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AFI - Crash Love (Cover Artwork)

AFI

AFI: Crash LoveCrash Love (2009)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: american_666_jesusamerican_666_jesus
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Following the massively disappointing Decemberunderground, AFI has upped the ante with Crash Love. Their eighth full length and third major label release shows real progression from a band many had dismissed years ago. I have to admit to being one of those who had lost an enormous amount of respect .
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Following the massively disappointing Decemberunderground, AFI has upped the ante with Crash Love. Their eighth full length and third major label release shows real progression from a band many had dismissed years ago. I have to admit to being one of those who had lost an enormous amount of respect for the band when the aforementioned album came out. The first single, "Miss Murder" was a strange blend of pop and nü-screamo that just did not suit what AFI had produced up to that point. The rest of the album continued to let me down with only a few tracks that could pass as decent. With very low expectations for this album fueled by a terrible title and even worse cover art, I was weary going in. I wasn't sure how I felt about the first single, "Medicate." It had a great opening riff, but I was turned off by the production levels and overall poppy feeling of the track. The solo at the end won it some points, but I was still on the fence. As the rest of the tracks played through, however, I found myself being pleasantly surprised by AFI's latest effort.

To say that AFI has returned to form is misleading. The music they made on their Nitro years is dead and gone. The high production levels still remain. Davey Havok's vocals are crystal clear and the instruments come through at very professionally mixed levels. There is no doubt that this is a mainstream rock record to the core, but it is a good one. AFI has taken the style they developed with Decemberunderground and Sing the Sorrow and combined it into something that really works for where the band is now. The songs are alive and vibrant, while at the same time maintaining the dark overtones that AFI is so well known for. This is their take on what they feel a mainstream rock album should be and it works well.

The album opens with "The Torch Song" and contains epic guitar riffs and a numerous membered choir for the chorus. But the choir shows up again in the next track, "Beautiful Thieves," and I was a little worried by this at first. Had AFI taken their success with the major labels and attempted to make themselves even bigger than before? No. The weird effects and computer enhancements that plagued Decemberunderground are almost completely gone. The band has gone back to relying on the greatness of their musicality to make this album.

Jade Puget highlights his ability as a lead guitarist as he shreds the hell out of his axe on songs like "Medicate" and "Sacrilege." The bar chords and manipulated power chords that he is known for show up in spades on Crash Love and have never sounded better. I was a little bummed that Hunter Burgan's bass isn't brought as far forward as it has been in previous efforts. That just seems to be the way that most major label efforts come across: that the bass is just an underutilized instrument. Adam Carson's drums, meanwhile, are nothing short of the greatness you have to come to expect from the band. They do just what they should: highlight necessary sections without overpowering the leads. It was interesting to find that Davey's growl that had shown up on the previous two albums is gone. I thought it was a great advancement in his vocal range when I first heard "This Celluloid Dream" years ago. I don't know where they would fit in on this album, but it's still a shame to not hear it all.

The songs are progressive and new, but still contain that feeling AFI has ingrained in their listeners. Songs like, "Sacrilege," "Cold Hands," "Okay, I Feel Better Now" and "Medicate" bring back memories of Sing the Sorrow AFI. After the huge pull-away from anything punk with Decemberunderground, these tracks are refreshing to hear. There are some slower songs mixed in to balance out the mix, "End Transmission" and "Darling, I Want to Destroy You," and they work well together with heavier bits.

My biggest gripe about this album is the song, "I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here," which the band opened their doors to a group of fans to come and sing gang vocals on. While this seems like a generous offering from the band, the result is less than spectacular. Having seen the video of the kids recording, all I could see was bored looks from people who had no experience doing recording. That sense of boredom comes through on the recording. Their collaborative effort clashes so hard against the well-tuned and professional pipes of Davey Havok. In addition, the mixing is poorly done and is a huge contrast. This is more of an observation than a complaint, but this is the first album since Very Proud of Ya not to contain an introductory song. I was surprised by this. They have been a staple of so many albums and usually serve as a great way to set the mood of the album. It was just a shame that they didn't do one this time around.

Overall, Crash Love is a great success in my eyes. AFI has written material that is completely unique to this album. That is not an easy thing for a band to do at this stage in their career. The best part of it all is that these songs are good. They don't resonate with me as much as their material from their Nitro years, but they have earned their place. AFI has taken every album as an opportunity to discover something new. Some fans liked Decemberunderground; I did not. I'm glad that AFI has come back and done something so much better this time around. I doubt that Crash Love will win back many who turned away from AFI when Sing the Sorrow came out. Those that are fortunate enough to give this album a chance will be glad that they did.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
AFI - The Art Of DrowningAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAFI - Black Sails In The SunsetThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundAFI - Sing The SorrowAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAlkaline Trio - Good MourningChuck Ragan - Gold CountryNOFX - The Decline

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
im_not_on_google91 (April 12, 2010)

i think this cd isnt afi well it is in the fact that their all the same menbers but their older shit its so much better i respect that they do what they want with their music and i know it will never happen but i wish they would go back to the old days

Chaosweaver144 (March 25, 2010)

There's nothing interesting about this album besides deluxe tracks like Fainting Spells. Of course, that song is from DU sessions, so that's not much said there about Crash Love, is it? From what I can tell, Jade was feeling quite uninspired. I will always respect AFI though, even through this.

fallenangel (December 8, 2009)

you guys are seriously wroung about this album

blackhawk32 (November 6, 2009)

I'm actually surprised that this album has such a decent rating on here...I can only pick out like 2 or 3 good songs, definitely not Medicate though. I think my favorite would be Sacrilege, seems to be the only song that vaguely resembles a punk rock song, correct me if I'm wrong.

nocigar (October 6, 2009)

resembles the shit i just took.

eatdogs (October 6, 2009)

hang it up afi...

xshoutoutx (October 6, 2009)

damagdsole...

though I may agree with the core of your argument [afi is stupid], I would just like to know how the fuck can you listen to Propagandhi and still use vapid homophobic slurs like "faggot"? You, my friend are an IDIOT!

damagdsole (October 4, 2009)

also, any/all post-nitro AFI sucks dick and anyone who things its good is a faggot. period.

damagdsole (October 4, 2009)

""How many indie/punk bands have signed only to return to the underground with their tails between their legs?"
--
Suicide Machines (in SPAdes too)""

this is a joke right? SM's first (and undoubtedly best) album was on a major

wyzo (October 4, 2009)

I think the reviewer comes off well in terms of intention and doesn't commit any grievous tone or grammar problems. He doesn't seem excessively annoying, and doesn't try to do any M. Night Shyamalamamlanaman type review 'twists'.

That being said, my only gripe is the random or interchangeableness of the majority of the review. The length of the review is deceptive as he says the same basic thing in every paragraph. I have an even more vague idea of this record than when I started reading.

While I parted with AFI after they parted with nitro, I still thought the last record was much better than the abominable sing the sorrow and I liked the single if nothing else. But for those who may still be into them, the review could have informed more.

Now to download it and listen to the first 30 seconds of each song before cynically deleting it.

-w

WesG (October 4, 2009)

this album while being nothing new, is well done and solid. much more consistent than DU. i was very apprehensive after that album and i've been an AFI fan for a very long time. i'm glad blaqk audio got most of the electronic elements out of their system and they can concentrate on more guitar oriented music which is where they excel (even though Jade fucks up a lot live).

kram1234 (October 4, 2009)

i want a mohawk but mom wont let me have one

Sliced-T (October 4, 2009)

As punk album I'd give this a 1/5. As a pop album I'd give it a 3/5. The arrangements sound pretty great on some songs, others are complete duds and the lyrics are as awful as ever. I'd say it is better than December Underground, but unless you're a 14 year old girl, I can't see this album having much staying power.

fuckin_ay (October 4, 2009)

horrible review.

xshoutoutx (October 4, 2009)

this band is such a fucking joke it makes me nauseous!!!

fallingupwards84 (October 4, 2009)

Hah, the reviewer is trying to convince himself so much and is straining so hard to justify his 4 star score. Face it, the album sucks (and this is coming from someone who enjoyed Decemberunderground)

JayTee (October 4, 2009)

"How many indie/punk bands have signed only to return to the underground with their tails between their legs?"
--
Suicide Machines (in SPAdes too)

johnnydanger (October 4, 2009)

he shreds the hell out of his axe....ahhahahahhahahahahahhaha

hooverstreet (October 3, 2009)

Rancid?

Alkaline Trio, Saves the Day, Rancid.... the list goes on and on. All great bands but you gotta play the game if you're gonna succeed

seagel_inc (October 3, 2009)

this album sucked as bad as their last, a fire extinguished. and the reviewer seems like he's trying to convince himself that he likes it. unique doesn't equal good.

blip (October 3, 2009)

A Failure Inside

eatdogs (October 3, 2009)

at this moment while i type this, "swingers" is currently showing on comedy central. i love that movie.

Cos (October 3, 2009)

Gave this a spin yesterday and there were definitely more tracks that repulsed me than anything else. On the whole, it was a pretty forgettable experience. I don't know why Davey is opening songs with a Karen O-esque yelp now, but its not working for him.

telegraphrocks (October 3, 2009)

"How many indie/punk bands have signed only to return to the underground with their tails between their legs?"

Rancid?

hooverstreet (October 3, 2009)

Great album. It's about time some underground band signs to the big leagues and knows how to give people what they want. How many indie/punk bands have signed only to return to the underground with their tails between their legs?

sundowning10 (October 3, 2009)

this review is a joke right????

whoostin (October 3, 2009)

Very weak record. Too many high pitcher "Ho's" on here and not enough balls. The guitar player is far from being amazing, but I think the drummer can tear it up when he wants to ( I guess not on this album)

Scarysmurf (October 3, 2009)

Nothing great, but nothing horrible. Ill listen to to it for a while and then forget about it.

telegraphrocks (October 3, 2009)

"I'm still giving it some stars because the b-sides are amazing."

I bought the real copy on Tuesday, but just got the regular edition because I couldn't see justification doubling the price ($10 for regular, $20 for deluxe with just 4 bonus tracks), so I downloaded the bonus songs, and, yes... those are pretty good.

telegraphrocks (October 3, 2009)

This album flowed nicely, but always kept on the same level, never really getting out of the "mediocre" level. I was hoping for ONE loud and fast song, but the closest to that seemed to be "I'm Trying Very Hard To Be Here" (title?).

I like new AFI just as much as old AFI (in fact, my rankings teeter back and forth: 1- Sing The Sorrow, 2- Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes, 3- Decemberunderground, etc.), but this is probably my least favorite release from them... it's not even a bad album, it's just "there"... nothing really memorable.

Side note: horrible artwork.

R3vengeTherapy (October 3, 2009)

Well, this is split right down the middle, which is what I expected. I've listened a few times, and I liked it.

To everyone with sand in their vagina's about this record: deal with it. This is their fucking EIGHTH LP for christ sakes. How many bands last that long? Not many. Would you rather have heard this band devolve into Pennywise, or to some extent even Bad Religion? Bands playing punk generally have about 6 really good albums in them, max (and you've gotta be reeaaal good, because most bands are lucky to do 1 or 2 really good albums). That doesn't go for everyone of course, but I'd say it's generally true.

This band has always tried to do something different, and they may have strayed quite a bit in our eyes, but in reality, they haven't. Get back to me when they make their first hip hop album, their first goth-country album, or their first soul album and then I'll concede.

mikexdude (October 3, 2009)

My man,

Personally, I wouldn't consider it any thing on here a great AFI song because I have high standards for them, but in its own way it's an awesome song. I was a pre-teen punx when STS came out, so naturally, I loved it and still do.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (October 3, 2009)

This makes me feel really, really old.

"Sacrilege" is now what's considered to be a great AFI song? Back when I was 18 AFI dropped Sing The Sorrow and that song sounds like nothing more than a b-side from that record... And loads of people on here hated that record.

Quicksand (October 3, 2009)

While I didn't particularly like AFI's last few releases, this is the first time one has just straight up made me annoyed while listening to it.

JayTee (October 3, 2009)

-Album is definitely a solid 8. I'm quite addicted.
-"Too Late For Gods" should've made the album because it's ridiculously good.
-"I'm Trying Very Hard To Be Here" is a decent song and doesn't stand out from the rest as being bad. The only reason some of you nerds think so is because you bothered watching those dumb videos of those Despair kids singing. It's your fault.
-Davey's Decemberunderground throat-screamo-growls are gone? Good fucking riddance.
-Heathers.
-They look like passably normal people again. Admit it. It's less embarrassing to you the listener.
-Bands have been ripping off the "opening track" bit more and more ever since AFI became known for it. Glad to see they got ballsy and dropped it.
-"Sacrilege" is even cooler than it should already be because it's about atheism, and I didn't have to find the lyrics on a message board and solve some kind of gothic riddle, I just heard it and took it in.
-Davey talks about FEAR on that iTunes LP thing, Adam talks about Thrasher, and some other references here and there. Cool that punk rock discussion is back on the menu for them and they're not shrouding it in the mystery of their goal of genre-androgyny or whatever.
-I don't care how fast your favorite stupid metal guitar player types on his solo typewriter and jerks off out of your speakers. Jade Puget should be in some kind of top talent list of contemporary guitar players for being that atmospheric and organic while still making memorable melodies that come close, but don't ever cross into prog-rock snobbery.
-All in all, I'm cool being an AFI fan again.
-Taco.

deadpan (October 3, 2009)

Veronica Sawyer Smokes is one of the stupidest things to happen ever.

I dunno, I gave up listening to a stream of this about 4 or 5 tracks in, partly because the internet kept cutting out, partly because it was garbage. I won't give it a score, or offer a definitive opinion other than saying I really have no interest in hearing the rest of this record if it sounds like the generic radio rock of what I've heard so far.

and as an aside, I'm really not happy with how this band is manipulating its fans to eke out even more (arguably undue) adulation from a rabidly devoted fan base.

SouthernLovin (October 3, 2009)

A solid pop album. Lots of decent riffs and hooks in this album, and was much better than I expected. Different, in a way, than their previous major label albums. A bit less goth, a bit more glam rock.

Different, but good.

cloudkicker (October 3, 2009)

While I think the record is a few steps better than Decemberunderground, it's really the b sides/demos on the deluxe edition that did it for me. Don't know if anyone else here purchased (or downloaded) the extra songs, but it's a huge bummer that "I've got the knife" or "Too late for Gods" isn't on the record because those songs are fucking amazing - sort of how "synesthesia" surpassed the rest of STS. The itunes interactive LP also has the random Davey video, where he sing's FEAR's praises, and as left field as that is, that totally made my day. Hopefully he's turning kids on to them.

mikexdude (October 3, 2009)

Oh, also, Adam completely OWNS this release. He has never played drums better than on here. He plays more aggressive punk/hardcore-tinged beats than anything else on Crash Love. Seriously, it's so fucking heavy considering the sassiness that is being played over top of it.

mikexdude (October 3, 2009)

Fuck you for taking what I was going to review! Just kidding, you gave it the same score I would have. The only real downside to this is how Davey went from being extremely dynamic and versatile to absolutely zero variety on crash love. Oh well. "Sacrilege" owns so fucking hard.

And to the guy who analyzed this review a few comments down: Grow up.

hubitcherkokov (October 3, 2009)

I haven't warmed up to this as quickly as I did Sing The Sorrow and Decemberunderground, but I'm getting there. Most songs seem to follow a quiet verse/loud chorus formula, but, again, I need to listen to it more.

mielder (October 3, 2009)

This may not sound like previous AFI albums, but I still like it. It's not so bad when a band tries different sounds. It would get boring if they kept putting out albums that sound exactly alike. As far as music goes, this is a good album. As far as classic AFI goes, it's not that great. But I like the direction they are taking...

defianceohioequalslove (October 3, 2009)

This album is fucking misery. I really gave this cd a shot, since I remember reading an interview on here where they said some things that actually gave me hope for this album.

Well that hope crashed harder than TWA Flight Fucking 800.

StandAlone (October 3, 2009)

I have been an AFI fan for a long time, this album has been the most disappointing. While there are a few songs that are ok, nothing really stands out as more than just mediocre. I do agree that Jade Puget is an amazing guitar player... but the intensity is missing on this album. I would give anything to hear new songs by AFI with the intensity of "The Prayer Position", "Malleus Maleficarum" or anything off of "Very Proud Of Ya". Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like that will happen.

thepopeofchili-town (October 3, 2009)

It's a good record. Not great, but good, and that's more than I expected.

danperrone (October 3, 2009)

fuck. this is some of the worst music i've ever heard. what's with davey's sexual groaning in half of the songs? and who was fucking the art director in the ass while he was drawing out that album cover?

tom_Delonge (October 2, 2009)

It's a circular narrative in many ways where it kind of sums up the human race in a time capsule.

SydBarrett420 (October 2, 2009)

Four stars really?

You are either a huge fanboy or a fuckin crackhead who juiced up before writing this review.

millslane (October 2, 2009)

a step in the right direction. pretty solid songwriting.

HB_Dad (October 2, 2009)

Only fanboys appreciate this album... at least they have made themselves appreciate it. They could start singing Jonas Brothers tracks (actually, they kind of have now) and a lot of you self-diluded fanboys would still jizz yourselves. This album SUCKS, face it! AFI is dead a nd gone and is never coming back!

I will now spin "Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes" and appreciate the time AFI was at their peak...

lifebystereo (October 2, 2009)

Wow. I expected a much more reasonable review from Punknews.

"AFI has taken the style they developed with Decemberunderground and Sing the Sorrow and combined it into something that really works for where the band is now." No, no, no, no. There is nothing aurally inherent to AFI about this record at all (except for ripping off past things they've done as well as a lot of elements of modern rock in general), as all the life has been produced out of it.

"The songs are alive and vibrant." Compared to what, Nickelback?

"The band has gone back to relying on the greatness of their musicality to make this album." What are you talking about? No, seriously? I'm not someone to hate just because a band gets bigger, but this album is so generic for AFI it hurts.

"Jade Puget highlights his ability as a lead guitarist as he shreds the hell out of his axe on songs like 'Medicate.'" I'm now convinced that this review is a joke. A generic solo does not an amazing shredder make.

"The bar chords and manipulated power chords that he is known for show up in spades on Crash Love and have never sounded better. " Uh, what? How can you have heard virtually anything AFI have ever put out previous to Crash Love and hold this thought?

"I was a little bummed that Hunter Burgan’s bass isn't brought as far forward as it has been in previous efforts. " But just a little, right? I mean, it's just the bassist. Not like he's been an integral part of why many AFI songs have been good.

"Those that are fortunate enough to give this album a chance will be glad that they did." Incorrect. The only other people I've heard raving about it are Davey-obsessed 14 year olds (hey, understandable, I was one once too) and people who just refuse to be anything but optimistic about AFI.

I'm still giving it some stars because the b-sides are amazing.

red_eye_inc (October 2, 2009)

I like this record, and I really like the guitar player. He's got a very distinct style that I think really serves the band well.

ReducerSF (October 2, 2009)

Excelent review, and yeah... a surprisingly solid record from AFI.

skaboom (October 2, 2009)

This review is spot-on. I also applaud the band for abandoning that awful screamo direction they took on Decemberunderground, even though it arguably gave them a much larger fanbase than anything prior.

HeresLookinAtYou (October 2, 2009)

Love everything they put out with the exception of DU. From what I've been hearing this is definitely worth a listen.

miniblindbandit (October 2, 2009)

bruce willis is keyser soze

crashtester (October 2, 2009)

I think decemberunderground is a way better record than this thing, Crash love has but just a few jems on it (song 3 being one of the best of AFI's career for sure) but it gets really boring as soon as Medicate comes along(horrible song, the melody when he says "its the perfect crime" or whatever makes me cringe. The gang vocals on the whole record are weak as hell not just the stupid and god awful Despair Faction song. Maybe they were going for toned down gang vocals but that''s just not AFI to me.

Dante3000 (October 2, 2009)

They say the devil's greatest feat was convincing the world he doesn't exist. This album may have topped that.
-Dante

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