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AFI - Crash Love Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 6.5
Production 7.5
Creativity 7.25
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 76%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.92
Musicianship 8.33
Lyrics 6.25
Production 8.75
Creativity 7.17
Lasting Value 6.42
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Average: 76%
Inside AP.net

AFI - Crash Love

Reviewed by: HopeInLove (10/20/09)
AFI - Crash Love
Record Label: Interscope/Geffen
Release Date: September 29, 2009

Let me start off by saying Crash Love is not going to blow your mind, Crash Love is not going to be your favorite AFI album, and Crash Love is by no means going to redefine the music industry.

That being said, AFI is a band that has pushed boundaries, crossed genres, and tried new things on almost every one of their albums since their inception in the early '90s. Starting off as a hardcore/punk band in the East Bay area, AFI gained a devoted fan base. Although AFI has been a part of many genres of music over the years, they don't merely blend in, they push the boundaries of the genre and find a way to make it their own.

AFI made the jump to mainstream with the release of Sing The Sorrow (my personal favorite, and arguably their best release) in 2003. This album was filled with emotion conveyed through phenomenal song structure, musicianship, and beautiful yet haunting lyrics. The bands next release came in 2006 under the name Decemberunderground. This album, like the last, was received generally well by critics and fans alike. This album played off of a lot of concepts (musically and lyrically) from Sing The Sorrow, but added some techno elements. With Decemberunderground, AFI continued to push themselves to create something special.

In the years following the release of Decemberundergound, AFI remained relatively quiet. This probably due to the fact that Jade Puget, guitarist, and Davey Havok, vocalist, were kept busy with their side project Blaqk Audio. I, being a longtime fan, was left wondering when the next AFI album would come out, and for that matter in what direction the new album would take them. Would they go with a more electronic approach a la Blaqk Audio, or towards a more hardcore approach, like Kill Caustic off their previous release? All I could do was wait, and speculate.

Finally, the long awaited Crash Love was released. I popped it in the CD player and let it rip, and that it did, well, sort of. The album starts off with some eerie feedback leading into a powerful chord progression that builds up to a crescendo with a classic Havok "Oh!". Some brilliant guitar work by Puget follows, into one of the better verses on the album as Havok sings "I saw you, angels came to light your path." The melody seems to perfectly flow over the crunchy palm muted guitar played by Puget. The verse leads us to an epic chorus (there are many of these on Crash Love) with a choir of voices shouting "anything!" This is sure to be a new staple to AFI's live set.

After the first song I was very intrigued and excited at what the rest of the album had to offer. However, Crash Love just doesn't seem to know which way it wants to go. Opening with a darker rock ballad, and winding through all different genres ranging from The Cure-esque "Veronica Sawyer Smokes" to the up tempo punk song "Sacrilege." The more I listened to the album the more I began to realize that this was definitely going to be AFI's softest album to date. The whole time I was listening I was waiting to hear a scream from Havok, but sadly, never did. Havok also seemed to take a more straight forward approach lyrically. Leaving the dark obscure lyrics behind for more easily approachable ones. This was also a step backward, in my opinion. By the end of the album, I wasn't really sure what to think. I knew that this album didn't come close to blowing me away, in a way that AFI used to, but I wasn't sure of how much I would like it.

After many listens, the album began to grow on me. I found myself singing along to songs like "Darling, I Want To Destroy You," "Too Shy To Scream," and the first single "Medicate." Crash Love is full of catchy melodies that will stay in your head for days to come. It is a very poppy album for a band like AFI, and quite frankly I was very shocked at first. I only began to like the album after I listened to it as just a rock record, and not necessarily an "AFI record." This is because, quite frankly, Crash Love does not feel at all like an AFI record. Even darker songs like "Okay, I Feel Better Now" seem to somehow squeeze pop elements into them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but not quite what I wanted or expected from AFI. I also noticed that there a lot of weak songs on this album, as compared to past AFI releases. I think this is due to the fact that a lot of the choruses sound forced, or over dramatic. This is painfully evident on songs like "Cold Hands". The song has a very good flow to it and just as it reaches the chorus, it seems to lose steam, as Havok sings the cheesy line "I though you sang so tastefully, but now I see that I was wrong." Many of the songs on Crash Love almost seem to satisfy you, but in the end leave you just wanting more.

The album does have some redeeming qualities to it thanks to tracks like "Torch Song," "Medicate," "Sacrelige," and "Okay, I Feel Better Now." These tracks seem to incorporate the emotion and intensity that was once present in AFI and don't suffer from being completely covered in sugary popness.

Crash Love also contains some brilliant musicianship most notably that of guitarist Jade Puget. This is probably most evident in the song "Medicate." This song is quite literally filled with brilliant guitar work. Opening with a catchy lick and closing with an epic solo full of shredding and tapping. Puget also shines on tracks like "I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here" and "Beautiful Thieves."

Overall, Crash Love proves to be a solid album. The album contains a few amazing songs, many mediocre ones, and a few poor ones. The reason it seems that I have been giving this album a lot of criticism throughout this review is because I know that AFI is capable of much more. Crash Love merely stands in the shadow of albums like Sing The Sorrow and The Art Of Drowning like a scared little kid just wanting to be accepted by the older, cooler, more confident ones. I feel that the album is solid for a rock album, but poor for an AFI album, and that is probably the best way I could say it.

Once again, Crash Love is not going to blow your mind, Crash Love is not going to be your favorite AFI album, and Crash Love is by no means going to redefine the music industry. You have to take Crash Love for what it is, and that is a good rock album.

Track Listing 1. Torch Song
2. Beautiful Thieves
3. End Transmission
4. Too Shy to Scream
5. Veronica Sawyer Smokes
6. Okay, I Feel Better Now
7. Medicate
8. I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here
9. Sacrilege
10. Darling, I Want to Destroy You
11. Cold Hands
12. It Was Mine


Recommended If You Like AFI - Decemberunderground
 
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8
06:37 PM on 11/06/09
#2
Formatfun
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I like and agree with your review. However, I haven't gotten around to listening to it again (like I'd previously listened to DU a lot when it came out). The album didn't keep my interested enough to want to keep coming back.
07:23 PM on 11/06/09
#3
BlackpoolLights
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WRONG. I do believe Crash Love is my favorite AFI album. And I'm a diehard fan.
12:14 PM on 11/07/09
#4
HopeInLove
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WRONG. I do believe Crash Love is my favorite AFI album. And I'm a diehard fan.
No it's not.
12:50 PM on 11/07/09
#5
BlackpoolLights
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90-92%, easy.
01:11 PM on 11/07/09
#6
denissuxx
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eh, I don't like
05:53 PM on 11/07/09
#7
freefall14
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they have been lessening their sound as time goes on, i admit. DU blew my mind, Crash not so much.
07:21 AM on 07/31/10
#8
LGFUAD21
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I like and agree with your review. However, I haven't gotten around to listening to it again (like I'd previously listened to DU a lot when it came out). The album didn't keep my interested enough to want to keep coming back.

I completely agree with you, I don't dislike this album I like the whole sound they are trying to persue on medicate but it just doesn't quite hit the spot. I think my main problem is that the tempo is quite samey throughout
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