Back in 1999, it could be reasonably argued that, for at least a brief period of time, Korn were the biggest rock band in the country. Their songs were all over rock radio (with the occasional crossover tune storming the pop chart) and their visually intense videos were all over MTV. The fall of 1999 was full of high-profile rock releases from Foo Fighters, Counting Crows and Rage Against the Machine, but Korn’s fourth album Issues — released on this day in ’99 — may have been the biggest of them all.
Korn had scored their biggest smash yet with their third album Follow the Leader, which turned them from an underground favorite into arena-filling superstars with high-profile singles like “Got the Life” and “Freak on a Leash.” Though they had been slowly purging the hip-hop influences from their music (the most embarrassing song on Follow the Leader was a relatively straight hip-hop duet with Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst called “All in the Family”), the band decided to almost completely purge those sounds for Issues. What’s left was their most raw, metal-sounding album yet, full of dark riffs and even darker lyrics courtesy of frontman Jonathan Davis. Issues even has an MTV connection, as the album covers were designed by fans in a contest hosted by the network.
Though it received mixed reviews when it was released, Issues was still a massive seller and was launched in incredible style: The band played the album in its entirety at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem and broadcast the concert on radio stations around the country. They also had a big coming out party for the first single “Falling Away From Me,” which made its debut on an episode of “South Park.” The video is a delightfully weird bit of heavy cinema directed by Durst.