My favorite album that came out this year was AFI - Burials.
I know how absurd that must sound, and I’m not the type of person to have guilty pleasures, so maybe I should explain.
In a year when a Bowie album came out, it would be rather unreasonable to argue that anything better was released. If this were an objective question, then obviously the Bowie record would get it. But there’s something extra for me about AFI.
When I was a kid, AFI was one of the first punk bands I got into. A friend of mine even recently shared picture of me from back then at a show in a shitty club in West Palm, screaming into the mic with Davey. They grew in intensity with each record, becoming more creative and abrasive and following the same trajectory of my interests at the time. When they hit critical mass, they signed to a major label.
Then I watched them change. They changed into something ridiculous - a laughable, melodramatic parody of themselves and the scene from which they grew. They went through hilarious haircuts and Twilight-inspired melodrama while becoming the poster boys for the tween, Hot Topic, mall-goth-emo-dork demographic.
They put out some shit albums, made some pretty cheesy videos, and it seemed like the band I had enjoyed on albums like “Black Sails in the Sunset” had all but vanished. I gave up on them.
A few years later, I found some of their albums in my brother’s stuff. I decided to give it another shot, but now with an ear that did not expect the former glory that I had seen in them.
To my surprise, whether it was because of the changes in my taste or the maturation of their sound, I understood it. I didn’t understand it as the hardcore or punk band that I remembered, but something different and new - possibly with the potential to be even better in the long run,
It strikes me that they’ve been trying to create something greater than themselves in these past two albums. They’re aspiring to establish themselves as something bigger than a seminal 90’s punk band, bigger than pop-emo cash-whores, and maybe something that would stand the test of time. In other words, something more like Bowie.
Or like I joked with a friend, maybe it just sounds like Danzig doing NoFX covers.