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Album Review

In 2004, Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch left the band after embracing Christ. And in bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu's 2009 autobiography, he too speaks of finding God. Deciding to take a different path than Head did, Fieldy stayed with the band and addresses Jesus in the liner notes of this latest release, thanking Him for "what you did for me and the world." Neither of these spiritual conversions, however, seems to have had much effect on Korn's music. Instead, the nu metal pioneers' ninth studio album, Korn III - Remember Who You Are, is a stripped-down, back-to-the-basics affair that's drenched in emotional despondency, rage, fear and hopelessness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Frontman and chief lyricist Jonathan Davis begins "Pop a Pill" with the words of unhappy man looking for chemical solutions, then lets listeners know that such tactics don't work. "Fear Is a Place to Live" rejects friends with a selfish agenda. "Lead the Parade" asserts, "I want to pass this test/And complete this tormented life." "Let the Guilt Go" references the fact that holding onto guilt leads to a wasted life (a good message if the guilt they're clinging to is false guilt … not a good thing if it's guilt they need to reckon with first).

Emotionally vulnerable moments turn up on several tracks as Davis revisits the wounds caused by others' betrayal and deception. On "The Past," he asks, "Can't you see the pain in my eyes?/ … I can't live with all your lies again." The album's last track, "Holding All These Lies," finds him apologizing for the hurt he's caused someone ("I never meant to hurt you").

Objectionable Content

More often than apologizing, however, Davis lashes out against those who've inflicted pain. "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)," shows him spewing antisocial bile everywhere: "You're such a piece of s‑‑‑!" he screams. "Leave me the f‑‑‑ alone!" "Fear Is a Place to Live" is filled with the refrain, "I always get f‑‑‑ed in the end."

As you can see, f- and s-words turn up on many of these tracks as anger mingles with despair, bitterness and paranoia. On "Never Around," Davis sings, "My mind really is the disease." And we hear more of the same on "Are You Ready to Live?" "Let the Guilt Go" instructs, "The voices in your brain will really haunt you/ … Then my brain spins off of f‑‑‑ing everything."

Those lyrics (and others like them) paint a bleak picture when it comes to the prospect of Korn finding mental, emotional and spiritual wholeness. As the album concludes, Davis sings, "I don't think I can take this anymore/ … I'm disgusting and so much more."

Summary Advisory

Jonathan Davis seems deeply aware of his brokenness—and increasingly so as this album progresses. "Hellish nights alone," he wails on "Never Around," "While I am weeping/Just searching/Love is never around." Ultimately, though, he's found no medicine for what ails him. Whereas Head and Fieldy say they've found their Savior, salvation still seems a long way off for the man who pens Korn's dirge-like tunes.

In an interview with azcentral.com, Davis was asked whether having a family (he has three sons) impacts his approach to songwriting. "It doesn't really affect my lyrics," he responded. "But when I was making the record, [producer] Ross [Robinson] would torment the h‑‑‑ out of me. He had me in a deep depression. I wanted to kill myself again. … And after I was done, I had to go home and be a dad. I had to get my game face on. I didn't want my kids to see me like that so I just had to grin and bear it and get through it."

Give him credit, then, for trying to protect his own kids. But what about the millions of fans—many of them kids—who've been listening to Korn since 1996?

A postscript: The album cover pictures a middle-aged man leering at a vulnerable-looking young girl. Other pictures in the liner notes show her in the car with him and with bruises on her arm. What that suggests is left for fans to figure out.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

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