Almost Here by The Academy Is… was one of the first albums whose lyrics made sense to me. I discovered them a couple of years after their untimely split in 2011, when I was around the age of thirteen. I was just getting into 2000’s emo bands such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco, discovering music through YouTube recommendations.
I sometimes refer to The Academy Is… as the forgotten heroes of Emo. Back in 2006, Panic! At The Disco was their support act, and singer William Beckett featured in multiple Fall Out Boy videos and songs. Yet, possibly due to their disbanding (though let’s not forget their 2015 American Almost Here 10 year anniversary tour!), kids who are getting into 00’s bands nowadays seem to miss out on all the good things that The Academy Is… has to offer.
The Academy Is… – just as F.O.B and Panic! had done before – grabbed my attention the first time I heard them. Not only were their songs catchy and did their instrumentals rock, but their lyrics told stories that I could actually follow.
“The Phrase That Pays” is one song from 2005’s Almost Here that stood out to me especially. Frontman William Beckett sings from the perspective of a patient whose doctor tells him he is seriously ill. His throaty reply “Am I gonna die?” still gives me the chills. Not only is this song very angsty – dying is scary after all – but it is also about grabbing your chance while you still can. “I never tried to make the best of my time when I thought that I had plenty of it” is one such lyric that really stuck with me.
This album is full of great tunes, such as the angry “Black Mamba” and “Checkmarks”. “Black Mamba” bites back against the importance of reviews in the music business, saying “Mr. Magazine, I never wrote one single thing for you or your so-called music scene” and “if you don’t like it take a long walk off of the shortest pier you can find”. That is some MCR 2002 era worthy anger right there. Same goes for “Checkmarks”, in which Beckett sings “take your cold, cold heart and drown, and don’t forget to take deep breaths”.
Someone must have seriously pissed them off!
Now that I am at the end of my teen years and have just started University, “Down and Out”, is a song that makes me feel very nostalgic. At the end of the song they sing about their old (high-school) friends and them all going to different places, but always keeping the good times in their hearts.
Almost Here… is an album filled with anger, angst and nostalgia, but also determination and hope, ending with the words: “Our time is almost here”.
If you are one of the ones who The Academy Is… has passed by, do give their debut a listen (and their follow-ups Santi and Fast Times at Barrington High as well while you’re at it), I promise they are well worth your time.
Now, how about another reunion?