Deftones are a band who first formed in California in 1998 who many would say got inaccurately lumped in with the nu metal movement when they were far more unique and generally more interesting than many other bands in the genre. They had a lot of line-up changes during their first few years before finally stabilizing in 1993. The band are known for their experimentation which has often led to them being dubbed alternative or progressive metal.
During their thirty-two-year existence they have released eight studio albums, the first of which was Adrenaline in 1995. After its release they toured extensively with bands who were considered to be their peers before the release of their second album Around the Fur in 1997 which was the record that got them their first major success. This continued with 2000’s White Pony which saw them go in a more experimental direction and featured what is possibly their biggest hit “Change (In The House of Flies).”
However, after the release of their self-titled-fourth album in 2003, they saw a decline in commercial success despite continuing to receive positive critical acclaim. Personal tensions then started to arise within the band due to creative differences which plagued the recording and release of their fifth album Saturday Night Wryst released in 2006. Then in 2008, bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a traffic accident which left him in a critical condition until his death in 2013. They found a replacement in the form of former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega. They have since released three more albums, selling over ten million records worldwide.
# 10 – Rocket Skates
The first entry in this list was the second single to released from the band’s sixth album Diamond Eyes released in 2010. It is notable for being the first single to be released without Cheng who by this point was in a coma after being involved in the aforementioned car accident, which makes it Vega’s debut single with Deftones. It charted at number twelve on the US Hot 100 Singles Chart. Musically, it concentrates on the heavier side of the band without so much of the quiet parts that are prevalent in much of the group’s material.
# 9 – Leathers
Up next is a track that was taken from 2012’s seventh album Koi No Yokan. Although it was not officially a single, it was classed as one due to the fact that it was the first cut from the record that was made available to the public after the band streamed it as a free download on their website. This album was released after a challenging time for the band, as Cheng would pass away a month after it was released.
# 8 – Back to School (Mini Maggit)
It may come as a surprise to see this track featured so low on this list as it is one of their most well-known and popular songs. The song is an altered version of the song “Pink Magitt” featured on White Pony and was released as a standalone single. The song is a staple of the band’s nu metal era, with the high school-set promo video being a popular airing on music television during the time of its release.
# 7 – Bored
Here we go all the way back to the band’s early days with this track taken from their first album Adrenaline released in 1995. With the sound presented here, it is easy to see why the band were considered to be nu metal, as this cut in particular is very similar sounding to the genre’s pioneers Korn, a band who were considered to be one of their main peers during the nineties and with whom they were frequent touring partners.
# 6 – Cherry Waves
By the time of the release of 2006’s Saturday Night Wryst from which this album is taken, Deftones had moved away from their earlier more aggressive style and into more atmospheric and progressive territory. A lot of personal problems surrounded the recording of this album, vocalist Chino Moreno was going through marital and drug problems and relations within the band were not at their best. What is even more tragic is the fact that it was Cheng’s final album with the band before his car accident and subsequent death.
# 5 – My Own Summer (Shove It)
Here we have what was the first single to be taken Around the Fur released in 1997. It was their first single to chart where it reached number twenty-nine on the Uk singles chart. It is also the opening number on the album and could be considered to be a song that established the band’s sound in terms of the loud/quiet dynamic that they often use, moving away from the Korn-esque sound of the first record.
# 4 – Nosebleed
Here we have another song from Adrenaline that once again sounds more than a little like Korn, suggesting that with their first record, Deftones had yet to really find their own sound. However, with that said it is incredibly good and powerful track which is what warrants its place at number four on this list. As the album was only released a year after Korn’s debut, they were not so much copying them as much as they were making similar sounding music.
# 3 – Sextape
This track is taken from 2010’s Diamond Eyes and is by far one of their most dreamy pieces that they have ever made, essentially being a heavier-sounding piece of dream pop. It was bassist Sergio Vega’s debut as bassist and was actually recorded following the making of the Eros record that was recorded with Cheng and put on hold due to the situation with him being in a coma. The record was successful both critically and commercially, reaching number ten on the US Billboard.
# 2 – Mx
It may seem controversial to have a lesser known song like this at number two, but Deftones are a band who have a lot of underrated songs, of which this is one. Taken from Around the Fur, it is a track that shows a departure from the more nu metal sound of Adrenaline. Here, they are becoming more experimental and progressive, which was apparently a desire of the band during the time of the album’s recording.
# 1 – Change (In the House of Flies)
At the top spot we have what is the band’s signature song that released as a single in 2000 taken from White Pony. To date it is their most commercially successful single, peaking at number three in the Billboard Alternative charts, number nine in the mainstream charts and number fifty-three on the Uk singles chart. The song truly shows the band at the peak of their greatness. To this day it is one of the most unique rock songs ever written, managing to be heavy whilst maintaining a quiet sound throughout.