It’s been a while since I’ve posted any Vinyl Wednesday but two recent purchases made me feel that I had to bring it back. I was finally able to find some of my favorite albums of all time and I felt the need to give some love to them here. The first one I’ll talk about is Korn’s 1998 album Follow The Leader.
Some people might think this is a lame choice because it’s “Nu-Metal” or whatever you want to call it. I don’t care. This album was, and still is, awesome. I feel like Korn, and this album specifically, are what really started me down the path of heavy music. I most likely started playing guitar because of Korn as well. It didn’t take me very long to move on toward heavier soundscapes but this album has stuck with me through any musical phase of mine since 1998. The blending of hip-hop beats with down tuned guitars was fresh in ’98 and their take on that melding of styles was always a bit different than anyone else before or after.
Korn’s Follow The Leader album kicks ass both musically and through the artwork. Todd McFarlane was tasked with creating the artwork for the front and back covers and it is simply amazing. Best known for his work in the Spawn comic series, Todd brought his dreary, other-worldly mood that he’s famous for to Korn for the art of this record. A few themes seem to work their way through both the music and artwork for this release: a sense of bleakness, unity through being cast out of “normal” society and becoming the new leaders of what is popular.
I absolutely love this album cover. The illustration is top-notch. The coloring is ethereal, odd and supremely fitting for the music inside and I can get lost in the details of it all every time I pull the record off the shelf. Todd McFarlane did a fantastic job representing what the album is about with his whole illustration. Just look at the line work up there. Look at it! It’s freaking awesome. His character design is just too cool. And that landscape in the background… don’t even get me started. I wish I could illustrate something even 1/10 as cool as this.
The outer plastic sleeve that this release came in also had some nice stickers on it. The white sticker is similar to something that appeared on the initial release of the record and the gold sticker is new. Both are nicely executed and placed in good positions to not get in the way of the actual artwork.
The back of the jacket continues the amazing illustration that Mr. McFarlane started on the front. Lots more kids, lots of detail and a whole bunch more “outcasts.” Once again, Todd seems to be able to sum up what the album is about with all of these characters and scenery. People from all walks of life are coming to “follow the leader,” joining together in their newfound sense of community. It’s pretty awesome stuff.
I love the little details he worked in across the illustration. Korn’s logo appears on the back of a shirt. An alternate version of their logo was also used as a patch on another kids leather jacket. These are the types of things that I love to see. Small details that make all the difference. Good stuff.
The track listing appears differently here than on the CD artwork. With more space comes more design options and they used their space wisely here. The CD had all of the song titles across the top kind of smashed together and the liner notes appeared seemingly wherever they could fit them. For this release, actual spacing was utilized for the titles and the handwritten typeface from the front (the album title) was used for the song titles and the other release information. It’s a simple treatment that works well enough and it also has similar qualities with earlier releases from Korn.
This was a special, numbered release from Music On Vinyl. The album I purchased is number 789 of 2000. A nice, gold foil-stamping was used here. I think MoV uses the gold-stamping on a lot of these type of releases but here it ends up fitting in better than imagined. It does’t come off as odd and it has nice placement that keeps it away from any important artwork.
This is a 2-LP set but it wasn’t a gatefold (although it probably should have been). The sleeves that house the records were printed in black & white and feature some of the artwork from the original release. I remember from owning the CD that these images had a very green tone to them. It was a really cool effect that I wish I got to see reproduced on a large scale. The backs of each sleeve featured the song titles for that particular record and general information about the recording. You have to fit those liner notes in somewhere and what better place then here?
There was also a Music On Vinyl insert inside the jacket. This featured all of their Korn releases on one side and a version of the Korn logo on the opposite side. The logo doesn’t appear to be the “official” logo and I’m not sure why that is. It’s simplified and rounded a bit. Odd. Regardless, if it was just the MoV releases and then blank on the other side I wouldn’t have liked the piece as much. The addition of that logo made it a much better piece to include and something to hold on to.
The two records are gold-colored. This is why the run was numbered and I specifically sought out this release. It was a little more expensive but I felt that this completed the whole package so well that I just had to have it. The label graphic is a 1-color version of the front artwork and I love it. It was used on the CD release as well and I always found it to be one of my favorite graphic treatments of this release. The black-on-black graphic treatment works well and it allows the track listing to really stand out and be read.
Overall the record looks and sounds great. To buy an original pressing of this record could run upwards of $200 without shipping costs and that wasn’t something I could ever afford to deal with. It’s not that it’s a lot of money but it is a lot of money for a vinyl record that was fairly common at one time. Luckily this one came in at around 1/4 that price and I snagged it when I found it. I don’t know if they used the original metal plates to make this or not but that wasn’t so much the point for me. I wanted to have a physical copy of one of my favorite albums and now I do. I’ll leave you with the first single from this album entitled “Got The Life.” This should fit all of your 1998 nostalgic needs.