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MTV Unplugged

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
What does a band do after teenage angst has paid off well, leaving them bored and old? In Korn's case, they turn to that evergreen bastion of respectability, MTV Unplugged. During the mid-'90s, it was standard practice for any major rock artist to venture onto the program and prove their worth as "authentic" musicians -- the old canard being that only real musicians and real songs can withstand the scrutiny of such unadorned arrangements, even if the arrangements by 1996 were becoming so ornate they barely passed as acoustic -- but by the turn of the decade the show fell out of fashion. It was revived every couple years by major artists in need of either a ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
What does a band do after teenage angst has paid off well, leaving them bored and old? In Korn's case, they turn to that evergreen bastion of respectability, MTV Unplugged. During the mid-'90s, it was standard practice for any major rock artist to venture onto the program and prove their worth as "authentic" musicians -- the old canard being that only real musicians and real songs can withstand the scrutiny of such unadorned arrangements, even if the arrangements by 1996 were becoming so ornate they barely passed as acoustic -- but by the turn of the decade the show fell out of fashion. It was revived every couple years by major artists in need of either a stopgap release or boost of energy -- Lauryn Hill's bizarre 2002 affair, Alicia Keys' perfectly respectable but uneventful 2005 set -- which pretty much described Korn to a tee in 2007. They were veterans slightly past their prime, still capable of reaching the Top Ten with their new albums but playing to an ever-more-selective audience, as they lurched toward reinvention without luring in new listeners or settling into their inevitable middle age. So, after the modest success of 2005's See You on the Other Side, it was time for an MTV Unplugged, a drastic move backward from the heavy hip-hop inflections of See You. If that was a party record designed to snare younger listeners, this is an album for the long-term fans who have been with them for nearly 15 years, who are also in their thirties and are inclined toward moodier, quieter material. At least that's the intention of Korn's MTV Unplugged, but in practice the record is a bit of an unholy mess for one simple reason: apart from Rage Against the Machine, there is no other '90s hard rock band as ill-suited to the stripped-back conceit of MTV Unplugged than Korn. It's not a question of authenticity, it's a question of aesthetic: without amplification, without electric beats and guitars, the band loses its identity and all its purpose. The guitars still spin out fast and furious, the basslines are still ropy and elastic, but they sound anemic when not run through high voltage; the band sounds like its playing electric guitars unplugged, not acoustic. Without walls of noise to support him, it's impossible to ignore how thin and reedy Jonathan Davis' voice is. At his best, Davis sounds coiled and nervy, giving voice to the torment his lyrics can't articulate, but in this setting, he sounds petulant, an adult who refuses to believe his adolescence is long behind him. Which is appropriate, since despite the very existence of this album, Korn does not acknowledge that they're now adults. Even their attempts to stretch out to new sounds are typical of tormented teens: they cover Radiohead's "Creep" and the Cure. These moves can't help but bring to mind other, defter new metal bands like the Deftones who assimilate the Cure's influence where Korn merely apes it. Worse still, inviting Evanescence's Amy Lee for a duet on "Freak on a Leash" only makes Korn seem uncomfortably close to such leaden '90s revivalists as Seether, a clear sign that this band is now adrift at sea and uncertain how to find their way back to land.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/6/2007
  • Label: Virgin Records Us
  • UPC: 094638602729
  • Catalog Number: 86027
  • Sales rank: 68,906

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Blind (3:29)
  2. 2 Hollow Life (3:24)
  3. 3 Freak on a Leash - Amy Lee (3:55)
  4. 4 Falling Away from Me (3:55)
  5. 5 Creep (3:51)
  6. 6 Love Song (3:50)
  7. 7 Got the Life (3:48)
  8. 8 Twisted Transistor (3:00)
  9. 9 Coming Undone (3:35)
  10. 10 Make Me Bad/In Between Days (5:35)
  11. 11 Throw Me Away (6:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Korn Primary Artist
Mike Davis Trombone
Jeff Carney Upright Bass
Jonathan Davis Vocals
Erik Friedlander Cello
Richard Gibbs Musical Direction
Julie Green Cello
Michael Jochum Percussion
Amy Lee Vocals
William Ellison Upright Bass
Dale Stuckenbruck Saw
Rob Patterson Guitar
Munky Guitar
Fieldy Bass Guitar
Jeff Nelson & Covenant Trombone
Andrew Bove Cimbasso
Zac Baird Keyboards
Morris Kainuma Cimbasso
Evie Koh Cello
Kalen Musmecci Percussion, Background Vocals
Jeremy Turner Cello
Jeff Nelson Trombone
Bill Ellison Upright Bass
Bill Hayes Glass Harmonica
Dale Struckenbruck Saw
Andy Bove Tuba
Evie Koh Cello
Technical Credits
Vincent Cirilli Engineer
Alex Coletti Director, Producer
Jonathan Davis Composer
Richard Gibbs Arranger, Producer, Audio Production
Mike Hazelwood Composer
Stephen Marcussen Mastering
Csaba Petocz Engineer
Atticus Ross Composer
Don Schinn Composer
Korn Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Colin Greenwood Composer
Brian Welch Composer
James "Munky" Shaffer Composer
Thom Yorke Composer
David Silveria Composer
Reggie Arvizu Composer
Peter Katsis Executive Producer
Ryan Shuck Composer
The Matrix Composer
John Mark Harris Engineer
Sebastien Paquet Cover Photo
Jorge Costa Engineer
Dave Sirulnick Executive Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    not like you've heard them before

    Although the songs are different, but to hear Korn mellow out is a nice change. I loved it and highly recommend it for any Korn fan!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Other Side of KoRn

    This album is great. Its nice to here KoRn classics in acoustic form. The boys brought along a huge backing band and it sounds fantastic. Hot tracks include: Throw me Away, love Song, Hollow Life and Make me Bad with "The Cure". Pick this disc up if you are a fan of the band or if just want to hear the "Other Side" of KoRn!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    MTV Unplugged: KoRn Delivers First Class

    The MTV Unplugged series debuted in 1989 as a forum for pop and alternative-rock acts to express themselves acoustically, but it wasn't long before hard-rock and metal groups started strumming in on the action. And while Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Kiss have created some starling moments over the years, no group has reinvented itself for the program quite like KoRn have. The band mates clearly understand that there's nothing more anemic than note-for-note acoustic versions of brutal songs, so they've given their sound a complete makeover by altering arrangements, revising singing and playing approaches, adding guest vocalists, and substituting new "unplugged" elements to produce the haunting textures and surging dynamics they usually achieve with distortion and effects. The result is an album that, while not especially loud, is just as intense as any of KoRn's studio recordings. Fans will be glad to discover that the wild experimentation on MTV unplugged hasn't rendered the songs at all unrecognizable. In fact, the root vocal melodies are the same it's everything else that's turned upside-down. The album's first track, "Blind," makes it clear that this is something special. The song starts normally enough, considering it's acoustic, but instead of screaming "Are you ready?!" Jonathan Davis softly sings the line, which now comes across as a sort of intellectual/aesthetic challenge rather than a violent threat. And suddenly, KoRn turn into a mariachi band, combining flamenco guitar with Latin percussion and understated piano, which somehow totally works. Adding to the disc's surprises are Evanescence singer Amy Lee, who lends ethereal vocals to "Freak on a Leash," and English Goth pioneers The Cure, who provide a morose whine and jangle to a seamless medley of "Make Me Bad" and their own "In Between Days". Another winner is a spare cover of Radiohead's "Creep," in which three hollow, thudding beats effectively replace the brief, serrated guitar blasts that defined the original. Many of the tracks feature piano and strings, but MTV Unplugged is also filled with unconventional instrumentation, including glass harmonica ("Falling Away From Me," "Creep"), saw ("Throw Me Away"), and an array of African, Middle Eastern, and Far Eastern percussion, including taiko drums, cajons, dumbeks, and djembes. And film composer and former Oingo Boingo keyboardist Richard Gibbs, who served as musical director for the performance, ensures that these tools properly enhance the mood of the music. The chiming hand bells that replace the warbling notes at the beginning of "Falling Away From Me," for instance, sound like something from a Dario Argento horror-movie soundtrack. But as dense and epic as MTV Unplugged is, there is a piece missing: KoRn drummer David Silveria, who recently announced that he's taking a hiatus from the band and won't play on its upcoming studio album. Some have speculated that his disappearance, which follows the departure of original guitarist Brian "Head" Welch in 2005, could spell the end of KoRn. But if MTV Unplugged is any indication, it could just as well signal a new beginning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    AWESOME!

    I'm a huge Korn fan, and I'm telling you, this performance is amazing. Yes, it's not heavy...but the acoustic performance strips away all of the amplifiers, distortion, etc. and you can hear how talented Korn really is. Amy Lee does a wonderful job of singing backup...and Freak on a Leash is amazing. I'm a big fan of heavy metal bands going acoustic - this is the best one yet (I'm still waiting for Metallica to do an "MTV Unplugged" album). Buy the CD!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    no...no...no...

    ew. amy lee and "freak on a leash"? no. never. this version of "freak on a leash" is horrible, and they leave out the best part (Boom na da mmm dum na ema Da boom na da mmm dum na ema GO! So...fight! something on the... dum na ema Fight...some things they fight...), my favorite part, anyway (which doesn't go exactly like that, but you know what i mean...). thumbs up and a big rock on to amy lee w/ evanescence and staind...just not w/ korn. wondering about the rest of this cd? well, who cares? i mean, i don't know, but if "freak on a leash" is that bad, is there really any hope for the other songs? well, actually maybe...since amy lee isn't on the others...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews