There is something unbelievably haunting about “digital bath” by Deftones and if you listen closely you can hear a song dripping with a disturbed slice of yearning wrapped in just as much fact as fiction. The song itself is framed with question marks and although the lyrics are of the “murder ballad” shtick the emotional vocal melody and its delivery is clearly rooted in personal experience. The way in which Chino sings this song over others in his discography shows just how special this song potentially is to him.
One aspect of this song that I love is how there is almost two emotional dialogues happening during the song, the first being the narrative of the lyrics and the second being his emotional delivery. The voice he uses to communicate the lyrics is almost distancing itself from the actual words and delving deep into a hidden fragile romance in order to give the murderous passages some kind of spooky swoon, never really committing to the grim evil acts outlined in the lyrics and somehow also offering a proposal of love through the chaos of it all. These two dialogues add a dimension of mystery never really giving you the listener time to understand if this is a song of evil or a song of joy. How you interrupt “digital bath” really depends on your reason for connecting to it, the song potentially highlights both emotions for you but one thing that is central to the communication of the song is its deep sense of yearning.
The cool relaxed breeze that introduces the song soon explodes into all kinds of divine blues as you go racing away inside the sway of the hypnotic late night feel of it all. This is after all a song to be consumed late at night when your mind is fresh with new and old romance along with the fickle fusion of extreme loneliness and despair. If only you could somehow bottle the feeling you get from “digital bath” and make it a digestible taste for him or her to consume in order to understand just what they do for you and how they get stuck deep inside your skull and heart.
There is a power to a piece of communication like “digital bath” and the way it places a frame around every inch of your romantic feelings towards another human being. The song has the capacity to be the perfect sound when you first find yourself in the humble stages of a brand new crush whilst also being the parachute to planet earth when you somehow make a physical connection to that human being. While “digital bath” is capable of being the sound of joy it can quickly also become the soundtrack to your disconnection or post-relationship embarrassment. This is when the literal meaning traced out in the lyrics feels all too real in your hour of hurt.
The time when “digital bath” feels most relevant and most comfortable as a reflective mirror to your emotions is in that desperate moment in time when you long and yearn so badly for someone that just reading their name on a piece of paper or a computer screen sparks an ache a million years deep. This is the kind of ache that remains anonymous and locked in the sway of an unpublished secret. This human being will never know just how much you yearned for them and although this longing remains hidden behind the wall of your mind you can’t help but wonder as to why this ache exists to begin with. How is it possible for someone to inspire such emotion in you that you almost feel embarrassed at how often you find yourself embraced with a silent sigh at the knowledge that it will never materialise into anything beyond a fantasy. If only this human being could be infected with the emotion being showcased in “digital bath” and somehow through this inheritance get closer to understanding just how much silent desire you have for them.
Sometimes it isn’t the idea of being rejected by this human being that hurts it is the idea of having to lose the image of their face as you close your eyes and listen to a song like “digital bath” in the comfort of your isolated bedroom. One of the joys of isolated disconnection via your headphones with good music is to float and bathe in this imaginary world where their face provides a beautiful mix of hope and hurt. When this is lost and you are left with rage that requires a different kind of headphone experience that lacks the beauty of that original ache.
That is the power of “digital bath” and of every Deftones song and since I first heard the song in the year 2000 I’ve had many faces haunt my mind while the drama of this song plays out. I started using this song as a vehicle for my many silent love affairs through the years, it has so many of my secrets buried deep within it. The song is like a graveyard of all of the aches I’ve indulged in over the past thirteen years with the song still having the capacity to take me back to any year and any face since 2000 attaching that feeling of that human being directly back into my skull and heart. The sound of “digital bath” becomes stronger than any photograph at igniting my memory of just how many human beings I’ve felt an unrequited love for.
It will never matter if “digital bath” does the same for you because we all have our own song that does to us what I’ve mentioned above. I still feel like sometimes that just having this human being you secretly love listen to the song is not enough, I want them to not only hear it I want them to experience what it does to me.
Until I truly find someone to love a song like “digital bath” will remain an important artefact for helping me sink into the beauty of her face.
By: Dan Newton xo
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