ALMOST HERE track-by-track review

Featuring Sam Devotta

Attention

Jane: GREATEST SONG TO START AN ALBUM. You're dropped right into pop-punk goodness and you know exactly what you're getting. The first song sets the tone for the entire album and they struck gold with Attention. They're so full of youthful energy and angst. Beckett begs for your Attention right away, and you pay him yours. You want to hear what he has to say and you are strapping in for the ride.

Sam: Yes, a perfect start! It throws you right into it and packs a powerful punch without being overwhelming. I love how soft his voice is at first before building up into the chorus. It’s impossible to not pay attention to William Beckett when he sings.

Season

Jane: Season is an incredibly strong song, but the verses pale in comparison to the incredible chorus. And that's saying something, as the verses are pretty damn great. I love Butcher's drumming in this one, it gives the song an a great beat.

Sam: Ah, Butcher <3 One of my all time favourite drummers. I haven’t listened to this song in forever, but I know that at one time, it was one of my go-to TAI song. Like you said, Jane, the beat is gorgeous and there are amazing lyrics all around!

Slow Down

Jane: We literally do slow down in this song but we rev right back up in the bridge and the chorus. God this song is so pop-punk, I love it so much. It means instant dance party for me, and I'm talking crazy outrageous all-out dancing. I'm dancing in my head while I write this on the subway (and maybe doing a bit of head bobbing, so sue me).

Sam: THIS WAS MY FIRST TAI SONG!!! I have a very vivid memory of the first time I heard it (when I was 17, because clearly I was a little late to the pop-punk game), and it continues to be special to me for that reason. Fun fact: the lyric “then we’ll turn it up and we’ll play a little faster” was used as a chapter title in Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, and if I hadn’t already loved that book to begin with, the use of TAI lyrics would have completely sold me on it.

Jane: I clearly need to read that book now!

The Phrase That Pays

Jane: The way this song begins is so intoxicating, by slowly bringing in one instrument at a time, coming to an intense head at the bridge and chorus. The chorus has so many of TAI's most popular lines, 'Hold your head high, heavy heart,' 'Make plans to break plans.' This is a really good concert song, so much fun to scream along to.

Sam: I don’t really have anything to add to your analysis, that’s basically the perfect way to describe it. I love how raspy his voice gets on that pre-chorus “am I gonna die?” line.

Jane: That part is so sexy, hot damn.

Black Mamba

Jane: Okay, we've come to my least favourite song on the album. I mean, it's okay, but it really doesn't stand out for me. It doesn't really make me want to sing or dance along. I'm not sure if this is a Kill Bill reference (The Bride's alias is Black Mamba) but if it is, I have no idea what it has to do with the movie.

Sam: I never expected this song to be so divisive! I really like it, it’s my best friend’s TAI jam, but I recently found out my sister doesn’t like it and neither do you, Jane! I can’t say what it is about this song I like so much; I suspect it’s because it was one of the first TAI songs I heard. I like shouting the “sick and tired of waiting, sick of this fucking apartment” line and the drum intro makes me want to flail around.

Jane: That's fair, I do like that line too.

Skeptics and True Believers

Jane: This song brings a bit more energy to the album and definitely always makes me want to bop along. Again, not one of my favourites (the middle of this album most certainly makes a dip in quality for me) but it’s a hell of a lot better than Black Mamba. Beckett going into a lower register really makes the song, it’s super sexy. Not too much to say about this track, good but not the best.

Sam: I tend to forget about this song. It’s not bad, per se, but if I’m not listening to it, I can’t call to mind what it sounds like. That being said, when I actually listen to it, I bop around, otherwise it just sort of fades into the rest of the song. I do like the drums in this one, though.

Jane: Those are my feelings exactly, you nailed it.

Classifieds

Jane: THE VERY FIRST TAI SONG I EVER HEARD! This song holds a very special place in my heart, and every time I hear it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and smiley. It also has my very favourite line of any TAI song: “And if I die in my sleep, are you still willing to be everything you promised you would be?” Just the way that it’s sung, and the placement in the song, it’s all just pure perfection. I’m totally jamming right now.

Sam: This song, man. I don’t know why it’s so addictive, but it is.The “auction” description at the beginning: “he’s got a decent voice, he’s got that crooked smile”...thanks for giving me a list of qualities to look for in a guy, William.

Checkmarks

Jane: This song is again on the alright side, it’s a bit more hardcore (or at least that’s what I assume TAI was going for) as it even gets a bit screamy by the end. Not a fave but I can appreciate TAI trying a slightly different sound. It’s a bit monotonous for me (literally, Beckett sings in one note for awhile) but it’s a really good song if you’re feeling angry and want to hit things.

Sam: Another one that’s good but never really stood out for me. I’d say that, sonically, this is more of a Santi-esque song, so it almost feels out of place on Almost Here, which is arguably “lighter” than Santi.

Jane: You're so right! I never thought about it being like Santi but now that you say it, that is so accurate.

Down and Out

Jane: TAI tries their hand at storytelling in this song which is about an abusive couple. I quite like this song but it takes a bit of time to get to the best part of the song which is the chorus. The beginning is just Beckett and a backing guitar which is very powerful in its own right but everything really gets amazing when it goes into the epic chorus. “Always up or down, never down and out, dream of demons when you sleep, make you stutter when you speak,” YES.

Sam: Usually I’d feel impatient if a song too that long to get to the chorus, but I’ve always liked the “storytelling” aspect and the gradual buildup. The chorus is epic though, and it makes waiting for it worthwhile.

Almost Here

Jane: And we finally get to the titular track. I love this song it brings all the energy and angst to a great peak. I really can’t speak highly enough of this last song, it’s just so anthemic, so powerful, such a great way to end a very solid album. It’s just… gah. So good!

Sam: It’s an excellent closer for sure, and it definitely brings everything (the energy and overall tone of the album) together nicely. I have to admit, I rarely listen to this song unless I’m listening to the album in full! I think that happens to me a lot with album closers, but after re-listening to it for this review, I’m going to have to introduce it into my day-to-day life - it’s just too good to only listen to once in a while!


And that's it! Next week will be Everything in Transit by Jack's Mannequin. Later days!