Very few songs of any genre can match the feeling and euphoria one hears when “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)”, the single from Deftones off their 1997 Around The Fur album, plays when it enters your eardrums. One of the first songs to merge shoegaze and rock/metal influences (and certainly one of the first to do so in the context of the burgeoning popularity of nu-metal and alternative metal), it’s no doubt a classic song both for Deftones and in relatively heavy music in general.
It is, of course, one of the band’s most popular songs to this day. Eventually becoming the band’s first single to chart in the USA, this song is truly what euphoria feels like. It’s also a song where each member of Deftones is integral to the song’s success, as well. Whether it’s the effective vocals of Chino Moreno, the on-point drumming of Abe Cunningham, or the bass/guitar combo of the late Chi Cheng and Stephen Carpenter, there’s little about this song’s atmosphere or heavy/melodic dichotomy that doesn’t feel fresh and exciting to this day.
What’s often overlooked in the song’s success is just how much of an influence it took from Hum’s You’d Prefer An Astronaut, a 1995 album that remains a strong influence on basically any band who considers themselves to have alternative, rock, space rock, and/or shoegaze influences. In fact, it was due to that album (at least partially) that Deftones decided to inject new influences into their sound for both Around The Fur and White Pony. In particular, it’s reflected in the guitar tone of Stephen Carpenter, who echoes a simple and repeated string of guitar riffs that provide elite levels of atmosphere. With some of the most impressive and exciting guitar effects available at the time, even at this point, Deftones were so far ahead of most of their peers that it was pretty unfair.
The song’s notable themes of escapism are second only to the number of bands the song has influenced, as well. Everyone from Narrow Head to Superheaven, Loathe to Softcult, and Teenage Wrist to Heavenward have been influenced in some way from the song (and the album it stems from, and definitely Deftones as a whole), and that’s evident in many other bands as well. Many of the biggest bands that Deftones have influenced tend to operate on a sort of “genres are limitless” framework, anyway.
“Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)” remains one of the most important songs in Deftones’ arsenal. A true turning point in their overall sound and evolution on future records, in some ways the future was right then and there. And based on the number of important newer acts the song has influenced (and still does, actually!), the song is just as important over 25+ years later. A truly timeless slice of alternative metal.