Music » CD Reviews

Korn

MTV Unplugged (Virgin)

by

comment
Like many landmark hard-rock groups, nu-metal godfathers Korn will never earn mainstream respect as serious musicians -- and MTV Unplugged, a disc baffling in its utter badness, won't help. Long story short: Bongos are best left to hippies.

In the band's defense: Alice in Chains' Unplugged shouldn't have worked. Alice's metallic dynamics were rooted in tension between its electric grunge and acoustic undercurrents, but the stripped-down set became a chill classic. Korn, on the other hand, simply drapes its rap-metal classics over coffeehouse arrangements that any open-mic bohemian could have cobbled together.

Two guest appearances crystallize Korn's misguided ambitions: Evanescence's Amy Lee has one of radio's great voices, but her backing vocals on "Freak on a Leash" -- where she warbles and howls like a world-music alley cat, while singer Jonathan Davis repeatedly burps "Go!" -- are downright comical. Meanwhile, a cover of the new-wave nugget "In Between Days" features a cameo by the Cure's Robert Smith; he wrote the book on how to do dull things with an exciting band. The band then goes all emo for a limp cover of Radiohead's "Creep," and the line, "I don't belong here" finds sad new resonance.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.