The GB Album Club 041 - Decemberunderground by AFI

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UncleJam23

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#1  Edited By UncleJam23

Duders! Welcome to the 41st edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! Last week, we took off our shirts, we stuck our tongues out while we shredded, and even though we looked like absolute cornballs doing it, we had a lot of fun. This time, we're still rocking out, but instead of the kind of fun rocking with implied recreational drugs and overall bacchanalia, we're crashing the pit with our brooding makeup-heavy emo aesthetic because this week our album is Decemberunderground by AFI! 'Twas picked our good friend @redwing42! Links below:

Spotify

Apple Music

Youtube

Here at the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club, we pick an album at random every from a pool we created to listen to and discuss. If you want to get in on that shit, come join us in our Discord! We only have two albums left this rotation, but if you want to get in on the next one, that's where you need to go to do it. So join.

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galaxiid

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Hmmmm. I have mixed feelings about this album. I can't deny the fact that tracks like Love Like Winter and The Killing Lights really worked their way into my brain, but I counted the Black Sails - Art of Drowning run as some of my absolute favourite music at that point in time (I think my display name on Runescape was Afireinside? and there is still an Art of Drowning poster up in my childhood bedroom I think...) and while I liked Sing The Sorrow well enough it was pushing further away from what I personally was gravitating towards at the time.

Listening through again I think I at least appreciate what they were going for and had been building up to over the previous few records with incorporating more electronics and the like. Even in a discography as all over the place as AFI it still stands out as an odd one in the eventual transition form hardcore punk to moody alt arena rock or whatever they hell they are up to now.

I will say that the bonus track Rabbits are Roadkill on Rt 37 and Fainting Spells recorded for this but ending up on the deluxe edition of the next record are by far my favourite ones from this era.

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izzy_izumi

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I do like their earlier work a lot, but I'm really just here to say that AFI has been my running playlist for the last two months. This album was my more "mainstream" entry into the band then I worked mostly more and more backwards. Black Sails is still probably my favorite album of theirs overall, but this is where I noticed they just kinda change their style enough from album to album that they're always an interesting listen.

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UncleJam23

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Weird experience for me.

On one, I found this album a bit anemic and rudimentary. Once a song starts, rarely does it do anything unpredictable, and as I said back in the post about The Beths, your mileage will vary. In this case, I don't naturally gravitate towards this era of emo (or post-hardcore emo pop or whatever. I'm not trying to be flippant, this is genuinely not an area of music I can speak on, genre wise, with confidence) and so it didn't really carry a lot of juice for me. But I can't help but think that even if it did, this album just felt a little meat and potatoes.

On the other hand, they clearly know their way around and hook and riff. There's these moments where they show a little bit of flex. But the problem is that rarely do these moments last long enough to feel meaningful or stay in mind for long enough to leave an impact. But they were there. And because they were there, I never quite turned on the experience. "Surely, I thought, "a moment will come when this album will take off." Sadly that moment never came. But there were flashes.

So I walked away from it not disliking it, but disappointed. I saw what could've been, and I was bummed that I didn't get it. But honestly, that was better than I thought it was going to go because a few people in my life have spent the last week or so doing their damnedest to poison the well on this one. According to them, this is their sellout album. I've heard that claim about a few of their albums, but mainly this one.

I don't know. Maybe they got to me. Maybe this feeling of flatness comes from them sanding off their edges for radio. I genuinely don't know. But I have become oddly convinced that there's an AFI album I'm going to love the absolute fuck out of. The talent and the vision is clearly there. But as far as Decemberunderground goes, it just felt like there was something missing.

Favorite Songs: "Summer Shudder," "Love Like Winter," "Affliction"

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redwing42

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#6  Edited By redwing42

I'm going to preface this by saying I was about 20 years too old for Emo. If it had hit while I was in high school, I may have gone way down that rabbit hole. That said, I enjoyed (and still enjoy) emo music quite a bit, and that was my entry point for AFI. I think there is little question that this is one of the top two or three albums in the entire genre, if not from an artistic standpoint than from pure radio play and recognition. FYI, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is also high on my playlist, but MCR isn't nearly the band that AFI is.

I have a lot of respect for the longevity of AFI. They went from being a solid punk band to a preeminent emo band and then to a solid adult alternative rock band. It does seem like it was really a right place, right time situation for the band, as you can hear the slight changes in their sound over the course of their discography which kind of . (I know that emo didn't just suddenly start up in the 2000s, but I'm generally talking mainstream). Sing The Sorrow and Crash Love are kind of the bookends of this mainstream emo trilogy, with Decemberunderground being the dark middle chapter.

I think it is a pretty solid album top to bottom, but Love Like Winter was the song that really got me into the band in the first place. Endlessly, She Said, The Interview, and 37mm are probably my other favorites, but again, not really a weak track on the album. Maybe Miss Murder is lower on the list for me.

I saw the band live in 2019, opening for High Flying Birds and Smashing Pumpkins, and I had very mixed feelings about it. They put on a great, though short, set. But I personally would have replaced six of the eight songs they played. That said, don't sleep on their newer albums. I haven't listened to them all yet, but the 2017 album is very good.

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emavoow

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#7  Edited By emavoow

While I'm a big fan of their earlier music, I wanted to mention that AFI has been dominating my running playlist for the past two months. This album marked my initial exposure to the band's more mainstream sound, and from there, I delved deeper into their discography, moving backward in time. Although "Black Sails" remains my favorite album of theirs, I've come to appreciate how AFI constantly evolves its style from one album to the next, making each release a consistently intriguing listening experience.

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wisome

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While I have a strong appreciation for their earlier work, my main reason for being here is to highlight that AFI's music has been the soundtrack to my running sessions over the past two months. This particular album marked my initial introduction to the band's more "mainstream" sound, and from there, I've been delving into their discography in reverse order. Although "Black Sails" remains my top favorite among their albums, I've come to appreciate how AFI consistently evolves their musical style from one album to the next, making each release a consistently captivating listening experience.