Korn’s “Justin” Lyrics Meaning
“Justin” is a song with a very touching backstory. Justin, unfortunately, was a boy who had a terminal case of intestinal cancer. And his dying wish, of all things, was actually to meet Korn.
Well similar to how reading such a story may get us outsiders in the feels, how much more Korn frontman Jonathan Davis (who was in his mid-to-late 20s at the time). Him being the recipient of such a powerful request resulted in somewhat confused reaction.
And at this point it would be best if we turn over to the lyrics themselves, as all of the related sentiments are expressed therein, albeit in some cases metaphorically.
For instance, in the first we are made privy to what can be gleaned as Jon’s reluctance to grant the aforementioned wish. But it isn’t because he is insensitive to Justin’s plea. Instead it’s as if he’s feeling shy, for lack of a better word.
In fact Justin is somebody whom he rather looks up to. But it is that kind of respect that can’t really be put into words, the type that is afforded to people who are knowingly on their deathbed but keep a brave face nonetheless.
Then Davis commences the second verse by asking Justin why exactly does he want to meet him. And again, this is not a display of insensitivity. Rather his request to meet Korn totally caught Jon off guard.
Or put differently, he could not comprehend what would make someone want to meet him and his with their dying wish. Davis did not consider himself special enough to receive that type of attention.
But that aside, in terms of personal feelings for Justin, again this is someone whom he admires for the “strength” displayed before his passing.
Chorus and Third Verse
The other parts of the song, as in the chorus and third verse, are more spiritually-focused. The chorus features the singer and addressee sailing the cosmos together, presumably as spirits. But this is more of a vision on behalf of the vocalist since he’s still here with us on the mortal plane.
But another, more general way of looking at such a sentiment is as Jon now living on behalf of Justin. In fact he is inviting the spirits of all “kids that die listening” to Korn to “fly into” his body instead. And that way, they remain “alive”.
What “Justin” is all about
So there’s some heavy stuff going on here. And in a literal sense we can say that it is more fantastical than actual. But we also aren’t led to believe that the vocalist is actually inviting the spirits of dead fans to inhabit his body. Instead, as put forth earlier, this is his emotional response to a heartbreaking request.
And it’s almost as if he is saying, in a roundabout way, that he would have kept Justin alive if he could. But since he could not, this song can more realistically be understood as a tribute to his late fan.
Facts about “Justin”
The members of Korn are credited as the writers of this song. And they are:
- Brain Welch (aka “Head”, guitarist)
- Reginald Arvizu (“Fieldy”, bassist)
- James Shaffer (“Munky”, guitarist)
- Jonathan Davis (vocalist)
- David Silveria (drummer)
And the entire crew, as Korn, is credited with producing the track, having done so in conjunction with Toby Wright and Steve Thompson.
In 2006 David Silveria retired from the band, and he was replaced by Ray Luzier in 2008.
“Justin” is from Korn’s third album, “Follow the Leader”. Korn is a crew from Bakersfield, a city in California. Having formed in 1993 their heyday may have been during the ‘90s, but they remain successful even into the 2020s.
For instance, “Follow the Leader” topped the Billboard 200. And their most recent album leading up to the writing of this post, 2019’s “The Nothing”, itself impressively peaked at number eight on the list.
But whereas Korn’s albums may be poppin’, they don’t really have that many mega successes as far as individual singles go. But that said, their most-successful to date would either be 2002’s “Here to Stay“, 2003’s “Did My Time” or 2005’s “Twisted Transistor”.
The original version of “Follow the Leader” features a dozen hidden tracks which are each five seconds of silence. Well, 5 seconds times 12 equals 60 seconds or a minute. And it is said that Korn inserted this minute of silence in memory of Justin.
For the record, it is generally believed that Korn never got around to meeting Justin before he passed away. In fact judging by the lyrics, this song was likely written after his death.