzibit and paid tribute to the rap part of Korn’s musical influence in spectacular style.
Layla (Unreleased, 1993)
While the tracks on the band’s original ’93 demo tape Neidermayer’s Mind would resurface on later albums, there were some offcuts that never even made it onto the demo. Layla was such a cut but it bristles with the same energy, anger and lurching down-tuned grooves that made the band’s debut such a game-changing event. The song never did get an official release, but has subsequently surfaced online…
I Can Remember (Got The Life, 1998)
I Can Remember is another (almost) unreleased gem that was jettisoned from the Follow The Leader sessions and was only officially released as the B‑side to certain single versions of Got The Life. Fieldy kicks things off with a sternum-rattling bass intro and continues to play a lead role in the warped groove that follows. The song as a whole sounds like it would have slotted into that classic album perfectly. It has that same mix of disquieting studio-distilled atmosphere and low-end heaviness, and is well worth checking out.
Kick The P.A. (Spawn: The Album, 1997)
Another soundtrack and another collaboration – this one with superstar producers the Dust Brothers. Surfacing on the Spawn soundtrack, Kick The P.A. was a suitably creative sonic experience, mixing warped electronica and synth lines into the band’s trademark heaviness. It’s a textured and atmospheric outing that signposted a musical direction they would explore more fully in the years to come.
Christmas Song (Kevin And Bean’s Christmastime In The LBC, 1996)
Yes, this really is Korn doing an evil, expletive-filled Christmas song for the KROQ-FM radio show presenters Kevin and Bean. Featuring highly questionable lyrics (‘Santa can suck my dick all day’ being one of the tamer lines), it also progresses from a typically Korn-style creepy slow crawl into a full-on hardcore thrash-out. Play it for your nan this holiday season…
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