For me, like many others, the Deftones are a special band. Throughout the past 12 years of venturing into and finding out what exactly it is that I call my musical taste, the Deftones have always been at the top of my favorite bands list. This might not sound that important but consider the fact that in late middle school Korn was also one of my favorite bands.
I am absolutely certain that many other people my age have had the same experience with the Deftones. They have been the one band for us that have stood the test of nü-metal time. One reason is the fact that they have never followed trends, even their own. After single-handedly creating modern rap-rock with their debut, Adrenaline, the band quickly abandoned that ship for more creative ventures after the trend caught on like wildfire in the mid-`90s. Another reason, perhaps, is that the Deftones have always been far more intelligent and musically cultured than their peers, a fact that this collection of rarities highlights considerably well.
The collection starts with a cover of Jawbox's "Savory." Not only is this a great cover but the track also includes Jonah Montranga and other members of Far. The song choice and guest members on the first track alone begins to illustrate the complexity that is beneath the Deftones' skin. Continuing to expose more of the band's eclectic influences are covers of the Cocteau Twins' "Wax and Wane," Helmet's "Sinatra," Sade's "No Ordinary Love," the Cure's "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep," Morrissey's "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want," Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur" and Lynryd Skynard's "Simple Man." Even though these bands pull from vastly different ends of the musical spectrum, it does not keep the Deftones from both keeping faithful to the originals yet somehow making them sound perfectly tailored for their own sound in such a charming fashion that only the Deftones could achieve. Furthermore, their cover of "Simple Man" is absolutely perfect and should replace the horribly butchered version by whatever crap band that plays on modern rock radio these days.
This collection, however, is far from perfect. While all of the previously mentioned covers are fantastic, there is a serious lack of original material. Only the tracks "Crenshaw Punch / I'll Throw Rocks at You" and "Black Moon" are entirely original and unreleased tracks. The latter is basically a track from B-Real of Cypress Hill with a tiny sample of Chino's crooning in the mix. Even the liner notes for this track are of Chino admitting how he half-assed this collaboration by literally throwing a vocal track together at the last minute. That being said, it does not have much to do with the Deftones and even being a fan of early Cypress Hill I will admit that it's not very exciting.
This leaves the remainder of the tracks, which are simply acoustic and remix versions of some of the band's previous album tracks. These include an acoustic "Change," "Digital Bath," "Be Quiet and Drive" and remix of "Teenager" with the band Idiot Pilot. While the acoustics are intimate versions of some personal favorites, the remix is rather ho-hum as it is not much different from the White Pony version nor was it ever a very interesting track to me in the first place.
When it boils down to it, this collection could have been stronger by including some more original material from the Deftones' rarities catalogue. Most notably missing is the band's stellar and ferocious track "Teething" from the Crow: City of Angels soundtrack and "Can't Even Breathe" from the Escape from L.A. soundtrack. Not only is "Teething" a fan favorite and highlight of the band's catalogue, but both tracks are in dire need of being saved from horrible soundtrack obscurity. The inclusion of "The Boys Republic," which was released only on the special red and black White Pony, would have been a nice touch as well. Finally, my all-time favorite Deftones' cover, Depeche Mode's "To Have and to Hold," is also surprisingly absent.
Is this slightly pricey collection worth picking up? If you are already a fan of the band, the answer is a resounding yes. Not only do you get to peek through a window into what it is that makes the Deftones such an interesting band, but you also get a bonus DVD which includes every single video the band had filmed to date. You also get stunning packaging that comes in hardback book form with liner notes for each track and the re-introduction of the fuzzy dandelion disc art we know and love from the band's first two albums. I cannot imagine this album being very interesting, though, for those who are solely fans of the hits or those not too interested in the band in the first place.
As it stands, changing the title from B-Sides & Rarities to Covers and Acoustics would be more fitting. Long-time fans like me can only hope for another collection like this with more original material including the missing tracks previously mentioned. Here's hoping it happens.