Nevermind Nirvana, AFI defined a generation

When discussions about generation defining albums come up, you always hear about the usual suspects. Someone shouts out The Beatles and the, “White Album,” or Pink Floyd’s, “Dark Side of the Moon,” no one can argue with those.

More recently, newer generations point to albums like Radiohead’s, “OK Computer,” or even Nirvana’s, “Nevermind,” as influential and unique to their time. I always yell out A Fire Inside’s (AFI) The Art of Drowining.

Music critics like to point to the teen angst and rebellious grunge sound that Nirvana brought to the national consciousness through, “Nevermind,” as reasons for it to be lauded, but I can’t identify with it.

As a teenager I always felt, “Nevermind,” was a boring album.

Yes, it was loud, but I always felt it was too slow for my taste and I felt the lyrics were just plain lame. I never got on board with everyone else.

Growing up, everyone had heard of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, but it was Davey Havok and AFI that brought the sense of belonging to the subculture that I belonged to.

We were a bunch of lower-class Hispanic punks, skaters, and goth kids running around town as aimless outliers brought together by our love of music. Some of us might have owned a copy of, “Nevermind,” but everyone owned a copy of, “The Art of Drowning.”

“The Art of Drowning,” had everything from lightning fast drum kicks, scintillating guitar picking, power chord choruses, and group tightening chants.

It was everything that Nirvana wasn’t.

Nirvana still can’t hold a candle to A Fire Inside, the group behind, “The Art of Drowning.”

Songs like, “The Lost Souls,” “Sacrifice Theory,” and, “Days of the Phoenix,” were the zeitgeist that wasteland teenagers across the country moshed and flailed to.

AFI recently released their ninth studio album, “Burials,” on Oct. 22.  The album has received favorable reviews.

“Burials” sold 25,000 copies its first week and reached number nine on the Billboard 200 charts.

Despite having been a musical act since 1991, AFI had been relatively unknown by trendy music lovers until the release of, “Sing the Sorrow,” in 2003.

Despite being AFI’s sixth studio album, “Sing the Sorrow,” AFI’s first major record label debut produced three singles that received extensive radio and television airplay which helped establish AFI as more than just a punk band and vaulted them into status of quintessential rock band.

“Sing the Sorrows,” might have brought AFI to a wider commercial audience, but it was AFI’s, “The Art of Drowning,” that caught the attention of the FM airwave tastemakers, and outcast kids everywhere.