The Deftones use a choice palette of sounds to fuel their impactful songs.
The earliest roots of true alternative, ambient, metal, pop, new wave and beyond are used as weapons for the Sacramento, California quintet.
Fashion editor Monet Jensen and I sat down to rank the band’s discography. Click start on the playlist below as you see what ends up where.
AGG: This unreleased project features the last recordings of deceased bassist Chi Cheng. It owns a spot here in his memory. Singer Chino Moreno leaked the song “Smile” to hungry fans that were desperate for a taste of the album.
Their label Warner Reprise Records had it removed from the internet after two days.
Hailed by insiders as their most experimental work, it will most likely never see the light of day in its entirety. Each song was named after a stripper. Based on the push and pull of “Smile,” the album was positioned to be powerful, sensual and progressive.
#10 Saturday Night Wrist
MJ: I feel like this album gets a lot of unwarranted hate. It wasn’t the best but there were a few songs on this album that make it on my all-time playlist for sure.
AGG: It is certainly the least popular which a shame. Of course we are ranking it lower than the others so what does that say? If it most bands this would be without a shadow-of-a-doubt their crowning achievement. For them? It was a very trippy walk through some pretty dark times.
AGG: When they choose to take on another artist’s material, it’s always pretty crazy. It’s worth the price of admission just for the swing at Sade’s “No Ordinary Love.”
#8 B-Sides & Rarities
AGG: A chunk of Covers found an earlier home here. Thrown in are alternate versions of original material such as the acoustic “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away).”
MJ: A great follow up to White Pony. This is an album I can listen to and it not get old.
AGG: After White Pony, the landscape of Deftones knocked me back a bit. The progression was so large sonically that it felt like there was another incredible album missing between the two. It’s like when Radiohead flipped Kid A on us after OK Computer. “Deathblow” and “Bloody Cape” are literally perfect songs.
MJ: It’s still growing on me because it’s new. There are a lot of great songs to absorb.
AGG: Gore is and is not a challenging listen. I always completely expect them to throw nothing but curve balls on every record. It’s a logical place for them to end up seeing that they draw influence from so many textures. The dynamics on Gore are dramatic as witnessed on “Phantom Bride.”
AGG: There is going to be a lot of shit caught for their debut being placed so low. It’s a valid argument based on “7 Words” and “Nosebleed.”
At this point everything was raw whether it was songwriting, production and direction. The foundation was rock solid and from here they went forward to become what they are.
MJ: There is nothing but love for the energy and hunger that they had during this time. Their youth made Adrenaline so clear and so bold.
#4 Koi No Yokan
MJ: A very good album overall and the sound is also impeccable.
AGG: This was the one that we disagreed on the most. You ranked it lower than I did which is cool but let me state my case for it being so high.
To your point, it sounds fantastic. I would even say from a fidelity perspective its among their best. From start to finish, KNY is a cohesive journey of emotions.
“Leathers” has one of the catchiest hooks that they have ever laid down in the middle of pure chaos. “Entombed” is a strong serenade and “Swerve City” has a riff that can’t be fucked with.
#3 Diamond Eyes
MJ: Diamond Eyes is where I feel there was a turning point for them. Each song felt like it was reaching out and grabbing a memory for me. It was thoughtful, careful, one of those moments of reflection that bands have when they realize they’re moving forward.
AGG: I agree. I can’t even imagine what is like for them to make this record after what happened to Chi. DE is a testament not only to survival but to honor. When Sergio Vega stepped in his impact was felt immediately in terms of how they moved. He didn’t try to be Chi and yet they stayed true to their past.
#2 Around The Fur
MJ: “Be Quiet and Drive” took me through so many low nights and got me to the other side.
AGG: I doubt you are alone there. “Head Up” and “Lotion” did that for me. I spent two press cycles interviewing them for Circus and other magazines during this period all the way through the end of the White Pony touring cycle. At this point they already hated being lumped in with the nu metal bands. They knew that they were headed to a different destination.
#1 White Pony
MJ: White Pony will always be my number one. The album entranced me from the first note of “Feiticeira”, it was the first Deftones album I bought, and the last one my mom let me blast in my room. That was the beginning of my love affair with the band. The raw energy in that album can’t be matched, it was one of those once in a lifetime moments where the stars aligned on an album. I can still listen to that album from start to finish without skipping a track almost 17 years later; I can’t do that with any other artist from that era of rock.
AGG: There’s not much left to say after of that. I remember when the album started with “Feiticeira” instead of “Back To School (Mini Maggit).” I understand the impact and to be honest how do you top something as epic as “Knife Party?” There are levels to this shit and within that one song, there is a heaping dose of what White Pony was, still is and will always be.