14. Arcade Academy Untitled Acoustic Demo
This is the weirdest thing to appear on this list. Most of my write-ups as much as they are intended to be a peak into the inner workings of Matt Kelly (and a writing exercise to force myself to always have weekly content) it’s also intended to advertise and promote something I love. This is the first and only product that is physically impossible to own as it was never completely recorded and released.
During my last semester of college I had a serious break up through what I felt like was infidelity. I took the girl back (and then we broke up six months later, but that’s a moot point), during my heart-break I began talking to Mike Doyle of New Jersey Pop-Punk band Lanemeyer. I had met Doyle a year or two prior at a Weston/Lanemeyer reunion show. We talked occasionally about music but were never close friends. Regardless of this he happened to be online and thus became the person I vented too.
Doyle had gone through a similarly rough break up a few years before-hand. He had gone to a therapist and started writing his emotions out in some songs for his band at the time Arcade Academy. He sent me the demos to cheer me up (but also I’m sure for me to listen and give him opinions). The Demo is only 5 tracks, but it saddens me that more people won’t hear the five songs.
The opening track For Like Ever was my favorite. It begins with ‘Today I took all your things, your notes and our photographs/Dowsed them all, lit it up, watched our past fill up the sky in smoke’. Ben Folds covered similar themes in Smoke but regardless Doyle has set the ground work of a bad break up. One of my favorite lines in the album comes from this track in the lyric ‘And it’s all my fault/Cause I hate that we like the same songs’. There’s nothing worse than a break up that affects your enjoyment level of movies, books and songs, but it happens.
The next song I Need to Have a Chat With Doug Hopkins continues the as each day starts to feel better. Doyle begins reflecting on the negative aspects of their relationship how he ‘tried hard to impress’ and received ‘no love at all’. Meanwhile the next track I’d Rather Take a Bat to your Face is the angriest and spiteful of the five songs.
We see even more of the story in Hey California, Jersey’s Better Off when the mysterious and nameless girl seems to have gotten engaged after just seven months of her new relationship. The closing track Thanks Dr. DePaul ends on a happy note. Doyle has moved on, the power of songwriting has helped Doyle move on with his life. Ending with lyric ‘I have some songs that I will write and it makes this better/We stay up and follow our hearts’.
Doyle moved on and is now married. Meanwhile Arcade Academy broke up. While this demo was something that only a select few people have ever heard, it was one of the most important recordings I’ve ever heard. It got me through the first rough patch in the break up and Punchline: 37 Everywhere/Just Say Yes helped me through the final break up.