Record #437: Deftones – White Pony (2000)

It seems fitting that in 2017, a year that saw me obsessively dive into the Deftones’ catalogue to determine if I like them or not (spoiler: I really, really, really, really do), it’s fitting that my last purchase of the year would be White Ponythe record most people regard as their magnum opus.
Listening to the melodic, shoegaze-influenced alternative metal of Koi No Yokan or Gore, there’s very little to suggest that Deftones was ever a rap-metal group. That trajectory is thanks to White Pony, the record that eschewed the nu-metal of their peers and becoming one of the best alt-metal bands in the business.

This change was in large part due to the group’s new emphasis on atmosphere and melody. Songs like “Digital Bath,” “Knife Prty,” and the eternal “Change (In the House of Flies)” made great use out of a quite-loud dynamic that became the blueprint for many of the group’s best songs. “Rx Queen,” “Teenager,” and the first half of “Pink Maggit” saw them using a quieter palette than ever before. “Teenager” even had electronic drums and acoustic guitars!

While there are no raps on this record, the band hadn’t completely shed their nu-metal skin. Some of the riffs are still drenched in hip-hop swagger—”Elite” in particular. But even these songs haven’t aged as poorly as most of their contemporaries. While songs like “Freak on a Leash” and “Nookie” sound like embarrassing time capsules, most of  White Pony sounds practically modern.

Which is good news, because I can’t stand rap rock anymore.

One thought on “Record #437: Deftones – White Pony (2000)

  1. Pingback: Record #447: Deftones – Diamond Eyes (2010) | A Year of Vinyl

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