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AFI, 'The Art of Drowning' (2000)

30. AFI, 'The Art of Drowning' (2000)

AFI's fifth studio album cracked the Billboard 200 and brought the Bay Area band thrashing into the mainstream. Their gothic lyricisms and skittering NorCal rhythms positioned them as the missing link between horror-punk forefathers the Misfits and emo insurgents My Chemical Romance – most palpable in "Days of the Phoenix," a paean to the "teenage death boys, teenage death girls" that populated their favorite hometown venue. That same year, following the departure of Michale Graves from the Misfits, androgynous frontman Davey Havok was scouted to be his replacement – yet Havok declined. It was impeccable timing: following Art of Drowning, AFI's profile rose tremendously in the years to come, especially among young women. "When I think of those times," said Havok in 2017, "I remember the shift in the male-to-female ratio in the audience changing. We used to only play to men. It's cool that it swayed towards the female ... from what I've known growing up, ladies always had the best taste in music." S.E.