Follow the Leader (Korn album)

Follow the Leader (Korn album)

Follow the Leader
A child hop-scotching off a cliff and a gathering of kids waiting to follow.
Studio album by Korn
Released August 18, 1998
Recorded March–May 1998 at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, Los Angeles[1]
Genre Nu metal, rap metal
Length 70:08
Label Immortal/Epic
Producer Steve Thompson, Toby Wright
Korn chronology
Life Is Peachy
Follow the Leader
Singles from Follow the Leader
  1. "All in the Family"
    Released: July 18, 1998
  2. "Got the Life"
    Released: November 23, 1998
  3. "Children of the Korn"
    Released: 1998
  4. "B.B.K."
    Released: 1998
  5. "Freak on a Leash"
    Released: May 25, 1999

Follow the Leader is the third studio album by the American nu metal band Korn. The album was released on August 18, 1998, through Immortal/Epic. This was their first album not produced by Ross Robinson. Instead, it was produced by Steve Thompson and Toby Wright.

The album peaked at number one on four charts, including the Billboard 200 with 268,000 units sold in its first week of release,[2] and is often credited with bringing alternative metal to the mainstream. The album received a 5× Platinum certification in the United States on March 15, 2002[3] as well as a 3× Platinum in Australia and Canada.[4][5] Its singles "Got the Life", and "Freak on a Leash", both charted on more than three charts, and their music videos are considered to be the first music videos retired from MTV, most notably the MTV show "Total Request Live".[6] The album generally received positive reviews by critics. Korn was praised by AllMusic saying the album is "an effective follow-up to their first two alt-metal landmarks."[7]

The Family Values Tour promoted the album, along with its five singles. The song "Freak on a Leash" was nominated for nine MTV Video Music Awards, and won for the Best Rock Video award, as well as Best Editing.[6] The music video for "Freak on a Leash" won Best Short Form Music Video at the 2000 Grammy Awards.[8] Follow the Leader has sold over 7 million copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan as of January 4, 2013 and over 14 million copies worldwide, making it Korn's most successful album.[6]


  • Recording and production 1
    • Photography and illustration 1.1
  • Promotion 2
  • Composition 3
  • Critical reception 4
  • Track listing 5
  • Credits 6
  • Charts 7
  • References 8
    • Literature 8.1

Recording and production

By early 1998, Korn returned to the studio to record Follow the Leader. Even though Korn was impressed by the work Ross Robinson had done on their previous albums, they decided to work with Steve Thompson and Toby Wright. Robinson did however work with Davis as a vocal coach for the album. Korn was shown making the video on KornTV. The reason they exposed themselves making the album was because they wanted to let their fans see what they were doing in the studio and behind the scenes.[9]

Follow the Leader features numerous guest vocalists, including Ice Cube on "Children of the Korn", Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde on "Cameltosis" and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst on "All in the Family".[10][11]

In a 2013 interview, the band revealed that they partied heavily during the production of Follow the Leader, with massive amounts of alcohol, drugs, and women in the studio. Jonathan Davis explained further, saying that while recording the vocals for "It's On", there were "people getting blowjobs right behind me, there was girls banging each other in front of me, people getting boned in the closet right behind me, it was the craziest shit I've ever seen in my life and I sang that song." According to Davis, he only agreed to begin tracking vocals when producer Toby Wright met his demands for an eight-ball (cocaine).[12]

The hidden track "Earache My Eye" features comedian Cheech Marin of Cheech & Chong.
All in the Family guest rapper Fred Durst.

Photography and illustration

Artists Greg Capullo and Todd McFarlane designed the cover artwork for Follow the Leader, who later designed the artwork for other albums such as Ten Thousand Fists by Disturbed.[13][14] They also drew the image which surfaced as the back cover of Follow the Leader. The cover art depicts a child hopscotching off a cliff and a gathering of kids waiting to follow.[15] The album cover is featured in the "Freak on a Leash" music video.[16]

Rapper Ice Cube is featured on the track Children of the Korn.


Follow the Leader is recognized as Korn's mainstream breakthrough, and the album that ultimately ushered nu metal and re-ushered Incubus, and Rammstein.[19] The tour was considered to be a major success, and promoted Follow the Leader to sales that were considered to have "skyrocketed".[20]

The album was also promoted through Powerman 5000 and Limp Bizkit.[21] The album had five singles issued: "All in the Family", "Got the Life", "Freak on a Leash", "Children of the Korn", and "B.B.K."[22]


Follow the Leader is seventy minutes and eight seconds long. AllMusic said, "They write songs, but those wind up not being nearly as memorable as their lurching metallic hip-hop grind."[7] Entertainment Weekly commented that Follow the Leader was Korn's "gimmick", while saying the album had "steely riffs" and "stomping beats".[23] Tower Records said the album "combines streamlined metal with ominous industrial touches and an undercurrent of hip-hop rhythm," and also said it was an "urban nightmare".[1] The album is considered to be nu metal, but also spans other genres such as alternative metal and heavy metal.[7][24]

Both "Freak on a Leash" and "Got the Life" are among the first music videos to be retired from MTV's Total Request Live.[6] The song was a "boiling straw."[25]

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The album features 25 tracks, 12 of which last five seconds of silence, making the first 60 seconds of the album all silent.[1] Journal Now said that Korn "shaped rap, metal and punk into a sonic maelstrom that is brutal, aggressive - and reasonably musical".[26] The Daily News said that "the band shovels chunky beats into an already complex sound..."[25] Michael Mehle of Rocky Mountain News said, "For the uninitiated, the classic Korn sound comes rumbling out of the speakers on the first cut: It's On! grinds fuzzy guitars, thunderous beats and shouts of gut-wrenching rage into an anthem for the alienated", and gave other positive remarks.[27] The Charlotte Observer said the album was dark, but humble.[28] A Zeeland high school assistant principal said in an interview for a Michigan newspaper that the music is "indecent, vulgar, obscene and intends to be insulting". She said this after giving a student a one-day suspension for wearing a shirt with Korn on it.[15]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[7]
Billboard (favorable)[29]
Robert Christgau (C)[30]
Entertainment Weekly B−[23]
The New York Times (mixed)[31]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[32]
Spin (7/10)[33]
Yahoo! Music (favorable)[34]
Pitchfork Media (6.9/10)

Follow the Leader received generally positive reviews. Stephan Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, saying that it "is an effective follow-up to their first two alt-metal landmarks." Erlewine also said that the songs were "vehicles for the metal grind".[7] Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B–. Reviewer Jim Farber said that the lyrics "provide a new blend of metal and remnants of alt-rock."[23] Jon Pareles from The New York Times said the album was "choppy", and also said that lead singer Jonathan Davis was "wrestling with self-hatred, violent impulses, parental execration, and a confused sexual identity..."[31] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice said that, although Korn "deny they're metal", they "nevertheless demonstrate that the essence of metal ... is self-obliterating volume and self-aggrandizing display."[30] Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars, while saying that Korn "have an ideal record for those long, black days when all you can do is say 'What the Fuck! What the Fuck! What the Fuck!' at bloody murder volume".[32] The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[35]

The album peaked at number one on four charts, including the Billboard 200.[36] Follow the Leader peaked at number five in the United Kingdom.[37] The album received a 5× Platinum certification in the United States,[3] as well as a triple platinum in Australia and Canada.[4][5] Follow the Leader also received a gold certification in the Netherlands.[38] The album's first charting single, "Got the Life", released on July 24, 1998, peaked at number fifteen on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart,[39] and received a gold certification in Australia.[40] The album's next charting single, "Freak on a Leash", released in February 1999, peaked at number six on the Alternative Songs chart, as well as number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100,[36] and like "Got the Life", received a gold certification in Australia.[40] "Freak on a Leash" was nominated for nine MTV Video Music Awards, and won for the Best Rock Video award, as well as Best Editing.[6]

Track listing

All songs credited to Korn.

No. Title Length
1. "It's On!"   4:28
2. "Freak on a Leash"   4:15
3. "Got the Life"   3:45
4. "Dead Bodies Everywhere"   4:44
5. "Children of the Korn" (featuring Ice Cube) 3:52
6. "B.B.K."   3:56
7. "Pretty"   4:12
8. "All in the Family" (featuring Fred Durst) 4:48
9. "Reclaim My Place"   4:32
10. "Justin"   4:17
11. "Seed"   5:54
12. "Cameltosis" (featuring Tre Hardson) 4:38
13. "My Gift to You" (contains the hidden track Earache My Eye - a Cheech & Chong cover) 15:42
Total length:
  • The original physical release features 25 tracks. The music begins on track 13 and ends on track 25, Starting the album with 12 hidden tracks consisting of five seconds of silence each, totaling 1 minute of silence out of respect for a deceased fan, who also had track 10 (Justin) named after him. Later prints move the silent tracks after the music. In interviews Jon Davis also mentioned he was very superstitious and did not want to end an album on track 13.
  • "My Gift to You" stops at 7:12 and is followed by two minutes of silence. At 9:12, a hidden track titled "Earache My Eye" starts playing after an anecdote from Fieldy during the studio session.


Korn Additional musicians Production Ref


Preceded by
Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told
by Snoop Dogg
Billboard 200 number-one album
September 5–12, 1998
Succeeded by
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
by Lauryn Hill
Preceded by
Left of the Middle by Natalie Imbruglia
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
August 30–September 6, 1998
Succeeded by
Internationalist by Powderfinger
Preceded by
Armageddon (soundtrack) by various artists
Canadian Albums Chart number-one album
September 5–12, 1998
Succeeded by
Armageddon (soundtrack) by various artists


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  2. ^
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  6. ^ a b c d e Arvizu 2009, p. 118
  7. ^ a b c d e f Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "allmusic ((( Follow the Leader > Review)))". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-04-13
  8. ^
  9. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 112
  10. ^ a b "Follow the Leader credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-13
  11. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 113
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Greg Capullo > Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-20
  14. ^ "Todd McFarlane > Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-20
  15. ^ a b Ross, Mike (98-09-17) "Kids like their Korn" Canoe. Retrieved 2010-03-20
  16. ^ (99-02-04) "Korn 'Freak' Video To Debut On Friday" MTV. Retrieved 2010-03-20
  17. ^ "Follow the Leader (Explicit Lyrics)" Retrieved 2010-03-18
  18. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum" RIAA. Retrieved 2010-03-12
  19. ^ a b Arvizu 2009, p. 119
  20. ^ Arvizu 2009, p. 121
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  23. ^ a b c "Follow the Leader | Music |". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-04-13
  24. ^ "Korn - Follow The Leader Review - sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-19
  25. ^ a b (98-11-02) "Korn puts on dancing shoes in new album" Daily News. Retrieved 2010-03-20
  27. ^ (98-11-04) "Follow the Leader Sticks To the Korn Recipe" The Rocky Mountain News.
  28. ^ "Korn's Dark But Humble Says Guitarist" Retrieved 2010-04-13
  29. ^ "Follow the Leader Album Reviews". Retrieved 2010-04-13
  30. ^ a b Robert Christgau. "Korn". Retrieved 2010-04-13
  31. ^ a b "Follow the Leader - NY". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-13
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  34. ^ "Yahoo! Music - Follow the Leader" at the Wayback Machine (archived November 29, 2005). Yahoo! Retrieved 2010-04-13
  35. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" Retrieved 2010-03-17
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  43. ^ a b Peak chart positions for Korn in Belgium:
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ a b Peak chart positions for Korn in Germany:
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  48. ^ a b
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