1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

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Korn, 'Korn'
Courtesy of Immortal Records23/40

23. Korn, 'Korn'

Korn's debut album wasn't a huge success when it was first released but it eventually sold more than 10 million copies — one of the most prophetic rock records released in 1994. The Bakersfield, California band fused the grim, angsty side of alt-rock, industrial metal's turgid grind and — most importantly — the syncopated aggression of gangsta rap to create the nü-metal fusion that would dominate the last half of the decade. Singer-lyricist Jonathan Davis indulged images of predatory violence that made Kurt Cobain's most harrowing moments seem cozy — reading evil, disease, and racism in nursery rhymes on "Shoots and Ladders." The deeply uncomfortable crowning achievement is "Daddy," where Davis addresses the trauma of being sexually abused as a child, ending the track by breaking into tears. Though the song topped a fan-request poll taken in 2003, the band hasn't played it live since Korn was released. Jon Dolan

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