Something’s Wrong With You: There and back with Deftones’ Self-Titled Album

Derek James
4 min readApr 17, 2022
My own photo

My first Deftones record was almost my last. I remember my introduction to the band was a combination of watching the “Minerva” video on MTV sometime in 2003 and reading about the band in rock magazines. Without having seen the video in years, I remember visuals of the low sun in the desert over the music and how beautifully the music tied it all together. I was 14 years old, at the time, but knew I had to buy this record.

I eventually did on a family road trip at a Walmart in Southern Minnesota or Northern Iowa. When I got back to the car and put the disc in my CD player, I realized that “Minerva” was a terrible starting point someone introducing themselves to the band. Or at least it was not the ideal entry point given my musical tastes at the time.

I listened to many of Deftone’s peers, like Slipknot and Korn, but this band struck my ear differently. Singer Chino Moreno didn’t sound like Corey Taylor or Jonathan Davis. Songs like “Deathblow” and “Minerva” were warm and dreamy, while tracks like “Hexagram” and “When Girls Telephone Boys” are abrasive and unrelenting. The experimental nature of this record was difficult for my immature ear to grasp, so I put it away and gave up on the band after one play through.

“Time Will See Us Realligned”

There was a lot about Deftones I didn’t understand. This was a band influenced almost equally by rap, New Wave and heavy metal. As a myopic teenager, I wasn’t expanding my world into either rap or New Wave yet. It wasn’t until after high school I got into both.

I remember the song that made me give the band another shot, 2010’s “Diamond Eyes.” This time, the soaring vocals over heavy guitars grabbed me and didn’t let go. I fell in love with the record and decided to try again.

By this time, I had lived a little more and could better relate to the themes of love and loss throughout the self-titled record. While I went back to albums like White Pony and Around the Fur, it was Deftones that I threw myself into.

Moreno has described the record as, I was a little out of my mind, with drugs or whatever, and just sort of in a dark place. That record is really heavy in that way. It’s probably one of our only records that when I listen to it, I get a weird feeling. Some of the stuff’s not comfortable for me to listen to.”

After a while, I realized that while it’s not their best, it’s still good and probably my favorite. The album showcases a range of styles, influences and tones, and becomes a rewarding listen. Familiarizing myself more with the band’s discography and realizing they went from White Pony to make a vastly different record is impressive. It reminds me of Pantera releasing Great Southern Trendkill after Far Beyond Driven or Nirvana dropping In Utero after Nevermind.

It’s like there’s a point with commercial success where bands realize trying to make another of those records is nearly impossible and should just follow their own creative instincts.

When I began collecting records on vinyl, this was one I knew I had to have and I finally found it on Saturday. This was especially exciting because I had never seen the vinyl for sale in-store or online before.

The Best Song May Not Have Made The Record

Deftones had just two singles: “Minerva” and “Hexagram.” While both are great songs, there are strong contenders for the album’s best song within the tracklist. Songs like “Battle-axe” are certainly in the mix. However, this may be the best track from these sessions (at least that I have heard):

From what I remember “Lovers” was the original title of the album and the band cut the song from the album because they felt it was too on the nose with the rest of the material. This is a shame because it paints a nice picture of a couple who goes from developing feelings and becoming intimate, to realizing they suddenly care about their partner’s satisfaction.

Deftones has a respectable 47-minute run time as it is and “Lovers” would have pushed it over 50 minutes, which isn’t terrible. The song may also have been obvious, as the band has said, but it also fits the lyrical and musical themes of the album. Cutting the song would have been one thing, but it would have been great to see it make 2005’s B-Sides and Rarities album at least.

The only way you can own it now is to have the UK version of the “Hexagram” single.

Right Place, Right Time

There are often pieces of art like an album or film that we are not ready for when first experience. The barrier could be something as simple as being in the wrong mood for it. In other cases, you may not be able to identify with it until you’ve reached certain stages in life. Fortunately, I was able to have that experience with Deftones and the rest of the band’s catalog.



Derek James

Former NBA and WNBA media member | Current Content Strategist | #LGRW | Casual Musician