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Imagine Korn, Reborn: Tradin’ in Korn for a Crown of Thorns: Part II 
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka, Dr. BLT 

Phantom Tollbooth Listeners: Feel free to listen and download (for free) the two-song “soundtrack” to the article below:

Tradin’ in Korn (For a Crown of Thorns)
new acoustic version
words and music by Dr. BLT ©2006
http://www.drblt.net/music/TradininKorn.mp3

Korn-bred
Words and music by Dr. BLT ©2006
http://www.drblt.net/music/KB.mp3
 

If you want to study the collective psyche of today’s youth as we enter the latter first decade of the new millennium in Western civilization, look no further than the band from Bakersfield.  Look no further than Kern County, or “Korn” County, as I call it.  Look no further than the music of Korn.  

It’s devolution in action.  It’s obscenity-laced dark energy. It’s simultaneous sensory deprivation and spiritual deprivation.  It’s fear.  It’s alienation.  It’s spiritual stagnation.  It’s desperation.  It’s despair.  It’s perversity.  It’s brokenness.  It’s emptiness.  It’s darkness.  It’s Korn.  

The music of Korn is redolent of a whimpering, wailing, wild animal caught in a trap.  It’s a Stygian abyss marked by intense emotional storms.  It’s a sinking island engulfed by deep, impenetrable waves of sadness and boiling rage.  The dark energy of Korn is hypnotic and oddly engaging.  

I’ve recently visited the lyrics of “Korn” County supergroup, Korn.  The lyrics mirror the music.  It’s a depressing place to visit and you wouldn’t want to live there.  

In the of lyrical land of Korn, the “cobb” is filled and the stalks are plentiful, but what you find in each kernel may disturb you.  

In the song, Children of Korn, featuring rapper Ice Cube, the band seems to be simultaneously celebrating and bemoaning  their dubious legacy by depicting their own “offspring” as “Generation triple X, we’re all about the weed and the kinky sex…”

The only silver lining behind Korn’s lyrical black cloud of self-contempt, obscenity, and perpetual perversity is the authenticity.  Jonathon Davis is the tortured soul who stands at the helm, deftly delivering the band’s deleterious ditties with demonic dexterity.  
 
The effects of music on the mind is complex, as I noted in  this month’s Ask the Rock Doc column.  There are multifaceted aspects of their songs and concomitant multi-faceted potential effects.? Moreover, as I’ve also noted in my Ask the Rock Doc column, individuals clearly respond differently to the same stimuli, depending upon such factors as personal histories, mental/emotional stability, identity, and genetics.? 

Are Korn’s songs likely to promote positive mental health (or “metal” health) habits?  For the most part, I wouldn’t recommend them for this purpose.  I don’t want to take the lyrics out of context or pretend to understand the context in which each song was penned.  I don’t want to claim to understand the precise meaning behind each song.  Jonathon Davis would be the man most likely to pull that off.  But to a mind that is on the brink of breaking, it really doesn’t matter.  Many of these songs could push that person over the edge.  What ultimately matters is where the songs transport the listener.  Korn’s lyrics and dark sound are not a reflection of a healthy mind and a happy heart.? They are not positive or uplifting.? They are not, for the most part, nourishing to the soul, unless one assumes there is some type of vicarious catharsis that takes place in the psyche of the listener.? 
 

Brian “Head” Welch, who is the dues ex machina that saves the day.  If you are addicted to the music of Korn, I would recommend that you check out the music and story of Brian "Head" Welch, who turned to Christ, gave up meth and left the band to seek higher ground, both musically and otherwise.? Here's the link to Head's website, Head to Christ:

http://www.headtochrist.com/

Welch’s music is every bit as dark.  But this dark tunnel has a bright light shining at the end, and the way out of the darkness is made simple and clear.  So, if you’ve been Korn-fed, on a steady diet of Korn Bread, I’d recommend a brand new diet.  If you disagree with me, I’d like to hear from you.  I’d like to know why today’s youth is better off with, than without them. 

Furthermore, I’d like you to imagine this:  What if Korn were re-born?  What if Korn were transformed?  What if all of the members followed in the path of Head?  How do you image their new music would sound?  What would they sing about?  Would Brian “Head” Welch get back with the band?  Let me know your thoughts.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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