In her debut single, Alison Sudol, the singer behind the stage name A Fine Frenzy, sees her dreams of love shattered when her "almost lover" leaves her brokenhearted. Sudol wrote the melancholy piano ballad when she was 19 (she was 22 when it was released). She recalled in a 2022 Songfacts interview
"The first song I wrote on piano was 'Almost Lover' and it was a song that I wrote out of pain and necessity. I remember thinking, 'This is as honest as I can be in this moment, and if people don't understand this, then I don't know if I should be making music.'"
As it turned out, a lot of people did understand it, and the song brought her a lot of attention that she wasn't ready for at such a young age.
"I certainly didn't expect it," she continued. "I was a dorky kid from Burbank. I was still living with my parents when I went on my first tour. I so didn't expect it, so I didn't handle it well when suddenly there was a considerable amount of attention and energy coming towards me and around it. I was unprepared and I didn't have a tool kit to field that attention. So, it was part of what started me on a little bit of a rocky road in terms of being a public figure and my mental health. But now I look back and it's still there, people are still incredibly connected to that song. Now I'm old enough and stable enough to enjoy that and hold space for whatever emotions people have that are connected to it. At 22, I didn't."