For half a decade, the Academy Is... watched from the sidelines as Fall Out Boy became the Midwestern kings of emo. Fast Times at Barrington High makes a well-deserved grab for the crown, though, flaunting a combination of rock & roll bombast and pop-schooled songwriting. It's hard to tell how much credit belongs to frontman William Beckett, whose vocals and songwriting skills have nicely progressed since the band's debut, and which accolades go to Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, the production team otherwise known as S*A*M & Sluggo. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the album's first six songs, all written with the duo's help, are also the most radio-ready pop numbers here. "Summer Hair = Forever Young" is a fist-pumping declaration to youth and warm weather, while "His Girl Friday" -- the highlight of side A -- boasts the sort of muscled, sugary chorus found on albums by Motion City Soundtrack and Jimmy Eat World. The mood changes slightly during the album's latter half, where Beckett takes over the songwriting reigns and steers his band closer to the rock camp. "Beware! Cougar!" is a particular highlight, while "After the Last Midtown Show" pays tribute to Gabe Saporta's former band with piano flourishes and vocal harmonies. Fast Times at Barrington High doesn't go to the hoop with every song, but it scores more than enough points to make it a career highlight, not to mention one of the best emo-pop albums of 2008.
Performance CreditsAcademy Is... Primary Artist
Gabe Saporta Vocals
Michael-Guy Chislett Guitar,Keyboards,Group Member
Andrew McMahon Piano,Guest Appearance
Blake Healy Keyboards,Guest Appearance
William Beckett Vocals,Group Member
Mike Carden Guitar,Group Member
Andrew James McMahon Piano
Alex Suarez Vocals
Ryland Blackinton Vocals
Mason Musso Vocals
Butcher Drums,Background Vocals,Group Member
Adam T. Siska Bass Guitar
Technical CreditsDave Katz Lyricist,Melody Arrangement
Bryan Russell Engineer
Sam Hollander Composer,Lyricist,Melody Arrangement
Bob McLynn Management
Sean Gould Engineer
Eric Wong Marketing
Academy Is... Composer
William Beckett Lyricist,Melody Arrangement
Mike Yardley Art Direction
Tony Marino Management
Jack Edinger Art Direction
Murray Richman Management
Nathan Richman Management
Alex Sarti Management
Jonathan Daniel Management
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
To say that The Academy Is... Fast Times at Barrington High is an emo album would be a insult to the genre, one I am a diehard fan of. But it is an exceptional album to go along with the other pop-punk sounds produced by the Fueled by Ramen label. It makes for great catchy listening when you're ears are worn out from listening to too much winter and death in AFI. I found myself singing along to the lyrics as they are easily accesible and relatable to any high schooler. I would highly recommend it to many of my friends.
The Academy Is...pulls it off again. With the release of their 3rd album, TAI has hit the perfect combo of poppy dance tunes and catchy lyrics, with the more serious songs. All have a great drum beat, courtesy of Butcher, and Bill's voice is just icing on the cake of this musical desert. & quot Rumored Nights& quot and & quot One More Weekend& quot just about stun. This album sums up the high-school experience and leaves the TAI fans wanting more. Great for a party, or falling asleep. By far their best album yet.