Black Love review by The Afghan Whigs

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  • Released: Mar 12, 1996
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.4 (13 votes)
The Afghan Whigs: Black Love
2

Sound — 10
An ambient sound emits from the silence followed by the beautiful sound of an organ as we walk into the "Crime Scene Part One." This is only the beginning as we step into the story the Afghan Whigs' tell in Black Love. The entire album tells a story of betrayal and tragedy and does it well. From the beautifully twisted (or twisted yet beautiful) "Crime Scene Part One" to the dark finale of "Faded." This album will leave an impact similar to that of Shakespeare's most tragic tales.

Lyrics — 10
Listen to the lyrics in "Crime Scene Part One" carefully as they return in certain songs such as "Blame, Etc." and "Faded." The emotions in each song are set both in instrumental and lyrical senses. The opening track is the beginning of the end and we are taken by the next track, "My Enemy," into the eyes of the initial (or maybe not) victim. The rest of the album is just as stimulating, effusive and riveting. Songs like "Step Into the Light" and "Night By Candlelight" delve into the psyche of our main character as he desperately seeks to confide in the woman he longs for. "Night By Candlelight" displays the mind of the murderer as he questions his actions in the ominous fate that is to come as conveyed in the line "Is my fate all the same as the man who has walked the line straight?" There are darker sides as we have already seen on our protagonist/antagonist (depending on where you stand on the matter. This character is along the same lines as Shane Vendrell from The Shield), but songs like "Going to Town" only validate this point with lines like "There is a cost when you say, 'Now we got Hell to pay.' Don't worry, baby. That's okay. I Know the Boss." All of this leads up to the final act of "Faded" where the fates rendezvous with our character and the female motive of his deplorable act. Do not download this album or copy it from a friend. This album was meant to be a package deal. The booklet for the album has a significance equal to Mae's The Everglow. It is best to appreciate this piece in its entirety.

Overall Impression — 10
Black Love is undeniably one of the most beautiful stories told. Many artists attempt and only few succeed in creating a concept and telling a story as well as this band. Through vivid lyrics and vehement instrumentals, the Afghan Whigs create a wild experience that will never leave you.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Music_Eater
    so these dudes are like fugazi and unwound that must be really really great then (I reccomend you digging these two (in case you don't know them)(+ at the drive in) because apparently they sound similar)
    Music_Eater
    p.s.: me too, i am new to this type of music and it seems great but it's awfully bad to think, that while I grew up and completely ignored every manifesto of music, THIS happened (all this post hardcore hype) and it's kind of over now and slowly transformed into emo. Another fruit of this sacred tree of post hardcore is post rock and post metal, two brilliant genres (but sometimes not TOO open minded)
    jkl1805
    Afghan Whigs are great, but Black Love a 10/10???? If you want to get into the Afghan Whigs check out Gentlemen, by far their best album. Its kind of hard to say who they are similar to, but I'd say they're an odd mix of The Screaming Trees and Dinosaur JR, just darker and more introspective. Then I disagree completely about them being similar to Fugazi and Unwound. If you like Greg Dulli's style check out The Gutter Twins (with Mark Lanegan) or Twilight Singers
    Music_Eater
    than I just ****ing misunderstood getting this album tomorrow so THEN may I serve with well adjusted paralells
    hazydavy
    Nice to see some love for the Whigs. I keep it in some form (along with their others) at all times. Cinematic is the best way I have to describe it. It's a concept album where the lyrics aren't so obvious as to be childish,nor so abstract as to leave you scratching your head. Really just a beautiful assault on your senses.
    jkl1805
    I just didn't understand where the comparison to Fugazi came from. And I wouldn't classify the Whigs as anything close to post hardcore, so you may be disappointed if that is what your looking for. Check out allmusic.com it gives great bios, album reviews, and lists of influences and similar artists.
    lostpick600
    jkl1805 wrote: Afghan Whigs are great, but Black Love a 10/10???? If you want to get into the Afghan Whigs check out Gentlemen, by far their best album. Its kind of hard to say who they are similar to, but I'd say they're an odd mix of The Screaming Trees and Dinosaur JR, just darker and more introspective. Then I disagree completely about them being similar to Fugazi and Unwound. If you like Greg Dulli's style check out The Gutter Twins (with Mark Lanegan) or Twilight Singers
    Gentlemen is great, but I was a little more familiar with Black Love and honestly, I do believe it's a 10/10. I'm sure the same will happen with Gentlemen when I go back to it. I'll give you the odd mix of bands for a similar sound. I couldn't really give a decent comparison so I didn't try to. Also, Twilight Singers rock!
    scawti
    I agree with 10/10. I liked these guys before everybody jumped on the subpop wagon and was sure they would be the next soundgarden, then Nirvana came... If you can find it, Congregation is a classic of theirs. You can find videos of conjure me and turn off the water on youtube.
    hriday_hazarika
    You don't talk about the sound of the album at all. So, for a person like me who has never heard of them before, this review doesn't do anything much. "Indie rock" is a very vague term. =S
    lostpick600
    hriday_hazarika wrote: You don't talk about the sound of the album at all. So, for a person like me who has never heard of them before, this review doesn't do anything much. "Indie rock" is a very vague term. =S
    Again, I do realize this only of course after I have submitted this review. I am sorry for that. There is a comment from another user that describes the band's sound a little better than I could.
    jkl1805 wrote: Its kind of hard to say who they are similar to, but I'd say they're an odd mix of The Screaming Trees and Dinosaur JR, just darker and more introspective.
    I will comfortably agree with this statement and apologize in advance to anyone else who notices the same flaw in my review. Hope this helps!
    hazydavy
    Take the theme from Shaft,throw in some dissonance and distortion, and have the coolest white soul singer ever...that's the Afghan Whigs...in a nutshell kinda sorta.
    lostpick600
    hazydavy wrote: Take the theme from Shaft,throw in some dissonance and distortion, and have the coolest white soul singer ever...that's the Afghan Whigs...in a nutshell kinda sorta.
    Haha, I think I could see that
    Music_Eater
    pos'd. Finely written review! You paint down pretty well the conception of the album, and it still remains appealing, but you almost don't tell anything about the sound. In fact I only know it's in harmony w/ the lyrics. But we (readers) have no clue whether this album is more post-hardcoreish or etc etc etc... I didn't hear the album yet, nor did I hear the band(do you recommend anything else from them?). Anyway there a lot of bands who can create genuine conceptions where the lyrics are in a great harmony w/ the music, or when the music manages to narrate or takes the sense of the lyrics even further, such as converge, IsIs, at the drive in or the mars volta etc etc... . ps: Is this REALLY a 10/10 album?
    lostpick600
    Music_Eater wrote: pos'd. Finely written review! You paint down pretty well the conception of the album, and it still remains appealing, but you almost don't tell anything about the sound. In fact I only know it's in harmony w/ the lyrics. But we (readers) have no clue whether this album is more post-hardcoreish or etc etc etc... I didn't hear the album yet, nor did I hear the band(do you recommend anything else from them?). Anyway there a lot of bands who can create genuine conceptions where the lyrics are in a great harmony w/ the music, or when the music manages to narrate or takes the sense of the lyrics even further, such as converge, IsIs, at the drive in or the mars volta etc etc... . ps: Is this REALLY a 10/10 album?
    First off, thanks. This is my second review so it's always great to hear positive feedback. I know I didn't mention the sound at all. They're alternative. They started out as a punk band more so in the early days (1980's, I believe) but they grew out of it and matured into the alternative rock genre in the 90's. I don't know a whole lot of bands that do sound like them. I suggest this as your first buy. If not, 1965 is a great one too. And to answer your final question, yes. I really do believe this is a 10/10. After listening to it in solitude and reading the lyrics along with each song, I was able to take in all that it had to offer and I was very impressed. I realize I give this album a lot of hype, which may do what it did to movies like Napoleon Dynamite and Tropic Thunder (or maybe those movies really weren't that great, I don't really know. I saw them both post-hype). I also realized this comment is becoming very longwinded. Sorry about that, but I do hope my response answered your questions. Thanks again for reading and rating!