Saturday Night Wrist
|Saturday Night Wrist|
|Studio album by|
|Released||October 31, 2006|
|Recorded||November 2004 – April 2006|
|Singles from Saturday Night Wrist|
Saturday Night Wrist is the fifth studio album by American alternative metal band Deftones, released on October 31, 2006 by Maverick Records. Despite early contributions that were later scrapped, it marked the departure of mainstay Deftones producer Terry Date. It was also their last Deftones's album to feature bassist Chi Cheng, as well as the last album during his career and his lifetime, before his car accident in 2008, which led to his death in 2013.
Saturday Night Wrist was the product of an arduous and stressful creative process lasting roughly two years and straining relationships within the band. Complicating matters and inspiring many of its songs were frontman Chino Moreno's drug addictions and the crumbling of his marriage. The final result was an album met with critical praise.
Early writing and recording
In early 2004, Maverick Records told Deftones they needed to head into the studio due to the lackluster sales of the band's self-titled effort. They began pioneering ideas for a new album at their studio, The Spot, in Sacramento, California. On April 30, 2004, they announced they would be relocating to Malibu, California, to continue writing the album at Morning View House, famous for being the place that Incubus recorded their fourth album, Morning View. Deftones spent most of the summer there, resulting in an album's worth of material that Moreno described as "straight evil music".
They then began searching for a producer and started recording. They initially considered enlisting Ken Andrews of Failure and Ric Ocasek of the Cars, but to no avail. They then worked with Dan the Automator for about a week. According to guitarist Stephen Carpenter, during collaboration with Dan, Deftones seemed to be pursuing the "more technical", math metal-based elements of the band's sound. After some deliberation, however, Moreno and drummer Abe Cunningham successfully pushed for working with producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss) and engineer Brian Virtue.
Deftones then took a short break before planning a month-long tour with Dredg and C-Minus to road-test some material starting in San Francisco, California, and ending in Hartford, Connecticut, near where Ezrin's studio was located. Recording of the album began in November 2004. During the sessions, tensions mounted within the band and between singer Moreno and producer Ezrin. Moreno eventually jumped ship to continue work on his side project Team Sleep while the rest of the band continued recording. The Ezrin sessions concluded before Christmas and the band relocated back to their home base in Sacramento to take a break.
In early 2005, Deftones started tweaking the Ezrin material with Virtue at their studio The Spot, writing several new songs in the process. Moreno decided to take a break from recording in the spring to tour with Team Sleep, who were also releasing their long-awaited debut album. Moreno claimed that this was good for him, as he was somewhat unable to focus on the recording sessions due to his speed and alcohol addictions, as well as the dissolution of his longtime marriage to wife Celeste.
The rest of the band, while anxious to finish the album, decided it would be best to take a break from music. During the hiatus, Deftones released a 10-year anniversary CD/DVD, titled B-Sides & Rarities, on October 4, 2005. It included one of the songs from the Virtue sessions, a cover of "Wax and Wane" by Cocteau Twins. In late 2005, Moreno met with Date to help record vocals for some of the remaining tracks. The band also managed to quickly record a cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" for Amnesty International as well as an iTunes exclusive cover of the Cars' "Drive".
Continuation on production
In early 2006, all previously recorded vocals were scrapped and the band started working on the album again with longtime friend Shaun Lopez (of Far and the Revolution Smile) acting as producer. The album was edited by Ryan Gorman. Finally, with all recording finished in April 2006, the album was mixed by Ryan Williams.
Carpenter stated in interviews that a significant portion of the songs were based on ideas by Moreno and that "Pink Cellphone", minus Hardy's vocals, was "all Chino". In fact, Moreno plays second guitar on many of the songs, including "Hole in the Earth", "Beware", "Cherry Waves", "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start", "Xerces" and "Rivière". However, Moreno stated that "Rats!Rats!Rats!" was "all Stephen". Carpenter wrote and recorded all guitar parts on "Rapture", "Rats!Rats!Rats!" and "Kimdracula", but also played guitar and wrote guitar parts for all songs except "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start", where he played drums and Moreno played guitar. The title for the latter song was a reference to the Konami Code, a famous video game cheat code.
The writing and recording process of Saturday Night Wrist was fraught and placed strain on the relationships within the band. Moreno stated that making it was "a seriously unhealthy experience", and that it "dragged on without much direction". Following its creation, after leaving to work on Team Sleep, he stated that he "wasn't sure if [he] was going to return".
Moreno described the lyrical subject matter of some of the songs in later interviews. He explained that "Kimdracula" was part of his email address at the beginning of making the record, during his heavy drug-use phase. "Beware" was a warning to others about sex, drugs and drinking, which were the three main problems he encountered during the album's creation. A story about a witch that Moreno wrote during his drug phase was told in "Rivière". "Cherry Waves" was about testing the trust a person has in someone else. The confusion Moreno experienced when making Saturday Night Wrist was illustrated in the song "Rapture". Communication issues between the divided band, during the making of the album, were captured in "Hole in the Earth".
Moreno explained the record's title as being a reference to the nerve damage caused when an intoxicated person falls asleep on their arm. He elaborated on the title, referencing "when you're alone on Saturday nights and your only best friend is your shaking wrist".
Saturday Night Wrist was released on October 31, 2006. It was leaked on the Internet on October 13, over two weeks prior to its release. Lead single "Hole in the Earth" was sent to radio on October 16.
A collection of 16 demos from the Ezrin sessions later became available online, containing rough vocal mixes of "Cherry Waves" and "Combat", an instrumental version of what would become "Finger of Death", and several instrumentals recorded by the band without Moreno that did not make the final cut.
|The A.V. Club||B+|
|Drowned in Sound|||
Saturday Night Wrist received generally positive reviews, earning a score of 72 at Metacritic. Alternative Press gave the album a perfect score, stating "'Saturday Night Wrist' proves yet again that Deftones have a corner on the transcendental-metal market". Drowned in Sound also gave it a positive review, saying: "If you've even the slightest interest in 'heavy' music, you simply must make Saturday Night Wrist an integral part of your record collection".
The A.V. Club gave it a positive review, stating: "The album is mostly a heady, atmospheric, willfully too-difficult-for-radio wash of sound that, save for a handful of tracks, stretches out and explores Deftones' creative limits more than ever before". Similarly, Adrien Begrand of PopMatters concluded: "For the most part, Saturday Night Wrist has the Deftones improving on all fronts, whether it's Moreno's stirring vocal work or the band's improved versatility [...] The process might have been painstaking, but it appears that after all that work, the band is closer to a fully-realized sound than ever before."
Another positive review came from AllMusic, which said that "these songs, as diverse as they are, are utterly disciplined sonically. They have all the tension and dynamic, all the immediacy of yore, but the mix is spacious, and Chino Moreno's vocals soar above it". A less enthusiastic, although positive, review came from Rolling Stone's Christian Hoard, who compared the band's "space-rock overlays" with Radiohead, but pointed out that "The songwriting never quite comes together, but this is a metal record that gets by as much on sonic tricks as monster riffs". Hoard nonetheless noted that the album was "viscerally shaking" and "artfully alluring," noting that "it's as dark as the Deftones have ever gotten, with sludgy stoner-rock bumping against prog-metal chops and scorched-earth atmospherics." Spin called the album "a sideways step in the right direction".
PopMatters also noted that the band delved deep into shoegaze on the song "Cherry Waves". In 2016, Jonathan Dick of NPR Music retrospectively described the album as containing "math metal tendencies". The same year, Consequence of Sound placed the album's post-rock-influenced instrumental track, "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start", at No. 15 in their list "The Top 20 Deftones Songs", describing the song as a "jazzy instrumental [that] ebbs and flows unlike anything else the band’s ever produced, a credit to the song’s bizarre instrumentation". PopMatters had also previously praised "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start" as proof of Deftones' musical versatility.
All songs written by Deftones except where noted. "Pink Cellphone" is 3:54 on the clean album version.
|1.||"Hole in the Earth"||4:13|
|5.||"Mein" (featuring Serj Tankian)||Deftones, Serj Tankian, Shaun Lopez||4:01|
|9.||"Pink Cellphone" (featuring Annie Hardy)||Deftones, Annie Hardy||5:04|
|13.||"Drive" (featuring Shaun Lopez)||Ric Ocasek||4:50|
- Chino Moreno − lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Stephen Carpenter − lead guitar, drums on "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start", keyboard on "Beware", bass on "Xerces"
- Chi Cheng − bass, backing vocals
- Frank Delgado − keyboards
- Abe Cunningham − drums
- Produced by Bob Ezrin and Deftones
- Vocals produced and additional production by Shaun Lopez
- Recorded and engineered by Brian Virtue and Brian Humphrey
- Drums on "Beware" recorded by Joe Johnston
- Assisted by Robert "Flossy" Cheek at The Spot, Sacramento, and The Hangar, Sacramento
- Pro Tools engineer: Ryan Gorman
- Recorded at the Carriage House, Stamford, Connecticut; The Spot, Sacramento; The Airport, Burbank, California; The Hangar, Sacramento; Morning View House, Malibu, California
- Mixed by Ryan Williams
- Mixed at Pulse Recordings, Los Angeles, California and Westlake Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California
- Assistant mix engineer at Westlake Recording Studios: Brian Warwick
- Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk, New York, NY
- Creative direction and design: Frank Maddocks
- Photography by Lego
- Images from the motion picture Roxanna courtesy of Retro-Seduction Cinema
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From the trip-hop nuances of its self-titled album in 2003 to the bleak math metal tendencies of 2006's Saturday Night Wrist to the goth-rock tinged shoegaze of 2010's Diamond Eyes to the prog-rock flirting of 2012's Koi No Yokan, Deftones' catalogue reads like a case study in how a band can translate influences into a sound that's definitively their own.
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