36. Song No. 258: “Almost Here,” The Academy Is…
Almost Here, 2005
Oh woooooow, I haven’t thought about these guys in a minute. This is another one of those bands and albums that I loved so hard and fast that they are frozen in a flash of time regardless of the song.
Before my husband and I started dating, I dragged what should have been a short-lived rebound into a two-year hangover of a relationship. My ex wasn’t a bad dude, just inexperienced and immature, and we were hilariously incompatible so it wasn’t a terribly fulfilling romance. I was also coming out of the most significant relationship of my life and, truthfully, one that I was too immature myself to value like I should have, and bringing all that guilt along for the ride always makes for a solid foundation, yeah?
But. We liked a metric fuckton of the same music and I liked his friends, who were usually helpful allies in organizing concert outings. Like, way more often than a bunch of early 20somethings with middling sources of income should have been able to. The frequency of the concerts we cozily carpooled to was a significant factor in our relationship working.
I nannied throughout my last summer of college: I lived with the family during the week and usually spent the weekends with my then-boyfriend, which left plenty of time for live music. His much more likable best friend drove him to pick me up for the weekend at some point, and we made all kinds of stops during the long drive that evening, from the nearby Barnes & Noble to a familiar diner.
We’d seen The Academy Is… at Bamboozle earlier that spring (we even walked past them between venues and chatted briefly, so they got bonus points for being accessible and friendly); I’m pretty sure we saw them either as headliners or as part of a smaller festival after that because we were all positively smitten with Almost Here and played it endlessly, as one does when one’s trying to recreate the magic of a perfect live set. And I remember driving all through Central/North Jersey with the summer-night wind whipping through the topless Jeep so loudly that we couldn’t hear each other but we made damn sure to hear the music. It’s a comparably short album but one that we were more than happy to start right over again and again every 32 minutes.
This is not an ex I think of often: There’s not much residual evidence of him in my life to trigger that recall, most of the bands and favorites we shared have long become footnotes in my musical past, and there’s no real reason to look back on that relationship. But nothing is all good or all bad, and even a college relationship that far outlasted its expiration date was capable of significant gifts, like being with people I had everything in common with in one harmonious, humid moment where music transcended conversation and made for a memory worth hanging onto.