The Deftones have evolved from dreadlocked nu-metal skate rats into one of the most respected and influential bands in "heavy" music, revered in far-flung circles, from art-metal and post-hardcore to EDM and Active Rock. As such, it was only a matter of time before we posed this impossible question to you, our fans and followers: What is the single best Deftones song? You hit social media with your picks — below are the ranked results.
The brilliance behind "My Own Summer," the opening track from the Deftones' breakthrough sophomore LP Around the Fur, is its lack of commitment. Not in the sense that Chino Moreno's vocals aren't urgent and impassioned, or that the band's swirling riffage resembles anything near laissez-faire or lackadaisical; it's in how the song crests and falls with the verse, moving from quiet and pensive to crushing and destructive, only to start over again. It's this seamless range of emotion and atmosphere that shows the band's power, not to mention their ability to kick off a record right.
"Be Quiet and Drive" may be the Deftones' ultimate statement. Soaring and furious, dark and thoughtful, the track shows the band's true well-rounded self, after a debut album that was focused primarily on bludgeon. "Be Quiet and Drive" may be about heartache and frustration, but it's even more so about a great band coming into its own.
As fans know and love, the Deftones' music spans the extremes, swerving between the far reaches of loud and soft, fast and slow, savage vein-bulging rage and gorgeous lazy-day introspection, often within a single song. "Digital Bath" represents quiet, pretty, contemplative Deftones at their best, a soothing wash of warm colors readymade for a make-out session in sun-dappled grass. Yet, perhaps the most compelling thing about the captivating cut is its under-the-surface menace: The romantic-sounding song is, in fact, a fantasy about killing a woman in the bath by electrocution.
"Change (In the House of Flies)" is the benchmark for whether or not you're willing to fully drown in the spell of the Deftones. Chino Moreno's chorus harmonies are flat-out intoxicating; the ways in which his voice can match up with the dreamy qualities of the rest of the instrumentation, hypnotic. Representing the first single off White Pony, the title "Change" reads as extremely self-referential. It lets the world know of the group's full metamorphosis from a NorCal aggro skate-metal crew into an act with higher aspirations, that their moments of early beauty were no accident and that they'd finally achieved the sounds they were striving for all along.
In what's maybe the coolest duet in all of metal, "Passenger" unites the talents of both Maynard James Keenan and Chino Moreno in a vocal showcase for the ages. The song's rhythm evokes a car cruising down the highway, sometimes speeding up, or slowing in the pre-chorus as if to take in the sights all around. Cars become a metaphor for love, in a J.G. Ballard–esque synthesis of automobiles crashing together with sex. It's a strange, seductive yet menacing composition, and one that has allowed for some excellent live takes, including team-ups withe everyone from Paramore's Hayley Williams to the Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato. Indeed, all the elements that makes the Deftones such a unique band appear in the song, allure and violence packed in a too-short six-plus minutes.