At the end of March 2003 50 Cent’s Get rich or die sitting on top billboard album chart for the fourth week Below are three more recent chart-toppers to top the throne: Norah Jones. come live with meR. Kelly chocolate factoryand the Dixie Chicks’ houseAnd at number 5 was a surprise hit from a band that had never been seen in the segment before. AFIwith the launch of their main label singing sad songsThe album was released on March 11, following the success of lead single “Girl’s Not Grey” on rock radio. The VMA Awards showcased the band and frontman wearing Davey Havok eyeliner, whose aesthetic would pit AFI against burgeoning bands The Used and My Chemical Romance when the mainstream media began to confuse the term “controversial”. “Goth” and “Emo” but those comparisons are surface level and AFI is already a seasoned vet compared to most of the bands they compare. singing sad songs It introduced a lot of people to AFI, but it was an album they had been working on for over a decade.
AFI was formed in 1991 in Ukiah, California when members were in their teens. AFI started out as a bad boy band influenced by West Coast hardcore and skate punk. Vocalist Davey, Mark. Stopholese on guitar, Geoff Kresge on bass and Adam Carson on drums. DorkParting ways with Loose Change in 1993, whose guitarist was a gifted youngster named Jade Puget, AFI eventually moved to Berkeley, where they began to attract the likes of Tim Armstrong and Brett Reed of Rancid. together they produced AFI’s 1995 debut album. Always answer and stay up to date.The Offspring’s Dexter Holland and Greg K were also interested. Signed to Nitro Records, which they released in 1996. very proud of grandmaThe album featured some work from their friend Jade. It’s the band’s first really great album, a fast, furious West Coast hardcore that proves that AFI is more than just a product of their early influences after Geoff Kresge’s tour in support of the album parted ways. with the band, and his role was replaced by Hunter Burgan of the short-lived band The Force, which debuted with AFI in 1997. shut up and open eyesOnce again backed by Jade, the album began to push AFI in a darker and heavier direction, and songs like “A Single Second” found themselves more refined as well. AFI’s influence was expanding. wide And they made this especially clear on their 1998 EP. internal firePublished on Adeline Records, co-founded by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong last year, this EP features covers of horror punk pioneers The Misfits and post-punk pioneers The Cure. Both of them will hugely inform the direction of AFI. Keep going.
after the release of internal fireJade has officially replaced guitarist Markus Stopholese. This made the four-piece lineup that AFI still exists today. AFI debuted 1999 with Jade. black sailboat in the sunsetIt was an important milestone for the band. The band’s interest in the hardcore genre. Horror punk, gothic, metal and pop all come together. black sailDavey has expanded his vocal range from aggressive screams to clean vocals. Jade brings a more complex style of guitar work to the band. which pushes them beyond their simple punk roots. Hunter and Adam create a uniquely strong rhythm section. And the lineup’s knack for shouting backing vocals quickly became a hallmark of AFI’s sound. The album wasn’t without its upbeat punk horror. But there were also more lullaby songs and ballads, suggesting that AFI was about to become more than just a punk band the following year. the art of drowning doubling It’s like the other side of black sail‘ Medal with some of the best punk songs of AFI’s career, but with a number of songs exploring slower tempo and melodic hooks. One of those songs, “The Days of the Phoenix”, became a masterpiece for AFI. The album became the first AFI album to enter. billboard 200landing at number 174
the art of drowning It will be AFI’s last show for Nitro Records, and with the momentum built, mixed with the growing interest in punk music from major labels, AFI signed a deal with DreamWorks, the same branch that helped Jimmy. Eat World took its big break in 2001. american bleedingWith a bigger budget and bigger platform, AFI is taking full advantage of this moment. They also assembled a production dream team with Jerry Finn, who also helped lift Blink-182 from the underground. state enemaand Butch Vig, who helped to nirvana too never mind. They are the perfect two for this mission. Like Nirvana, and more directly like Blink, AFI is in a position to create full-blown pop music without abandoning its punk roots. to provide more assistance than any other producer in the world He knows how to guide a band to music that can compete with the world’s most popular artists and also stir up pitfalls. With a solid background in hardcore and an open mind to many other musical styles, AFI was destined to be the next band to do so.
when singing sad songs Finally landing on March 11, 2003, nothing — not even the utterly catchy “Day of the Phoenix” — prepared the world for what they were about to hear. Long, some accused them of being sold out. But selling out means compromising your honesty and AFI is doing the opposite. They spend more time on singing sad songs More than they had on any previous album, and not just the cleanest sounding and most approachable they’ve ever made. It is also the most musically diverse and experimental. You can draw parallel lines directly between singing sad songs And what Turnstile did almost two decades later too. glow; In both cases, hardcore bands became more poppy and adventurous all at once. And sounded like no other band in the process.
As far as AFI’s mainstream success, releasing “Girl’s Not Grey” as the first single was a very smart move. It’s one of AFI’s most perfect pop songs, and it’s as close as it gets. singing sad songs Coming to “Pop Punk,” it begins with a three-note drum intro that feels heart-shaking every time it’s heard. “Girl’s Not Grey” opens as a punchy chord that evokes “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Self Esteem.” Enduring music. But Jade’s signature chord voicing gives it a flavor that separates AFI from their power-hungry ancestors. And the uniqueness of the song continues in various parts where Adam’s crisp drum beats make AFI a leap apart from the usual alt-rock formula. “what happened!” was charged with the most sugar-coated deliveries that Davey had given up up to that point. From his friendly tone and production to the truly irresistible hook, “Girl’s Not Grey” was an obvious hit. And it’s almost impossible to believe that this is the same band that created it. the art of drowning three years ago but at the same time It was a natural progression in many ways and there were many other moments. singing sad songs that pushes AFI in different directions.
The album’s second single and first, “The Leave Song Pt. II,” has Davey leaping seamlessly between singing and screaming. While Jade weaves a goth-punk lead guitar. How the Sing/Screech compares to all the pop-skritos that are playing at the moment. And the song’s raucous-filled music video may be the first time many young AFI fans have seen the pitfalls. The album’s catchy, aggressive push and pull comes through perfectly on “Bleed Black,” a track that cuts between metal riffs, clean guitars, intense screams. and pop hooks “Dancing Through Sunday” is a fast-paced, scream-focused song. And it can be portrayed as gothic-pop choruses and hair metal solos without taking your eyes off of AFI’s hardcore roots. industrial like they never had before. Combining elements of hardcore punk, gothic rock, and synthesizer-based EBM, “This Celluloid Dream” is a deep, addictive track that may be the only pop punk song ever recorded. It could be compared to “Girl’s Not Grey” on the radio if given the chance. black sail and the art of drowning To a new level, “Song Gone” is a song. real The ballad finds Davey singing softly on clear guitars and without drums, and it’s still one of the purest things they’ve ever done. In the hidden tracks of the album They brought the piano String arrangements and monologues before the final heavy rock climax. singing sad songs It’s one of those albums that even if you’ve heard all of the singles of this album. But still found a lot of ways to surprise you. Mastered sequences have a clear beginning, middle and end. with no adrift in between As songwriters, AFI is fully committed to their careers. All the bonus tracks and b-sides are just as good. with other albums But they reduced it to 12 songs an hour. An almost flawless long journey
for many singing sad songs It’s a direct gateway to many worlds if you discovered AFI when this album became an unlikely hit. You’ll immediately have an incredible welcome from the incredible value back catalogue, 20 years after launch. It’s not uncommon to see an AFI shirt or hear a lot about AFI at hardcore underground shows or goth nights. And that’s because a lot of people found those genres through this album too. It influenced countless bands immediately after its release and remains so today. AFI has never made an album like this since. And no other band actually does that. And it’s not that other bands haven’t tried it yet. singing sad songs It’s still an anomaly in modern rock music – it’s hard to think of any other album from the past two decades that simultaneously adventures in this pop-friendly, punk roots. and of all that existed none of them sounded the same. singing sad songs.
AFI is playing singing sad songs completely for “First and Last” at LA’s The Kia Forum this Saturday (11/3/11) with Jawbreaker, Chelsea Wolfe and Choir Boy.
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