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Music / White Pony

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Who cares what's behind? Just like always, still your passenger.

You like attention
It proves to you you're alive
Stop, parading your angles
Confused? You'll know when you're ripe
— "Elite"

White Pony is the third studio album by California-based metal band Deftones, released on June 20, 2000. It was produced by Terry Date, who had also produced the band's first two albums (Adrenaline and Around the Fur).

The album is regarded as a turning point for the band's sound, showing notable growth and maturing in their alternative metal style through experimentation with influences from genres such as post-hardcore, trip hop, shoegazing, progressive rock, and post-rock. It was also the band's first album to feature turntablist and keyboardist Frank Delgado as a full-time band member rather than a featured guest, and also the first album where lead vocalist Chino Moreno contributed guitar parts.

White Pony became the band's first platinum record and still ranks as their highest-selling album, with the song "Elite" additionally winning them their first Grammy Award (for Best Metal Performance). The album produced a number of successful singles, most notably "Change (In the House of Flies)" (which has since become a Signature Song for the band) alongside the promo-only "Digital Bath" (the band's only promotional single to date) and "Back to School (Mini Maggit)".

"Back to School" was actually created after White Pony's completion, the result of the band's label pressuring them to re-release the album with another hit single aside from "Change". They responded in frustration by rearranging the album finale "Pink Maggit" in a half-hour as a joke, turning a section of the song into fast, in-your-face nu metal complete with a Boastful Rap to show their label how easy it was to make a hit. Not only did their label reportedly love it, but when the album was reissued shortly after initial release, "Back to School" got added to the tracklist by the execs against the band's wishes as a marketing ploy — and as the opening track, no less. It did end up becoming a successful single, but the song has since been disowned by the band, although they have since performed it live on rare occasion.

White Pony received a 20th anniversary reissue in December 2020 that packaged the original album (cutting "Back to School" to restore the band's intended tracklist) with Black Stallion, a companion album with each song of the album being remixed by various artists (Purity Ring, DJ Shadow, Squarepusher, Mike Shinoda, Robert Smith, etc).

Tracklist (for original release):

  1. Feiticeira (3:09)
  2. Digital Bath (4:15)
  3. Elite (4:01)
  4. RX Queen (4:27)
  5. Street Carp (2:41)
  6. Teenager (3:20)
  7. Knife Prty (4:49)
  8. Korea (3:23)
  9. Passenger (6:07)
  10. Change (In the House of Flies (4:59)
  11. Pink Maggit (7:32)

Change (In the House of Tropes)

  • Attention Whore: The verses of "Elite" call out people who desperately seek attention.
    You like attention
    It proves to you you're alive
    Stop parading your angles
    Confused? You'll know when you're ripe
  • Avant-Garde Metal: This album started to show the band shift towards this and away from the conventional nu metal of their first 2 releases.
  • Boastful Rap: The added rap verses of "Back to School", seemingly from the perspective of a bullied or outcasted high school kid living a fantasy of being "the [leader] of it all" and triumphing over the cliques "making [them] sick". While it's common knowledge that the verses were written in jest, they have been interpreted as a metaphor for the band's opinion on the metal scene at the time.
  • Book Ends: The reissue places "Back to School", a rearrangement of "Pink Maggit", as the first track, which means that that version of the album begins and ends with different versions of the same song. Though "Back to School" wasn't originally intended to be part of the album, it can be argued that its placement turns "Pink Maggit" into a climactic reprise that ties the album together.
  • Electrified Bathtub: "Digital Bath" vaguely describes killing a woman by throwing an appliance in a bathtub, hence the song name. Chino has confirmed that this is the context despite the song's "pretty" sound.
  • Epic Rocking: The track lengths generally waver around the 3-5 minutes, but "Passenger" is just over 6, and "Pink Maggit" is 7-and-a-half.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: In the video for "Back to School", one of Chino's most intense screams in the song is able to obliterate an entire panel of glass windows.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: On most releases, "Pink Maggit" is the last song and is the longest at around 7 and a half minutes.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The slow, sensual "Digital Bath" is from the perspective of someone as they kill a woman via Electrified Bathtub, which can create some serious Fridge Horror if one interprets the song's sound as implying that the narrator treats the murder as erotic, if not arousing.
  • Male Gaze: Almost inevitable for a music video in a high school setting, but the one for "Back to School" contains a quick low-angle shot of a cheerleader's backside as she puts on her uniform skirt.
  • Metal Scream: Chino manages some impressive screams throughout "Back to School" and on the chorus of "Korea", and also screams the majority of "Elite".
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: All versions of the cover art consist solely of an outline/silhouette of a horse against a solid-colored background (grey, white, black, red, or blue), sometimes including the band name and album title.
  • Murder Ballad: "Digital Bath".
  • Precision F-Strike: "Feiticeira" ("Fuck, I'm drunk") and "Street Carp" ("There's all your evidence / now take it home and fuck with it"). The former is actually the first line of the album, which is odd for an album with minimal expletives.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Back to School" is an abridged redux of "Pink Maggit" (hence its Either/Or Title "Mini Maggit") that takes the chorus and bridge of the latter song's main section and builds rap verses around them.
  • Self-Empowerment Anthem: According to Chino, "Pink Maggit" was designed as one.
    "the song is meant to be triumphant. I just imagined being the shit in school. just holding your hands in the air and knowing that nobody can take anything from you. its one of those things where, if you tell yourself that you are the shit, then you will be the shit. im trying to spread a little confidence. a lot of artists try to make songs for the kids who are tormented in school, telling them its ok to be tormented. but its not okay. don't be lazy. don't be ridiculed. become the leader of your surroundings. confidence is one of the most important things in life. if you are confident, you can do whatever you want."
  • Updated Re-release: Got one in 2020 as a double album alongside Black Stallion, as well as the original tracklisting (i.e. no "Back to School").

Push back the square
Now that you need her, but you don't
So, there you go
'Cause back in school
We are the leaders of all