Simply, The Hold Steady

Far be it from me to tread on the territory of Uncle E and his Musical Nightmares, but CDs this good don't come around all the time.

No, not the new Coldplay CD (of course, if someone wants to send it to me for a listen, I'm ears).

No, I'm talking about The Hold Steady's "Stay Positive." It's been on constant rotation since I downloaded it from iTunes. My opinion? Best album release of the year (but that's so subjective that I will clarify that it's the best release I've heard, downloaded, researched).

Craig Finn's voice takes some getting used to, but the man can paint a scene with his lyrics.
In an early interview with The Guardian, Finn said this about The Doors "L.A. Woman:" "The music meanders, and Morrison was more like a drunk asshole than an intelligent poet. The worst of the worst is the last song, Riders on the Storm: 'There's a killer on the road/ His brain is squirming like a toad' - that's surely the worst line in rock 'n' roll history. He gave the green light to generations of pseuds."

Ballsy.

But check out these gems from "Stay Positive:"

"It started when we were dancin’
It got heavy when we got to the bathroom.
We didn’t go back to her place,
We went to some place where she cat-sits.
She said, “I know I look tired, but everything’s fried, here in Memphis.”
- "Sequestered in Memphis

"She says sometimes she sees these things
right before they're happening
hail Mary full of grace
some nights she swears she feels her face
she's known a couple boys that died
and two of them were crucified
and the last one had enlightened eyes
but the first guy he was Jesus Christ
hey Judas - i know you made a grave mistake
hey Peter - you've been pretty sweet since easter break
now she's four a.m. and she's wide awake."
- Both Crosses

"Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer
I think he might’ve been our only decent teacher
Getting older makes it harder to remember…we are our only saviors
We’re gonna build something, this summer."

- "Constructive Summer"

4 comments:

Uncle E said...

God, so weird. I was talking to Philbert just last night about the Hold Steady. They are an incredible band, kind of like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Social Distortion. I really need to pick up the new one now...

Noah the Great said...

My favorite CDs so far this year are Russian Circles' Station and Forward Russia's Life Processes. It's funny that both have Russia. :P

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. . . attended the Al Stewart concert in Dunsmuir on Saturday. Outstanding, intimate concert. Al brought along an acoustic picker to accompany him, Dave Nachmanoff. Dave finished a song with a blistering solo and everyone got up on their feet and wildly cheered his effort and the infectious music. When the song ended, he acknowledged and thanked the crowd and said, "You know, Al has written some of the most exceptional lyrics I've ever heard. Why is it that the crowd always cheers wildly for an instrumental solo but never at the end of extraordinary lyrics? That never happens. Why is that?"
Hmmm. . . I think I may know the answer to that one. What do you think?

Jason said...

I love the first two verses of Constructive Summer:

"Me and my friends are like the drums on "Lust for Life”
We pound it out on floor toms
Our psalms are sing-along songs"

...

"Me and my friends are like 'Double-whiskey-coke-no-ice.'
We drink along in double time; might drink too much, but we feel fine
We’re gonna build something, this summer.
Gonna build something, this summer. "

Really good stuff.