Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Deftones White Pony (2000) Review

Deftones "White Pony" (2000) LP Cover
I’ve talked about Deftones “White Pony” before. But today, I wanted to talk about it again because it’s been on my playlist a lot more recently. This is an album that was released in the summer of 2000, and I was only 17 years old. I loved all music that had a distorted guitar, and so when the singles started hitting radio, I was all in on what Deftones were offering. While I did enjoy “Around The Fur” which was released 3 years earlier, this is the quintessential Deftones record for me. Chino Moreno and the boys were able to create a lavish display of alternative music that mixes experimental themes with hardcore, metal, and trip hop for lack of a better word. Once again being released on Maverick Records, “White Pony” really had me intrigued from day one of the release.

Four Versions of The Same Album

I did not know that there were different versions of this album at first. It was only later that I realized that there were different records. There was also a vinyl release of this record, limited to only 1,000 and it was pressed on clear red vinyl. I used to own it, but now, it’s probably sitting in someone’s garage or turn table getting scratched up. The four different releases had different tracks on it. The one that I had was the version with “Back to School (Mini Maggit)” on it. That’s the single that the band did a video for and was featured on MTV a lot. It was also featured in teen movie soundtracks from the late 1990s. The video is memorable though where the band plays in a high school and just talks about the angst of being a teenager in school and not being understood.

From Hum Comes White Pony

You probably don’t remember the 1990s band Hum. Deftones did, and they made this album’s cover a tribute to the record “You’d Prefer An Astronaut”. If you don’t know the band HUM, then you should definitely check them out because they have a lot of great instrumental elements to their sound, and according to Chino Moreno, it’s where Deftones got their inspiration for “White Pony”. That inspiration is heard through the guitar work that is layered throughout heavier tracks, alongside very good keyboard and digital instrumentation. The drum sound is highlighted a lot though, alongside the minimal guitar elements and Chino’s soft voice that screams into a wildcat at times. Songs like “Digital Bath”, clashes amidst harder tracks including “Feticeira”, “Passenger” and “Back To School (Mini Maggit)”.

The guest starring “Passenger” features Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, and “Knife Party” has a dichotomy of sounds that you will not find on other tracks, such as the hit single “Change (In The House of Flies)”. The band threw together a great deal of impressive departures on the record, including “Rx Queen” and “Teenager”, two of my favorite tracks that are not heavy mixes.

Spin Hated and Rolling Stone Magazines Deftones “White Pony”

Spin Magazine Coverage (click for larger)

When this record was released, “Spin Magazine” at the time gave it a 4 out of 10. That score was in line with what “Rolling Stone” gave it, which was a 3 out of 5. Although the 4 out of 10 was a major negative review all things considered. The band certainly didn’t deserve such low marks if you ask me. Looking back on it now, I can see why they would have such a negative reaction, as they are no longer a print mag and they are not even relevant to most music fans. Yet this record continues to get radio play, so who outlasted who there? “Maggots were going to eat this record”, according to “Spin Magazine”, mind you. Funny, huh?

I give Deftones “White Pony” a 4 out of 5.

The band really did something good on this record. If you listen to “Around The Fur” then listen to “White Pony” back to back, you will appreciate the transition that Deftones pulled in 3 years. They became more mature, they experimented with their sound, and cleaned up a lot of the loose ends. Chino Moreno’s vocals improved, and the band became a well-oiled machine, touring and creating incredible showcases of their talent. From lyrics to production values, “White Pony” delivered so much more than the nu-metal moniker they kept getting.

You can download Deftones “White Pony” by clicking here, or you could get the vinyl, stream it, and write your own review as well. I suggest picking up the re-released wax, or the disc, but download it or stream it legally here as well.

Did you like Deftones “White Pony”? Let me know what your thoughts were on the record, and if you think it’s still worthwhile in the comments below.

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