It may be hard to imagine that a band as well-recognized and iconic as AFI could have any underrated songs. However, with a discography spanning 10 studio albums, several EPs and a slew of singles, it makes sense that some gems have been brushed aside.
With the band’s 11th studio album confirmed for 2021, we’re feeling especially nostalgic for years past. So of course we’ve been sequentially dusting off every record in its entirety. No surprise, some of the best songs aren’t the ones most listeners are primed to remember.
Here are the songs from each of AFI’s previous 10 albums that we think are vastly underrated.
Answer That And Stay Fashionable – “Rizzo In The Box”
AFI’s punk foundations really aren’t talked about enough as a whole. To that point, we’d consider the entirety of their debut album, Answer That And Stay Fashionable, to be vastly underrated. Relative to the rest of the record, though, “Rizzo In The Box” is unfairly lacking in streams. Just listen to this high-energy, upbeat track and try to tell us it’s not both moshable and painfully relatable.
Very Proud Of Ya – “Theory Of Revolution”
Another considerable throwback, Very Proud Of Ya marked AFI’s transcendence into a slightly more polished sound. Out of 20 angst-filled tracks, “Theory Of Revolution” is the second shortest, coming in at only a minute and 32 seconds. Don’t think that means it doesn’t pack a punch, though. With lyrics that jab at modern culture (“With every sip and every shot, mind and bodies fade away”), this punk song hits hard even 25 years later.
Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes – “Three Seconds Notice”
OK, OK… You may be thinking that we just have a thing for the hella short songs. We’d argue, though, that this is just indicative of AFI’s songwriting ability. A little can go a long way. Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes was the last record to fully boast the band’s early pure-punk sound. And “Three Seconds Notice,” we’d argue, is the ultimate display of that prowess.
Black Sails In The Sunset – “Weathered Tome”
Black Sails In The Sunset brought AFI closer to the dark, post-hardcore sound for which they’re best known. It also brought (legendary) guitarist Jade Puget on as a permanent member of the band. This is one of those records that plays beautifully from front to back. In fact, the evocative, chant-filled opening track “Strength Through Wounding” continues to serve as an intro to their live sets even two decades later. We’d argue that “Weathered Tome” deserves better recognition, though. The least-streamed song on the record has aggressive punk energy that ties it to earlier foundations. Add Puget’s guitar shreds and you’ve got a powerful punk masterpiece.
The Art Of Drowning – “6 To 8”
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an AFI fan who turns their nose up at any song off The Art Of Drowning. That’s for good reason. The whole album is an eclectic, brooding display of sonic artistry and poetic lyricism. Even so, “6 To 8” gets a disproportionate lack of attention relative to tracks such as “The Days Of The Phoenix” and “The Lost Souls.” Though not the lowest-streamed song on the album, we’d argue that this deeply melodic anthem should be far more iconic.
Sing The Sorrow – “Paper Airplanes (Makeshift Wings)”
Among the most iconic albums of the decade, Sing The Sorrow is an emblem of 2000s post-hardcore. Even so, only a few songs are easily recognized by more casual listeners. You know the ones: “Girl’s Not Grey,” “Dancing Through Sunday,” “The Leaving Song Pt. II” and “Silver And Cold.” Let’s be clear: We’re not here to detract from the power of any of them. In fact, we’d argue that every song off this album should be in your regular rotation. As it stands, though, “Paper Airplanes (Makeshift Wings)” is especially underrated. The track just strikes the perfect balance between aggressive, hardcore-influenced energy and goth-rock variances.
DECEMBERUNDERGROUND – “The Missing Frame”
It’s hard to think of any track off DECEMBERUNDERGROUND as being underrated given the widespread success of the 2006 album. With that said, there were certainly songs that seemed to sweep (lookin’ at you, “Miss Murder” and “Love Like Winter“). We’re honestly shocked that one as cutting as “The Missing Frame” doesn’t rank on the band’s most popular tracks. Seriously, how has the line “Will the flood behind me put out the fire inside me?” not gone down in pop-punk/emo greatness yet?
Crash Love – “It Was Mine”
Crash Love got an ill-deserved bad rap, largely dividing fans at the time of its release. While we’ll argue tooth and nail that this was a stunning album despite its sonic diversions, that point is irrelevant. We’re just here to point out that “Medicate” and “Beautiful Thieves” aren’t the only tracks deserving of continued attention. The moody closing track, “It Was Mine,” is marked by a dreamy and timeless beauty. Truly, it might be the most captivating song on the whole album (and that’s saying something).
Burials – “Heart Stops”
Are you even human if you don’t get punched in the stomach by every track on Burials? The whole album is so deeply emotional on every level. While most would point to “I Hope You Suffer” and “17 Crimes” as prime examples, we’ve got another one in mind. “Heart Stops” presents a brutally vivid account of heartbreak laced with dark tones that are perfectly offset by relatively upbeat, catchy hooks.
AFI (The Blood Album) – “So Beneath You”
The Blood Album proved once and for all that AFI really aren’t slowing down, even after 20-plus years. Though really, we all had that idea already, right? The record is full of well-performing hits that rival some of their best tracks from the 2000s. While “Snow Cats” and “Aurelia” are the most popular, we’d put down “So Beneath You” as the most exemplary. Seriously, what’s more iconic than Davey Havok directly challenging God?
Which AFI tracks do you think are vastly underrated? Let us know in the comments!