“Twisted Transistor” by Korn

For starters, let it be known that the “twisted transistor” referred to in the title is actually, most simply put, a portable radio. Technically, as you may already know, radios are sometimes referred to as transistors. Or more specifically the proper term is transistor radio, which is the old-school terminology for a portable radio. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Korn's Twisted Transistor at Lyrics.org.

So for instance your car radio is actually a transistor radio. And in the case of this song, the one which the subject is reliant on is also of such a variety.

The Subject of “Twisted Transistor”

The said subject would apparently be a young lady, someone whom the vocalist refers to as the “devil’s littler sister”. She is not a specific person but, given the explanation of this song as provided by Jonathan Davis, a personification. And what she represents is one of those kinds of people who only finds relief in life through music.

Indeed as presented in the second verse, this is a person who has come to realize that “the world ain’t fair” and is also apparently suffering from a lonely type of depression. And as further revealed, “no one understands” what she is going through. Well that is no one but the music, which serves the purpose of mitigating the aforementioned internal discomfort she is experiencing.

Power of Music

And again, all of this is meant to serve as Korn’s roundabout ode to the power of music. Based on their afore-noted explanation of the tune, some people are in such a deep state of loneliness that nothing is able to get through to them, with the exception of their favorite music. 

We have all perhaps had moments in our lives when we’ve felt that way, though this featured case is obviously more serious than just a casual depression. 

And apparently the reason the radio is being referred to as a “twisted transistor” is because, all lyrics considered, it appears to be playing something like the type of hard rock which the audio and Korn themselves embody. 

In other words, in terms of finding relief from the world, the subject seems to have a particular affinity for rock music. Or postulating even further, considering that the music video features some hardcore rappers, perhaps the “twisted”, ‘devilish’ type of music that the vocalist is indirectly referring to would not only be hard rock but also gangsta rap and other genres that have a devious edge to them.

Lyrics to "Twisted Transistor"


Korn is a musical act, hailing from Bakersfield, California, which predominantly falls into a musical genre known as nu metal. With their debut self-titled album coming out in 1994, this track is from their seventh full-length, which is entitled “See You on the Other Side” (2005). 

Said project featured the participation of founding band members:

  • Jonathan Davis (vocalist)
  • James “Munky” Shaffer (guitarist)
  • Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (bassist)
  • David Silveria (drummer)

To note this was the last Korn album to feature Silveria, who left the crew in 2006. Also it was the first not to feature another founding member, guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, who was on sabbatical, if you will, at the time. 

So with “Twisted Transistor” being the lead single from “See You on the Other Side”, it marked the first song the band actually dropped without Head.

From the days of Korn up until “See You on the Other Side”, the band had established themselves as A list rockers. It was around the turn of the century that their two most-commercially successful albums, “Follow the Leader” (1998) and “Issues” (1999), came out.

"Twisted Transistor"
“Twisted Transistor”

And all of their first seven studio albums, including “See You on the Other Side”, have at least been certified platinum by the RIAA. However, despite the band retaining notoriety and a faithful following, none of the six they have released from 2010 to 2019 have been able to achieve platinum status (i.e. one million copies sold in the United States).

Also whereas Korn may have a number of platinum and even an RIAA-certified quintuple-platinum album under their belt, none of their singles have actually gone platinum. But that said the most-successful out of the lot, in terms of chart showing, would be 2003’s “Did My Time”, which barely broke the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. 

And in fact peaking at number 64 on the Hot 100, “Twisted Transistor” marks Korn’s second-most impressive showing on that list to date.

That noted, this song also appeared on four other Billboard charts and peaked at number three on their Mainstream Rock Songs listing. 

The tune also charted in 10 other countries and fared more impressively on the UK Singles Chart, where it broke the top 30, than it did on the US Billboard Hot 100.`

The official video to this track, which is over seven minutes in length, was presented in mockumentary form apparently designed, to some degree, to make light of rap music (videos) as well as being comically critical of the music industry in general. 

In fact in terms of the former idea, it features Snoop Dogg as well as a number of popular rappers of that era – David Banner, Lil Jon and Xzibit – portraying the role of Korn. And the clip’s director is Ryan Ratajski.

Not only is this the lead single from “See You on the Other Side” but it is also the album’s, whose standard edition features 14 songs, leadoff track.

What “Twisted Transistor” is all about

The lyrics of “Twisted Transistor” speak directly to people who are only capable of finding relief from depressing effects of loneliness through songs played on the radio.

Korn's Jonathan Davis explains "Twisted Transistor"

8 Responses

  1. elvis316 says:

    I though it was a metaphor for a di–do.

  2. Yolo says:

    My husband (may he rest in peace) said it was about a transgender male. “Hold it between your legs and turn it up-No wind is coming through” he said is what trans men do with their pen-s. And then the part about “anesthesia this bitch” is because the trans went to get surgery to “cut it off”. He was always on top of the real meaning of lyrics.

  3. thebandLogiKal says:

    What I was told, is that the song is about teenagers. It makes sence because all teens at some point feel no one understands them, and go through a kind of depressed phase. The song also says that music is the only things that does. (which again makes sence, cause when teens go through this phase, music is normally the most powerful thing to them.)

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