Meaning of Cherry Waves by Deftones & The Story Behind

Cherry Waves is the fourth song from the fifth album Saturday Night Wrist by American alternative metal band Deftones, released on October 31, 2006. This is the Californians’ first album without their signature producer Terry Date, who has been with the band since the release of their debut album, and the last to feature bassist Chi Cheng. The band originally planned to release Cherry Waves as a single, but ended up opting for Hole in the Earth and Mein.

The writing and recording of the song – as well as the entire album – was fraught with great personal and creative disagreements in the group, primarily due to the drug addiction of frontman Chino Moreno and his divorce process that took place against its backdrop.

Of course, all this could not but affect the lyrics and mood of the album – Deftones here draw much more depressing, compared to previous works, musical landscapes. Ironically, in this sense, Cherry Waves (along with Beware, chronologically preceding it) acts as a kind of balance, lyrically and musically giving the listener a kind of emotional respite between the more explosive and impetuous action movies Rapture and Mein.

Speaking about the song itself, Chino Moreno commented on its meaning in an interview with the metal magazine Kerrang in 2006:  This story is about being in the open ocean, you are next to someone who tells you – If you suddenly began to sink under these waves, I would dive after you. But would you do the same for me?” Therefore, this song is about testing the trust that a person has in someone very significant and special for him; and further, in the context of the creation and recording of this album – all those accompanying problems and troubles – this song takes on an even greater meaning, hidden for the band members.

In general, Deftones – or rather, the author of most of the group’s lyrics, Chino – from the very beginning of their career, accustomed their fans to charade songs, in which individual phrases carry their own meanings, not necessarily forming a single monolithic canvas. Similar emotional symbolic puzzles are also present in Cherry Waves – but, according to some fans, this song seems to be much more integral in its semantic message. “Cherry waves” – as a kind of metaphor for the blood in the ocean. On the one hand, throughout the song, Chino constantly alludes to death.

But on the other hand, cherry and cherry blossom also symbolize warmth, tenderness and love. Moreno contrasts love and death in the song, dressing them in the form of these same “cherry waves”. The song begins as a sonic imitation of the vast ocean, causing anxiety or even fear of its vastness and the unknown. Then Chino’s vocals enter, soothing, hypnotizing and even somewhat detached – in order to dive to the chorus to a completely unprecedented emotional depth; while the music, through the efforts of the rest of the band, rolls over the listener like restless, all-crushing waves in a storm.

The fan interpretation of the meaning of the song is also interesting, in which Chino’s painful breakup with his then wife Celeste comes to the fore. So, one user from the site Songmeanings suggested that the frontman going through all the stages of divorce while writing the album at the same time began a new relationship with a girl named Riza, which means “laughter” in Spanish. Laughter can also be heard in the background at the end of Cherry Waves. In this sense, it can be assumed that the one addressed in the song by the protagonist is none other than his new life partner Riza. But whether this is true or not can be verified only by personally asking the author of this monumental and melancholy song.

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