I'll pull no punches here. This album is a pretty big disappointment. I've broken it down song by song. But before that, I'd like to talk about a few things first. Oh and please remember, this just one fan's opinion that I am more than entitled to it. If you disagree, do so respectfully.
I in no way want to shout "AFI has changed" and cry. Yes, AFI has changed and I completely expected so. They changed when they went to Sing the Sorrow and they changed when they went to Decemberunderground. I welcome change that I like. I don't welcome change I don't like.
Many people love this album. Many hate it as well. Of course, once the dust settles, and the fanboys and fangirls have their multiple eargasms, they will likely change their opinion of the album. Too many are jumping to "this is waaaaay better than Sing the Sorrow." I'm sure the fans will still love this CD after they get used to it but I doubt they will hold it up so high. Sing the Sorrow will always be AFI's best is my opinion.
One of the smaller problems with this album is it's length. Only 43 minutes long. This is their shortest, not by much, DU was only 44 minutes long, but it seems like very little for such a long wait. The best song on the album in my opinion is 2 minutes 39 seconds long!
One of the more annoying things about this album is it's name and cover art. I won't harp on this but I absolutely hate both. They feel like a pop album; like Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers. When I expected AFI to grow as an artist I didn't expect them to grow into love, hearts, and gold.
It might just be me, but overall, this CD is just too pop. I'm not against anything being mainstream. And even though the lyrics are dark... ish, I really wasn't expecting or wanting such an upbeat and happy album. I don't know why... I should have expected such from the gay ass title and cover. (i mean this in no disrespect to the band or Davey in specific... since I myself am gay, lol).
So here's the track by track review:
1) Torch Song ★★★★½
This CD starts out pretty good. This song really sounds like a mix of all the good from STS and DU. This is definitely a great opener. I love the lyrics, "I'd tear out my eyes for you my dear, oh my dear."
2) Beautiful Thieves ★★★★
This track is not bad. It sounds very DU-ish (which is fine with me). I enjoy this song enough to keep it on my iPod but I certainly wouldn't call it 'single' material. To me the best CDs are ones where each and every track could be a single.
3) End Transmission ★★★★
Now the album starts getting weird. In a good way though. This song sounds very 80s and very Black Audio-ish. I like it. Not quite sure why this girl is grabbing her bag and he's grabbing the gun, but it's pretty cool. By this track I am happy with the album... so far that is...
4) Too Shy To Scream ½
Oh how quickly the mighty fall. I absolutely hate this song. I have to work hard just to finish the not even 3 minute track. It sounds like they went to some 1950's soda stand and started dancing to the jukebox. This is NOT rock. This is where AFI turns to gay ass pop. I have finished the song once... which just sorta ends outta no where. Oh, and I gotta make fun of the first line, "I come quietly." Yeah right, when you should "Oh!" at the beginning of every track.
5) Veronica Sawyer Smokes ★
Suddenly we've slipped and fallen into the CW. I have trouble finishing this track as well. Too pop. Too boring. Just... dare I say, un-AFI.
6) OK, I Feel Better Now ★
Well, I don't. By this point in the CD I am being quite let down. A few really good beginning songs that just slip into total shit. The problem with this song (which is starting to leave the the pop world, but not entirely) is that it just sounds like total filler. Nothing stands out and I just don't care.
7) Medicate ★★★½
I like this song to start but it got old really quick. I can remember how much Miss Murder and Girls Not Grey just made me so excited for the full album. Medicate is good, not great. It had two problems. The first is that it seems to stick out like a sore thumb among the other tracks. The second is that it sounds as if their label said to them, "make a song specifically tailored to Guitar Hero and we'll call that the first single."
8) I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here ★★★★½
This is the best track on the CD in my opinion. It sounds more like Miss Murder than anything else, I think (other probably don't). I think this should have been the first single. Maybe it'll be the second. There are two problems with it I see. The first is that the winners who sing the whole "flash flash car crash" part don't seem nearly as enthusiastic as they could. The second is that this song is only 2 minutes and 39 seconds long. If it were longer, I'd have given it five stars. This song is exactly where I was hoping for AFI to go with the whole album... but they didn't.
9) Sacrilege ★★½
This is the only song that actually does sound like their old stuff. Unfortunately it sounds like a scrapped b-side on Sing the Sorrow. The chorus is kinda boring and the song as a whole sounds like filler. This is one of the tracks that could totally use some angry Davey shouting or screaming but the entire CD lacks that.
10) Darling, I Want To Destroy You ★★★★
With this song we are back into a pop sound. This is the most DU-ish sounding song on the CD in my opinion. I like it... I can't say why, but I do. It sounds very very much like a song that would be heard on the CW as well.
11) Cold Hands ★
Eh. Boring. Filler. Terrible chorus. I just don't care.
12) It Was Mine ★
This was rumored and expected to be their powerful and epic end track ballad like Endlessly, She Said and This Time Imperfect. Those songs have stood the test of time as truly amazing emotion filled tracks of epicness that It Was Mine fails to deliver. This too feels like filler
Overall Score: ★★½
The songs just don't hold together well. I miss lengthy tracks. I miss hidden tracks. I miss shouting and feeling. I miss rock. I know, I know, they change and evolve and that's exactly what they have done. But they didn't evolve in the direction I expected men in their mid-thirties to go.
It seems very clear that they and/or their label is pushing them in the direction of teenagers. That disappoints because I don't feel like they were pointing in that direction in the past.
I have given this my open-est mind. I love a few tracks but nothings seems to have the massive power all of their previous works had. Each CD had on it an epic song (think Kiss and Control, ...But Home Is Nowhere) and an epic ballad (think This Time Imperfect, Endlessly She Said, God Called In Sick Today). This CD has neither.
Some people (mainly young AFI fans who weren't even in high school when Sing the Sorrow was released) will absolutely love this CD and give it a perfect score. I'm willing to bet that Davey and Jade love this CD too and good for them.
Me, personally, just feel so meh about this CD. The powerful response I got from Sing the Sorrow, Decemberunderground, and even Black Audio's CexCells does not happen with Crash Love.
All I can do now is enjoy the few gems that this CD brings and patiently wait for the new Black Audio CD. Davey says that it's already done... but in the last few years I've learned I can only trust less than half of what he says in interviews.
Sigh. Not all is lost this Autumn. I have really enjoyed the new Three Days Grace, Nelly Furtado, and can't wait for the new Breaking Benjamin, Atreyu, and Shakira which all show far more potential.