Ever sit back and look at your record collection of a favorite artist and consider which albums are the best? So do we! Rank & File is our way of telling you which albums are great and which ones are garbage (at least in our opinion). There are really no correct answers here, it’s all just a matter of taste, but inevitably, there will be parts of the list that you will completely disagree with, so make sure to let us know how you would rank the albums. Of course, when compiling a ranking system such as this, there have to be some guidelines in place. For Rank & File, they are:
- No E.P.’s (with rare exception)
- No Singles
- No live albums
- No remix albums
- If an artists discography is huge (i.e. Rolling Stones, Prince) only the top 5 will make the cut.
2013 is going to be a big year for Korn. They are scheduled to release their 11th studio album titled The Paradigm Shift and they are reuniting with original guitarist Brian “Head” Welch for a bunch of shows this summer. Hopefully they can eventually patch things up with original drummer David Silveria and make it a full reunion! Now I know that Korn isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think that they have been one of the most innovative and influential (for better or worse) rock bands of our generation. I know there’s a ton of people that don’t really get Korn or even like them. If that’s you, then skip over this edition of Rank & File and check out some of the past editions (NIN, Filter, Radiohead, KMFDM). But, if your like me and really dig Korn, check out the list and my reasoning for album placement.
5. See You On The Other Side (2005):
See You On The Other Side saw the band record their first album without founding guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. Instead of taking a step backwards, Korn made a record that sounded completely new and fresh. Electronic elements and clever programming are peppered throughout the album complementing the original Korn sound. Maybe this was done to cover up the gaping hole left with Head’s departure, but if so, it worked. The band sounds re-energized on this album, and they created some really cool sounds (Munky’s guitar sounds wasted in half the songs.)
4. Follow The Leader (1998):
Follow The Leader took everything Korn did on their first two albums and really ramped it up. This is really the album that made the band a household name. Sure, it’s a solid album, but some of the elements of it are just downright annoying. On CD, Follow The Leader starts on track 13. Now that’s not a really big deal digitally, but at the time, it was insanely annoying (and pointless.) Also, the guest appearances on the album kind of take away from the vibe of the record. The Ice Cube track is pretty awesome, but the tracks featuring Fred Durst and Pharcyde should’ve been b-sides for a single or something. Regardless of these missteps, Follow The Leader has some amazing work on it.
3. Life Is Peachy (1996):
It was a really difficult choice to determine what album would take the third place spot. Ultimately, I chose Life Is Peachy for one reason and one reason only. The sound. When I picked up Korn’s first album and got hooked, I couldn’t wait to hear what the band would do next. When Life Is Peachy came out a few years later, I anxiously snatched it up. The entire disc is full of the same high energy music found on the first record, but for whatever reason, it just sounds kind of shitty. I’m not really sure what got lost in translation with the recording, but it doesn’t have the same punch of the first record sonically, even though the songs themselves are just as good, if not better. The cameo by Chino from the Deftones is fantastic and “Kill You” may be the most vitriol-laden song song they ever released.
2. Untouchables (2002):
It was a really difficult choice to determine what album would take the second place spot. Ultimately, I chose Untouchables for one reason and one reason only. The sound. I don’t think there is another album out there that sounds as big and crushing as Untouchables does. Korn has always used down tuned guitars, but this album takes shit to a new level. Michael Beinhorn did an amazing job making all that distortion sound clean. I remember reading that they spent some ridiculous amount on the production. Somewhere in the area of four million dollars. Most people might think that’s stupid, but I would guess that those people haven’t heard this album. (side note: I saw the band live for this tour and they opened with “Here To Stay.” The entire arena turned into a pit when the beat dropped. The. Entire. Arena. It was like a fucking war zone. It’s easily the most intimidating but fun thing I’ve ever experienced live.)
1. Korn (1994):
Putting Korn’s self-titled debut at the top of this list is a complete no-brainer. There is not a single thing about this record that could be changed to make it better. The guitar work work (and maybe more importantly tone,) funk slap bass, groove oriented drumming and Jonathan Davis’ tortured and expressive lyrics (which allowed men to feel emotion, not just be a fucking hardass all the time) were, for all intents and purposes, revolutionary. When this album came out, there was nothing that compared to it’s sound. Take a look back on the Billboard charts, or more specifically the rock charts, and you’ll find names like Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Collective Soul…..etc. Now, Korn didn’t change the landscape of heavy music overnight, and they didn’t do it with this record alone, but this was the starting point for everything that would come.
Just Missed The Cut: Issues (1999), Take A Look In The Mirror (2003), Untitled (2007), Korn III: Remember Who You Are (2010), The Path of Totality (2011)
What do you think? How would you rank Korn’s albums? Let us know in the comment section below and make sure to follow Gutter Bubbles on Facebook and Twitter!