Today is the first day that really feels like fall is here. I was woken by a mini storm raging outside and since then, the wind has been shaking the trees outside several times and heavy rain has been pounding against my windows, startling the cats and getting me in the mood for seasonal baked goods. So while a hazelnut cinnamon tea cake is baking in the oven, I’m making more good use of this melancholy mood to reflect on my personal little highlight of the year: Burials, AFI’s ninth studio album. It’s been out here for over a week now and I haven’t listened to anything else. I’ve already become close friends with this album and the songs on it and now I feel like I’m ready to put my feelings into words…somehow.
I decided to go with a track by track-recap because the songs make up one beautiful big picture but they’re also individual little worlds of feeling and they just deserve to be mentioned and discussed as such.
The Sinking Night
For some reason, every second album since Black Sails in the Sunset seems to have its own opener track. So in that sense The Sinking Night is typically AFI-esque. Yet so far it’s the only track on the album that I cannot get quite into. I enjoy it for setting the dark mood for the rest of the album but I can’t quite grasp the heavy symbolism of the lyrics just yet. I feel bad for starting this post with the one song I like least but it’s not my fault it’s the first on the album.
Favorite line: On this sinking night I see your face.
I Hope You Suffer
This was the first song I had heard months ago, when AFI suddenly reappeared in my life with a bang. And I instantly loved it. Even though by now I’ve heard it a million times and I got used to its darkness and the way Davey’s almost growling the lyrics, I still absolutely love it. But I also still find it hard to bear at times. It completely lacks any sense of hope or positivity but is really dark and you can tell that you do not want to be in the focus of that kind of anger. And yet, I can relate to it as I, too, have felt about people like that.
Favorite line: I’ve seen my darkest days. You gave each one to me.
A Deep Slow Panic
AFI publicized this song just a couple days before the European release date for Burials. I pressed play on the streaming site – and instantly fell in love all over again. It starts with a few drum sounds, then quickly turns into a melody that is at the same time catchy and melancholy. You immediately want to sing along and it makes for good driving music but it isn’t meaningless background noise. What really grips me here are the lyrics and the way Davey sings them. The title really is so fitting and I can release to the sudden panic gripping you when someone you trusted stabs you in the back and you’re at the same time afraid of losing them but aware that what’s been there has passed and you can’t trust them again. It’s not just the words but also Davey’s voice which gets more and more high-pitched with each chorus and becomes the audio version of that feeling I know so well. It’s also the only song that seems purely sad and defeated rather than angry. It’s the first of my three favorites on the album.
Favorite line: Slowly I swallowed your fears for all of those years. How could you let them consume me?
Another song that’s been released just before the album. It was also the first song I didn’t quite like at first listen. And indeed it took several spins of the album before it grew on me. It just seemed very repetitious at first. For me to fall in love with a song, I need one hook to get started on and then I take it from there. And No Resurrection didn’t seem to have that at first. By now, the stomping intro to the song has become that hook and I’ve slowly embraced it more and more.
Favorite line: Don’t you know that heaven is slow?
The second song to be released off the album, it stood in stark contrast to I Hope You Suffer and people didn’t know what to expect from the album anymore. Now that I know the entire album, 17 Crimes still stands out because it is a lot catchier and seems to have an all over more positive vibe than the rest. The lyrics are more hopeful and seem to be directed at someone else than the rest of the album. And yet, it fits in because of this. It’s that little glimmer of hope on the album and I’d love it just for that if it wasn’t already such a great song by itself.
Favorite line: Let’s run and kill like seventeen.
Another song I’d known from before the album (this was getting just a tad ridiculous, I swear!). My first thought was that it would fit perfectly on a Blaqk Audio album. There are a lot of electronic influences and at first, the music didn’t grip me. But the lyrics were instantly mine. By now I absolutely love the chorus and the short breakdown before it starts. I cannot wait to experience that live and scream the words back at the band.
Favorite line: Shake their frail beliefs. I’ll show them a believer.
This is the second of my three favorite tracks. The first time I listened to the album, I was driving to work and the moment Heart Stops came on, I had the biggest, most ridiculous grin on my face. It’s one of those songs that come with such a fresh and unique sound, it’s so different and such an instant favorite. For me, it brings to mind the sound of Blink 182 and The Dear & Departed. Musically, it’s probably the most simple song on the album. Lyrically, it’s also very simply put but so spiteful. I just love how he changes from singing calmly to spitting out the words.
Favorite line: May the scars you left in me dig into you twice as deep.
This is it, my favorite song on the album. I cannot even tell you how often I’ve listened to this already. It contains one of the most amazing AFI things: the screams! Oh my god, the screams! Every chorus rises and rises until it climaxes in Davey screaming “We rewind!” and I impatiently await the moment each time.
Favorite line: Call your doting dogs. As their weak servility feeds your emptiness, remember me.
I rushed to the theater to hear a tiny piece of this song in the Mortal Instruments movie and even though they were talking over it, I was amazed by how different it sounded. Had I not known it was AFI, I would have guessed it to be a Linkin Park song. Which isn’t a bad thing, just a completely new sound for AFI. It’s also very electronic and comes crawling at you and haunts you in an almost romantic way.
Favorite line: To take my deepest breath I walk into the raging sea.
This was one of the songs I found the hardest to get into. At first, it just sounds…yeah, wild! Just a cacophony of sound that I found overwhelming the first few dozen times. But slowly, it grew on me more and more. Now I just love the drums and the general craziness of this song.
Favorite line: Every one of my words – not worth believing.
Greater Than 84
Another song that immediately convinces with a catchy melody and a sound that just…pushes. It’s gonna work so well in a live setting, I’m sure, because it’s just contagious and really gets you going. It also has some of the most beautiful lyrics on the record.
Favorite line: Will you hold my hand as we count down the hours. Standing beneath the meteor showers.
So far, this is the only song I don’t really have an opinion about, yet. I don’t particularly like it and I don’t particularly don’t like it. Right now, it’s sort of that “Bop My Head Along to”-song but hey, I’ve only listened to this album a couple thousand times by now, so who knows how much I’ll love it in a week’s time.
Favorite line: Swing love down and find the saddest song.
The Face Beneath the Waves
For the first five hundread listens or so I had the biggest problem with “getting” this song. Not the lyrics, mind you, but the sound. It’s very 80’s, very dark wave, very epic and depressing. I still cannot listen to it with every spin of the record because it just hits you with the full force of feelings that you may not want to deal with at all times. But when I do, it’s never just a casual kind of listening. It’s a song that you can’t help but feel.
Favorite line: Tell me what it’s like to hold a heart when it shatters.
There you go. These are my thoughts and impressions and I know this isn’t any kind of a professional opinion, let alone a review. You couldn’t expect anything that’s 100% objective from someone who’s loved this band for the past decade. Mainly, I’m just posting this here to recap the album for myself, collect my thoughts and maybe return to it later to compare my opinion then with my opinion now.