The HARD 10 are ten of the most graphic albums ever released that all left an indelible mark upon the listener and the industry as a whole. Do enjoy these tales and songs, and carry their power into your life, finding their unrepentant aggression to be as emotionally valuable as tears.
Y’know what’s hard? School. Chino Moreno, Chi Cheng, Abe Cunningham, Stephen Carpenter, and DJ Frank Delgado – better known as Deftones – took Mean Girls to the Metal place 2000 with their epic White Pony. Who could’ve guessed that the boys from SoCal could be SoCold. White Pony soundtracks the bully, the bullied, burnout, the heartbreaker, and the heartbroken; difficult: maybe, hard: definitely.
Ah, school daze… “So run… Right… Right back to school. Look back I sift through all the cliques. Roaming the halls all year making me sick. While everyone’s out trying to make the cut. What. When you think you know me, right, I switch it up. Cause back in school, we are the leaders of all.” White Pony is the proverbial black sheep in the pasture – sandbox, rather – of lions and lambs.
From Nelson Muntz to Marshall Mathers the Tones went to the depths – beyond darkness – of crazy… deranged with tracks like “Feiticiera,” “Touch the machine new murderer. First untie me, untie me for now. You said you would, right? And you were right. (soon I’ll let you go) Soon this will be all over. Well I hope soon; she sang, so she sang. (soon I’ll let you go).”
White Pony’s sonic aesthetic is the hardest core of the rock. Guitars, heavy bass, stiff snare to the point of lyrical inaudibility; the album reinforces distortion – from vocalizations to expressed vantages. The polarity of that darkness is the deep soul that under rides the entire project. The same group that brought the oft-slept on but uncannily on-point “No Ordinary Love” Sade cover, is the same group that brings you, “I’ll steal a carcass for you, then feed off the virus; cause you’re my girl, and that’s alright. If you sting me, I won’t mind.” The love is anything but ordinary, and the romance is worlds worst than bad – not only do they want the ugly and disease, they feed off of it.
A tracklisting that spans from “Back to School (Mini Maggit)” and “Teenager,” to “Street Carp” and “RX Queen” – because when life and love get as hard as the Deftones make it, the hardest girls become little pill-poppin’ princesses – White Pony comes across through the thematic demeanor of Graduation with the macabre delivery and gilded Stepford subtext of American Beauty. As no social-scholastic career is complete without a rager, welcome to White Pony’s get-together: “Knife Prty,” “My knife it’s sharp and chrome, Come see inside my bones. All of the fiends are on the block. I’m the new king, I taste the queen; In here we are all anemic, in here anemic and sweet.” Literally, Mean Girls gone metallic. Life is hard, love is rough; when you need a release: “Go get your knife and come in; go get your knife and lay down.” That’s my kind of party – then again, I party like I embrace music like I live like I work: so HARD.