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Last Active 07-16-22 6:04 am
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Ultimate Davey Havok (AFI) Ranking

this has been in the works and I think I've got it.
Answer That and Stay Fashionable

Bottom Tier (don't listen to but there's some jams):
Yeah, I never cared much for this. Can respect the fun of shit like Mohawk and Cereal Wars but it just isn't my thing. There's riffage here (Yurf Rendenmein always comes to mind) so that's cool but it's just kinda bland as a whole.
Best track: Don't Make Me Ill
Very Proud of Ya

Believe or not, significantly better than their debut. You can just hear the tangible upgrade in songs like File 13 and Advances In Modern Technology. He Who Laughs Last and This Secret Ninja showcase some of their earliest pop sensibilities. long and I don't care much lol
Best tracks: This Secret Ninja, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
21Son of Sam
Songs from the Earth

I feel like this is missing something since it's way closer to Horror Punk era AFI than the 2 preceeding but I can never bring myself to listen consistently. It's more fun to come back to than those others but I'd be lying to you if I could name any of these tracks without looking them up.
A Fire Inside

almost forgot about this one. not much to say, 2 covers, 2 songs. 3 1/2 fucks and Overexposure could fit right on Shut Your Mouth.
Best track: 3 1/2
19Blaqk Audio
Trop d'amour

Low Tier (these are all still real good):
A lot that I really like on this but weirdly I'd say this album is less than the sum of its parts. It comes across as the most tepid full release with Davey's name on it and I feel like it doesn't fully commit to the atmosphere it's going for (The One Who Turns To Light with it's almost 5 min runtime comes close). That all being said, really love some of these
Best tracks: EDZ, Behead The Be, Dreamyhead
Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes

This is actually a really dope record. It took all that preceded and gave it an edge. Davey sounds fuckin MAD and I'm for it. It's been on my rotation more in recent years, just still not even close to as much as what's above.
Best Tracks: A Single Second, Triple Zero, Third Season

my god, I wish this was either A) shorter or B) more consistent because some of this absolutely destroys. It's good in small bursts but there just isn't enough substance here. for the last crazy thing this man will be apart of, I dig it. also no longer as sxe as i was greyshadow (still no drugs/drinking but sxe people are lamers (not all of you!) so...) finds a lot of these lyrics cringe but whatever it's badass in the mindset
Best track: Dirty Nails

I made a whole list about how much better I think this can be and I stand by that. A lot of great ideas with just poor execution which is really sad at this point in their career. Can't tell you how cool it is to hear these guys tackle tracks like Dulceria and Tied To A Tree. No Eyes is an example of modern AFI era at it's finest while Far Too near is probably the most cookie cutter (strong verses doe). Hope they get another producer in the room with Jade for the next one.
Best tracks: Escape From Los Angeles, Twisted Tongues, Caught

incredibly fun. The back half hasn't ever stuck with me as much as the first but it's all great stuff. They played a song together recently, would totally love them following up. Davey New Wave just seems so appropriate.
Best Tracks: After I Confessed, The Assailant, All of the Dead Girls
All Hallow's E.P.

Medium Tier (the greats, but there is greater):
sigh, the one that will ruffle the most feathers I think?
Great ep but i've always just kinda viewed it as a great lil EP and nothing more. Comes and goes a little too quickly despite how strong it is across the board. gets a halloween buff which is fun. I can actually leave or take the Misfits cover but the rest of these are undisputed AFI bangerz. And it really does feel like a development for the time with the more epic scale of songs like Fall Children.
Best tracks: Totalimmortal, Fall Children
AFI (The Blood Album)

Weirdly enough, this is a good homage to AFI's discog, somehow earning the self-titled name. Dark Snow/Still a Stanger feeling like descendents from the 2000s, Dumb Kids/So Beneath You with their punk roots, straight alt rockers like Snow Cats reminiscing of Crash Love (song kinda sucks most times doe), and a lot of the rest feeling like they're continuing the Burials era. Beyond that, there's still plenty of innovation with the bluesy The Wind That Carries Me Away and like wtf how'd they come up with that gritty Pink Eyes chorus. Too bad, for all the great, I'd still say the album feels a bit lacking. 14 tracks is quite a bit for the modern era but they all kinda blow by. Still, for all it lacks, the tracks I like here are some of my favorites.
Best tracks: Dark Snow, Still a Stranger, Pink Eyes, She Who Speaks The Language
12Blaqk Audio
Beneath the Black Palms

One of the more upsetting releases still finds itself pretty high up. Allow me to explain, Black Palms side A might very well be a good 4 or so places above this. That EP dropped and it gave me everything I could've wanted from Blaqk Audio: dark/goth-tinged electronica Consort feeling very pre-Material era BA, the sly midtempo 1948 sparse in composition but lush in atmosphere, and holy fuck Zipper Don't Work might be their catchiest of all time (2nd most listened to track of 2020!). the 2nd half? there's some good stuff but also some completely meh tracks like I'm Coming Over and It's Not Going Well. a significant step down from the first side and with that, you are 12 Black Palms.
Best Tracks: Consort, Zipper Don't Work, 1948
11Blaqk Audio

High Medium Tier (love these):
Ahhh Material. A bit of a grower I must say! Definitely a more dramatic change musically from the previous 2 BA (due to Jade's shift from FL to Ableton). Initially this came off as a bit lacking to me. It started my personal fear of forgettable BA closers but also, for the better (?) became the first in a line of consistent BA releases. I actually really like most of these; the epic slow burning Black at The Center, the simple yet emotionally devastating title track, their awestriking take on 2010's dance pop with Ceremonials, the list goes on. This is also one of those, came out at the right time albums for me so yeah, it's a special one on a personal level.
Best tracks: Material, Waiting To Be Told, Ceremonials, First To Love
10Blaqk Audio
Only Things We Love

despite being in the same tier, I think Only Things for the most part is a pretty substantial step ahead of Material as a whole. I've never been a huge fan of Caroline In The Clip and the closer feels so lifeless to me but other than that? in love with most of the rest of these. Some of their hugest dance bangerz with The Viles and Dark Times At The Berlin Wall complimented by some of their most beautiful Muscle and Mater, Dark Arcades, and Maker. One of the most consistently great releases of the 2010's Davey era.
Best tracks: Dark Arcades, Summer's Out of Sight, Unstained

High tier: (reallllllllllllllllly love these)
Burials, coming up on it's 10th anniversary, has been an experience for me. This was the first AFI release I was going to experience as a now dedicated fan and after the middling I Hope You Suffer, I wasn't too sure how I'd feel. but that initial opinion doesn't really matter because Burials has grown into one of my favorites of the past decade (especially as a fall album). The fact that I feel like I'm still unraveling this one makes it feel all the more special (I, former Rewind hater, now love Rewind as of this year). For as much as I rag on IHYS, it's one of the best live track you're ever going to see. It's still incredibly catchy/pop centered with 17 Crimes, A Deep Slow Panic, Heart Stops, and No Resurrection despite being marketed as something darker, but its all the better for it. Those last 3 tracks come together as one of the most epic runs in their catalog.
Best tracks: Greater Than 84, Anxious, The Face Beneath The Waves
The Missing Man

2010's AFI perfected. Coming so soon after Blood, who knew this was going to be one of their best releases period? Get Dark is a bit run of the mill, sure, but the rest of these are incredible. Trash Bat continues the punk-roots retread of Blood but perfects it, Break Angels is exemplary AFI and Back Into The Sun was their best ballad in who knows how long (glad Caught came along to accompany it!). A truly masterful release and makes me want them to continue down the EP route for future releases.
Best tracks: Break Angels, Back Into The Sun
7Blaqk Audio
Bright Black Heaven

The long awaited Cexcells follow up! There are actually so many awesome bonus tracks that are doomed to 360p youtube hell (and probs a lot more than that knowing Jade) so forgive me for including all of those in my assessment. Davey is kind of all over the place on here, experimenting with different timbres in a post-DU surgery world and it was a bit jarring at first but it doesn't ruin the sheer quality of these hooks. Bright Black Heaven strikes a great balance between these hooks and the more emotional bits. Probably the best balance of the post 2010's Davey experience. Mid tempo bangerz like Faith Healer, Let's Be Honest, and With Your Arms Around You are prime BA just doing what they do best. But the faster cuts shine just as hard, with Say Red possibly stealing the show. Interestingly enough, moodier cuts like Bliss and Ill Lit Ships functioned as singles and are easily some of the strongest here.
Best tracks: Ill Lit Ships, Say Red, Bite Your Tongue, Let's Be Honest

STS's snowbound cousin. I got roasted in the DU comments thread for acknowledging how similar the 2 are and idk, I stand by that. They're cut from the same cloth with DU probably being more reflective of the times with more electronics being at the forefront (37mm and Love Like Winter especially). It's insane knowing that this album blew up because it almost feels like it didn't when you compare it to same year The Black Parade. It feels like it did EVERYTHING right too as far as I've heard on the marketing side. but despite that DU finds a special place in the hearts of AFI fans. Maybe more singles could've helped? The Killing Lights and Summer Shudder come to mind as great choices but surely it could've been any of these. Oh well, amazing album.
Best Tracks: Affliction, The Interview, Endlessly, She Said, On The Arrow
The Art of Drowning

Perfection tier (all are 5's):
As the more melodic Black Sails, The Art of Drowning is probably the most perfect follow up this band has produced. There feels like an extra dimension here for most of these songs sonically and the tracks are more dynamic with strikingly grand bridges from songs like A Story At Three and The Despair Factor (holy hell, this one is perfect). Ballads like Morningstar and 6 to 8 and poppier cuts like The Days of The Phoenix and Ever and A Day really showcase how this band wanted to progress And none of that raw punk energy has been sacrificed (amazingly enough there was plenty to spare with the fucking blistering rage of Smile existing). Legendary album and the most accomplished of their punk era.
Best tracks: Morningstar, The Despair Factor, Smile, A Story At Three
Black Sails in the Sunset

That all being said, Black Sails is the true king of pre-STS AFI. While TAOD improved on...honestly, everything, there is just something about the songwriting here for what it is that just hits. As the life beating chants of Strength Through Wounding cultivate into the fury of Porphyria, you know this is the kind of career statement AFI has finally been able to make. High octane riffs, an army of gang vocals, and a refined Havok lay everything they've done prior to rest. Malleus Maleficarum and God Called In Sick Today are actually gargantuan in scope while No Poetic Device and The Last Kiss still echo the band's approachability. If TAOD is bright and accomplished, Black Sails is dark and raw. Whichever your preference, you can't go wrong with two of the best punk albums in the business.
Best tracks: Malleus Maleficarum, The Prayer Position, The Last Kiss, Porphyria, Exsanguination
3Blaqk Audio

STS may have broken AFI into the mainstream but little did we know a far larger pivot is what half this band had brewing in the background. I've stopped debating if it's nostalgia or not in terms of why I consider this the best BA. Sure, there's something about this being the only pre-surgery Davey that's always going to strike a stronger chord with me, but it's really just these songs. I mean, Stiff Kittens converted me from "it's rock or it sucks" to a pop appreciater (which for a middle schooler/hs freshman, is a big deal!!) with one of the greatest hooks of all time. The sugary Semiotic Love and quite frankly, epic Snuff on Digital feel utterly surreal with how elevating both the music/vocals come together. Bitter for Sweet's synth entrance is fucking massive, with some of Davey's best choruses and bridges proving to be deserving of such a drop. not perfect but 90% of this is flawless
Best tracks: Mute, Black Electric, Wake Up..., Bitter for Sweet, Snuff, Again x3,Stiff Kittens
Sing the Sorrow

idk how to talk about STS without saying what's already been said so just gonna walk down memory lane. Having Death of Seasons on repeat while playing some 2nd rate MMO, putting This Celluloid Dream on my brother's PS3, getting rejected in hs with The Great Disappointment there to accompany me, finding out this band had soft songs with The Leaving Song, hell, discovering AFI period through Girl's Not Grey in Rock Band 2, and now having flown for the first time by myself (2nd time in total) to LA to experience it in its entirety just because I love this band/album so much. there was a moment in The Great Disappointment that day that just really fucking connected with me, like it was the first time all over again. Davey/Jade appearing center venue by sound for The Leaving Song with lighters and phonelights raised high was just the level of theatrics I live for. AFI forever. STS forever.
Best tracks: This Celluloid Dream, The Great Disappointment, Death of Seasons, Bleed Black, ...bhin
Crash Love

I'm a bit burnt out from writing but nothing burns harder than my love for Crash Love so I will persist. I want to stress that for Crash Love to achieve peak AFI status, it needs all bonus tracks. 100 Words, Fainting Spells, Breathing Towers...all ESSENTIAL. From the life affirming End Transmission, to the short but sweet Veronica Sawyer Smokes. From darker tinged Sacrilege to radio friendly Medicate. From epic It Was Mine, to the smooth light hearted We've Got The Knife...Crash Love isn't special. not on paper it's not. Any band that wants to write a rock album could write a Crash Love. but...they can't. AFI isn't breaking new ground here and on the surface level, are using far less than went into the past 2. but I've never found myself so in love with a body of their work. there's something. some magic in these songs that just works. I've accepted I can't convince you that it's there but if you hear'll know. Okay, I Feel Better Now :)
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