The Hold Steady - Stay Positive CD Review (Vagrant Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive CD Review (Vagrant Records)

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive CD ReviewSince this disc was released in July, The Hold Steady's music and Craig Finn's lyrics have been debated ad nauseam across Internet. I don't think that I can add anything new to the debate but I too will have Stay Positive on my "Best of 2008" list. I would expect Stay Positive to be a turning point release for the band and catapult them from the larger halls into the arenas. (The ascendency path is similar to Kings of Leon, who are headlining Madison Square Gardens next month).

A lot of the reviews that I have read compare The Hold Steady to Bruce Springsteen. I made the same comparison at first but, after a few listens to the disc, now I'm not so sure that this comparison holds. I haven't kept up with the last handful of Springsteen releases but I'm left with the impression that he has moved away from the detailed narratives/stories of his early work. Going back to The River, Nebraska and earlier, I always found Springsteen's stories to be tales of redemption and his characters as 'beautiful losers.' This isn't the case with The Hold Steady....Craig Finn's narratives are one part Flannery O'Connor and one part Catholic guilt. He tells tales of drugs, murder and people who have lost their way while the band plays anthemic/sing-along arena rock.

For fans (or the uninitiated), live performances of five of the songs from Stay Positive are available as a free download on AOL's The Interface. The band also recently released a promo video for the song "Stay Positive".

STAY POSITIVE - The Hold Steady

This disc caught me out of left field and I've probably played it a dozen times over the last few weeks. If The Hold Steady keep on their course "their sing along songs" will become scriptures for a legion of fans.

The Hold Steady's Website
The Hold Steady's MySpace Profile