The Academy Is… reunited after a nearly four-year disbandment to play Almost Here in its entirety for both an intimate club show and a set at Riot Fest Chicago this past September. It was at said Riot Fest set that frontman William Beckett announced to a sea of screams (which shamelessly included this writer) and applause that the band would be taking the show on the road to further honor Almost Here’s 10-year anniversary. The tour kicked off earlier this month, so get pumped to see the emo act reunite yet again (or mourn that you’re missing out) with some highlights from their discography below.
“The Author” (The Academy EP)
Shortly following their 2003 formation, the Academy Is… (pre the “Is…”) released their self-titled debut, The Academy EP. As is the case with most debuts, this EP showcased the band in their most raw form, and “The Author” is one of the top examples of the band’s excellent storytelling and gritty instrumentation.
“The Phrase That Pays” (Almost Here)
Beckett can barely get through the first few lines of this track when performing it live before handing over singing (or rather passionate screaming) duties to the crowd for “Oh doctor, doctor / I must have gotten this sick somehow.” As a result, it’s safe to assume the general population will agree that it belongs on this list, especially with such iconic lyrics as “Hold your head high, heavy heart.”
“Checkmarks” (Almost Here)
Everyone has that one song that gets them hooked on a band, and this was mine as I’m sure it was for many others. The angsty, brokenhearted anthem held some of the band’s most hard-hitting one-liners, such asincluding “Your bedroom behavior was never more than checkmarks on bedposts” and “So take your cold, cold heart and drown / And don't forget to take deep breaths.”
“Almost Here” (Almost Here)
This title track from their full-length debut and best received album is undeniably the best closer in the band’s catalogue. is undeniably the best conclusion to The Academy Is…’sthe band’s debut full-length debut and most well-received album. It takes you on an emotional roller coaster with the slow build in the beginning, and halfway through that’s split andbefore it splits and is followed by emotionally charged chorus and verses. It ends perfectly with the repetition of “Our time is almost… / Our time is almost here.”
“The Fever” (From The Carpet EP)
The From The Carpet EP, Almost Here’s 2006 follow-up, is the 2006 follow-up to their full-length debut. It featured an acoustic reimagining of a few of its predecessor’s tracks—“The Phrase That Pays,” “Down and Out” and “Black Mamba”—as well as a cover of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.” “The Fever,” however, stands out as one of the two original and fresh tracks on the EP, with a straight-to-the-point opening line that’s repeated in the chorus and sticks with you: “Lies are lies in everybody’s eyes / And I don’t believe you”
“We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” (Santi)
“We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” debuted as the lead single to TAI’s second full-length, Santi, in 2007. The track was far different from Almost Here, but it wasproof of a matured sound and a step in the right direction for the band as a whole with the pounding guitars and edgy vocalization from Beckett.
“Unexpected Places” (Santi)
This track is stands out as one of the most unique in the band’s discography with its choppy (although not as choppy as “Chop Chop”)beat (although not quite “Chop Chop”) and conversational tone. The slow tempo gives off the vibe that Beckett is just having a chat and dictating how it’s going to go (“Don't cut no corners when you're talking to me / Like I don't know how it is / But I can see it”). throughout its lyrical content.
“Summer Hair = Forever Young” (Fast Time At Barrington High)
TAI switched up their sound again with their third full-length, Fast Times At Barrington High, in 2009. The album consisted of a few more pop-friendly undertones as opposed to the indie-based Almost Here and edgier, rock-heavy Santi. One of those tracks, “Summer Hair = Forever Young,” is the musically upbeat, lyrically lovelorn hit that appeared to be outshone by the album’s other single, “About A Girl.”
“Crowded Room” (Fast Time At Barrington High)
This track kicks off by calling out the listener and demanding attention and self-reflection (“Excuse me, yeah I'm talking to you / Look in the mirror, could you tell me what you see?”). It proceeds as one of the better pop-rock hybrids found on Fast Times At Barrington High.
“In The Rearview” (Lost In Pacific Time EP)
If you listen to TAI’s discography front-to-back from 2004’s The Academy EP to 2009’s Lost In Pacific Time EP, then “In The Rearview” would be marked as the last track the band officially released before parting ways in October 2011. If that’s the case, then this was a fantastic track to go out on with its powerful, in-your-face lyrics and anthemic rock sound.If that’s the case, then this was a fantastic track to go out on.