10 Most Underrated Deftones Songs
With seven albums in their repertoire, Sacto metal superstars Deftones have a wealth of songs under their belts. They have radio hits that expanded their fanbase; soundtrack cuts that have earned a cult-like status among the diehards who savor them; and plenty of supercharged ragers that completely come to life and jump out at you in the live realm.
While Deftones fans, both casual and committed, tend to love ‘Change (In the House of Flies),’ ‘Be Quiet and Drive,’ ‘Bored’ and ‘Seven Words,’ among dozens of others, revering them as classics, the band’s catalog is an embarrassment of riches, since there are so many killer tracks. Chalk it up to awesome metal band problems.
We’ve assembled the 10 Most Underrated Deftones Songs, which should cause debate among the faithful. These are the songs that might not come to mind immediately when thinking about the best Deftones songs, but they are equally as loved and with good reason. So check out the 10 Most Underrated Deftones Songs below.
The Deftones were experimenting with synths and EDM conventions a long, long time ago. ‘Digital Bath,’ a slow, sultry number with samples and echoes guitar work, is the kind of song that velvet-voiced R&B singer Sade would do if she “went rock” for a track or a few minutes. It’s the most feminine that Moreno has ever sounded, and he is backed by complex yet restrained instrumentation. That holding back is what makes it so tense. But it still sounds like Deftones.
Most ‘Tones fans love ‘Headup,’ but it doesn’t get nearly the amount of recognition it should. It’s a barnburner, from the first squall of feedback that eventually comes into focus until it fades out. It features a guest spot from Max Cavalera, who was just getting his Soulfly project off the ground at the time. It’s also one of the best lyrics to sing along to at a ‘Tones show: “When you walk into this world / Walk in / With your head up high.”
‘Can’t Even Breathe’
‘Can’t Even Breathe’ is raw and unrefined, but it boasts all of the elements of the Deftones’ sound that the band would hone, perfect and patent as their signatures. Chino Moreno‘s vocal wailing and Stephen Carpenter’s chugga-chugga, mathy riffery and layered noise make this one of the most underrated Deftones tracks. If you are not familiar, we suggest that you get acquainted sooner than later.
‘Engine No. 9′
If there was ever a set of riffs that sounded mean and snarling, it’s those that comprise ‘Engine No. 9,’ an anthemic live favorite that doesn’t get as much attention as other tracks in the band’s catalog or even on ‘Adrenaline,’ for that matter. It’s aggressive, pulverizing and demands your attention. It really is one of the Deftones’ most underrated songs — that is, it’s beloved, but it’s not as referenced as others.
‘When Girls Telephone Boys’
A noisy, nasty track, ‘When Girls Telephone Boys’ transports us back to the ‘Adrenaline’ era, thanks to the raw, processed vocals of Moreno. He sings with such venom you can envision bulging veins in his neck and temples. The dischord is almost too much to take, but it also delights if you like your music to ripping and snorting. There is a level of polish here that was not found on ‘Adrenaline,’ and that’s an ode to the ‘Tones remaining true to their original sound while perfecting and elevating it.
‘Bored’ and ‘7 Words’ get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to ‘Adrenaline’ tracks, but how can we forget ‘Minus Blindfold?’ It’s a rhythmic rabblerouser complete with choppy riffs. And yes, Moreno delivers his lyrics in a rapped cadence, but make no mistake — this isn’t rap metal. This goes for the jugular with the primal, survivor’s instinct normally reserved for a big cat.
‘Cherry Waves’ is a truly one of the Deftones most underrated songs with a slinky, serpentine, noir bend. There’s a cinematic quality to the track, which highlights the fact that few bands do quiet-loud, tension and release like the Deftones. It’s their trademark and ‘Cherry Waves’ has the ability to haunt the listener, thanks to all the nuances of sound that are piped into the track.
‘Minerva’ was a single and it is a sweeping, epic track with lots of layers and undulations, but it’s often semi-forgotten, given the breadth and depth of the band’s catalog. You can hear a Smiths influence, but it’s given an electromagnetic metal charge. Moreno’s vocals in the verses are super sad, tone-wise (or is that ‘Tones-wise?) and when you hear it, you’re like, “Oh, man, this is such a great song.” But it rarely makes “Best Of” lists for the band.
‘Mx’ is a song that is loaded with tension, thanks to the punchy, chunked out riffs, the underwater sounds and the vocal interplay between Chino Moreno and the female voice, provided by Annalynn, who was drummer Abe Cunningham’s wife at the time. Yes, we admit that here and there it sounds like a porno dialogue, but she’s goading him and being a bit coy. It’s semi-erotic but it also rocks something hardcore.
‘Feitceria’ is a balls-out bruiser that opens the moody and dynamic ‘White Pony,’ which is arguably the band’s best album. It’s the “get it outta the way song,” where the band bursts out of the gates at full speed and never loses a step. Buzzsaw, creaky riffs and Moreno’s vocal wail leave a mark. Every element scars in its own unique way. It is easily the most underrated Deftones song, since it’s right up there with ‘Lotion,’ ‘Be Quiet and Drive’ and the Grammy-winning ‘Elite’ in terms of brutally beautiful songs in the band’s catalog.