GREATEST HITS | The Academy Is…


by Sarah Bel Kloetzke

I figured that if I was making a greatest hits list, I might as well make it of a band that (sadly) doesn’t exist anymore. The Academy Is… are a Chicago-based pop rock band that were active from 2003-2011, before their temporary reunion in 2015. I approached this list at a few different angles, but eventually just chose the songs that I personally believe are best. There are a few tracks that truly were their biggest hits, like “Slow Down,” “Phrase That Pays,” “We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands,” and “About A Girl”- all of which are singles. “Big Mess” is actually my absolute favorite TAI song, so if you’re not familiar with this band, definitely check that song out. The music video is quite the trip, too.

I also chose some of their more discreet songs. “40 Steps” and “Every Burden Has A Version” are both b-sides, and the line “unkempt and over-caffeinated” from “40 Steps” has been in all of my social media bios for some time now. “Every Burden” is a song that I identify with and it really means a lot to me, much like “Down and Out” and “After The Last Midtown Show”–more songs that I couldn’t stop myself from putting on the list. Not many people know about the EPs that The Academy Is… released, but there are some real gems on those, like “The Fever” and “New York (Saint In The City).”

I’m a big fan of TAI’s punkier songs, like “LAX to O’Hare,” “Crowded Room,” “Chop Chop,” and “Black Mamba.” “Black Mamba” has a line in it–“Oh Mr. Magazine, never wrote one single thing for you and your so-called music scene”–that I find entertaining for obvious reasons. Also, I think my favorite bridge ever is the piano break in “Chop Chop.

The Academy Is… consistently put out great music in their time and were a crucial part of the late 2000s pop-punk scene. I’ll probably always rank them as one of my all-time favorite bands.

  1. “Black Mamba” – Almost Here (2005)
  2. “Slow Down” – Almost Here (2005)
  3. “The Phrase That Pays” – Almost Here (2005)
  4. “Down and Out” – Almost Here (2005)
  5. “The Fever” – From The Carpet EP (2006)
  6. “We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” – Santi (2007)
  7. “Chop Chop” – Santi (2007)
  8. “LAX to O’Hare” – Santi (2007)
  9. “40 Steps” – Santi Bonus Track (2007) *not on Spotify
  10. “About A Girl” Fast Times At Barrington High (2008)
  11. “After The Last Midtown Show” – Fast Times At Barrington High (2008)
  12. “Crowded Room” – Fast Times At Barrington High (2008)
  13. “Every Burden Has A Version” – Fast Times Bonus Track (2008) *not on Spotify
  14. “New York (Saint In The City)” – Lost In Pacific Time EP (2009)


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