The 10 Best Deftones Songs of All-Time


The Deftones are a prominent and influential rock band that formed in Sacramento, California. They released their debut album, Adrenaline, in 1995 and were quickly hailed by critics as one of the most important and exciting bands of the 1990s. The Deftones were originally a glam metal band, but after the departure of founding guitarist and original member, Stephen Carpenter, the band changed their sound to a more experimental form of alternative rock. Critics have referred to the Deftones as “the most intriguing rock band” and their music has been described as “art rock”. The Deftones have released nine studio albums since Adrenaline , with their newest album being 2020’s Ohms. This list looks at The Deftones’ best songs released over the course of their career.

10. “Digital Bath”


Album: White Pony (2000)

One of the stand-out tracks on one of the Deftones’ most critically acclaimed albums, Digital Bath is a display of the band’s versatility and virtuoso musicianship. An instrumental mid-tempo opus, Chino Moreno sings in a smooth, ethereal croon that takes center stage amongst a backing track that gets steadily softer and quieter.

9. “Leathers”


Album: Koi No Yokan (2012)

This song shows the modern Deftones at their most aggressive, and also perhaps at their least accessible. While always pushing boundaries and trying new things, the Deftones usually maintain a strong sense of melody and spaciousness in their music, but on Leathers Chino’s voice is pushed to the forefront of a claustrophobic soundscape of abrasive guitars and drums with an intense focus on rhythm.

8. “Minerva”


Album: Deftones (2003)

The Deftones takes a very reverent view of heavy metal and particularly thrash metal, often drawing from the early years of the genre, but in this case they borrow from the classic 90s thrash format. The riffing is headbang-inducing and the vocals are delivered with all the intensity that made bands like Metallica so influential to Deftones fans in the first place. The guitars carry everything forward, building on one another until they blast out into a frenetic climax. “Minerva” was the lead single from their iconic self titled record.

7. “Rocket Skates”


Album: Diamond Eyes (2010)

This song is a perfect summary of the band’s sound. It’s hard-hitting and it has a catchy, melodic chorus, but overall it’s very dark and brooding. The guitar work is particularly notable, with some great riffs and some truly awesome lead work. The lyrics are typical Deftones, which means they’re about feeling isolated and longing for human connection in an increasingly cold and impersonal age.

6. “Bored”


Album: Adrenaline (1995)

The Deftones have always had a unique sound, but on Bored, they really found their identity. Chino’s unusual vocals are put to great use on this track, alternating from a deep, menacing bark to a high-pitched croon. The interplay between his voice and the guitars is great as well. The guitar parts are very open sounding and complement Moreno’s vocals perfectly. The rhythm section is also great, with a heavy, pounding bassline and interesting drum programming. The Deftones had been around for about eight years before they released Adrenaline, but with this track they showed the world that they were ready to take their sound in new directions and truly find their niche in the music world.

5. “Lotion”


Album: Around the Fur (1997)

Lotion is one of the Deftones heaviest and most aggressive songs. It’s built around a simple, effective riff that emphasizes tension and release. The vocal melody mainly consists of a disjointed “Ooh ooh” vocal hook which creates a sense of frustration and irritation with the world. The chorus is catchy, but overall the song sounds angry and hostile, which contrasts very effectively with some of Chino’s more thoughtful lyrics about longing for human connection amid an increasingly impersonal modern society.

4. “Passenger”


Album: White Pony (2000)

This song is one of the Deftones’ most multi-faceted and complex tracks. Chino’s vocals have a beautiful, ethereal quality on this track that really highlight the band’s ability to create unique and melodic vocal lines. The song has a great groove throughout and a nice moody, atmospheric sound. It’s one of the band’s most creative songs, as well as one of their most popular.

3. “Change” (In The House Of Flies)


Album: White Pony (2000)

The Deftones are known for taking great risks with their music, both in the studio and live, but comparatively they haven’t done too much to push their sound in the electronic direction. Change (In The House Of Flies) is one of the band’s most well-known electronic inspired tracks and it sounds unlike any other song in their catalog. It’s smooth and melodic throughout, with a lot of focus on muted, atmospheric textures rather than chunky riffs or aggressive vocal delivery.

2. “7 Words”


Album: Adrenaline (1995)

“7 Words” is a great example of the kind of music Deftones were creating at the time, but it also sounds like the template for much of their later work. The song boasts an awesome groove with some very creative drum parts and an unusual, yet very catchy vocal delivery. The most impressive thing about this song is that although it was written over 20 years ago, it still sounds modern and fresh.

1. “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)”


Album: Around The Fur (1997)

This is perhaps the Deftones’ most iconic song, and for good reason. It has a fantastic melody that builds up from a simple riff to an earworm of a chorus. The guitar parts are great (especially when you consider the fact that they were written and recorded in two days), but it’s Chino’s unique vocal style that really highlights the song.

Final Thoughts

In the modern world of music, it’s easy to get lost in the overcrowded ocean of musical genres. Music can easily slip into a whirlwind of identikit sounds that sound strikingly similar to each other. The Deftones have always shown they’re willing to take risks and evolve as musicians and their music has evolved incredibly over the years but that hasn’t taken away from their original musical sound.

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