Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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OMGWTFLOL: KoRn f/ Amy Lee – “Freak On a Leash (Unplugged)”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 24, 2007

Life can be pretty strange sometimes.

I’ve missed the MTV Unplugged format since it more or less fizzled out at the end of the 90s, Jay-Z and Lauryn Hill aside. Not that it was usually particularly revelatory–I dunno if hearing an unplugged version of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Big Empty” is really gonna give you a greater appreciation for the non-acoustic one–but it was the one show on MTV that was always about the music, maaan–no visual pyrotechnics, no annoying VJs weighing in with their opinion, just a band/artist and their best songs. And occasionally, yeah, there were some worthwhile surprises.

Surprising, however, barely begins to cover the reuniting of the MTV Unplugged format with its fellow 90s MTV relic, nu-metal forerunners KoRn. While it’s understandable that the band should need a jolt to their system (or their fans’) to help re-ingratiate themselves into the sphere of commercially and artistically relevant rock bands, one which they left a good long while ago, KoRn going Unplugged makes about as much sense as DJ Shadow Unplugged, or Dragonforce Unplugged–the Plugging In is more or less the whole point.

The reason KoRn is doing an Unplugged is probably for the same reason as about half the artists who have done one–they want to prove that under all the distortion, under all the screaming and under all the heavy, heavy production, there are just some really good songs, maaaan (sorry, last time, I promise). Now, to be fair KoRn are very arguably a great band–especially for their place and time–and certainly, they have at least two or three songs that will go down as stone metal classics. But to strip away all the shouting, the crunchy guitars and basically all the songs’ power to reveal the great songwriting underneath…I think ill-advised is the word I’m looking for here.

Especially for the song they chose to be the first single, the Follow the Leader MTV mega-hit “Freak on a Leash.” Not to say that “Blind,” “A.D.I.D.A.S.” or “Got the Life” would’ve done much better, but “Freak on a Leash” is just…well, it’s a very, very stupid song. It is absolutely not the kind of song where you want to draw more attention to the lyrics than necessary–in fact, it’s the exact sort of song where you want to distract from them as much as possible, which is what the band did on the original version, piling on the distortion, production tricks and generally incomprehensible singing from Jonathan Davis, as well as slapping on an eye-catching (and heavily acclaimed, at the time anwyay) music video to help out matters.

But so confident is the band in the strength of this song in its bare-bones form that they even thought it wise to bring on fellow nu-metaller Amy Lee of Evanescense to help out with vocals (and make it seem more like an actual song, I guess). And while she does provide some nice harmonizing on parts, and the orchestration is pretty nice, there’s really just no getting around that chorus–“SOMETHING TAKES A PART OF ME! / YOU AND I WERE MEANT TO BE! / A CHEAP FUCK FOR ME TO LAY! / SOMETHING TAKES A PART OF ME!”–even Davis and Lee seem to realize this, respectfully going mute and turning away from the mic on the “cheap fuck” part. And I’m sorry, but it just isn’t “Freak on a Leash” without the “DA-BOOOMM BAH BAH UHHHHMMMM NA NA EMA!!!” scatting part in the song’s break–it’s like taking the “bananas” part out of “Hollaback Girl.” What’s the point?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an Unplugged revival–or a KoRn revival, for that matter. But it has to be on less utterly ridiculous terms than this.

3 Responses to “OMGWTFLOL: KoRn f/ Amy Lee – “Freak On a Leash (Unplugged)””

  1. kroqbr said

    “Breakfast With Korn”, presented by the the World Famous KROQ and the AT&T blue room!

    On Tuesday March 6th, watch “Breakfast With Korn”, a one hour exclusive interview and performance, live from the AT&T blue room. The live webcast interview will be hosted by Kevin & Bean of the World Famous KROQ and the live performance will feature songs from Korn’s new album, Unplugged. Click here to hang out with Korn in the AT&T blue room!

  2. […] New to the top half of the countdown this week are Christina Aguilera’s awful 40s tribute “Candyman” (64-47) and Three Days Grace’s far more awful 2001 tribute “Pain.” New to the bottom half are third-place AI finalist Elliot Yamin’s “Movin’ On” (#61), new Dixie Chicks single “The Neighbor” (no idea where this is from and can’t find it on soulseek, #74), Bow Wow’s “Outta My System” (seems like this guy has a new one every five weeks, #76), Ciara’s “Like a Boy” (provocative, #81), Daughtry’s “Home” (thought this guy’s niche died out a decade ago, go figure, #83), Ne-Yo’s “Because of You” (enough already, #84), and, thus becoming a higher charter than the original version, KoRn f/ Amy Lee’s “Freak on a Leash (Unplugged)” (as blogged about here, #89). […]

  3. […] RobInjection wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptSurprising, however, barely begins to cover the reuniting of the MTV Unplugged format with its fellow 90s MTV relic, nu-metal forerunners KoRn. While it’s understandable that the band should need a jolt to their system (or their fans’) … […]

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