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Top Customer Reviews
Stay Positive was released in digital form last month and like it's predecessors gets off to a rocking start with "Constructive Summer" which revisits Boys and Girls in America's theme of partying with friends while tossing in a toast to "St. Joe Strummer" who "might have been our only decent teacher". "Sequestered in Memphis" keeps the rocking party going but throws some shadows in the lyrics. There are subpoenas and sequesters, and the lyrics seem to be the response to an interrogation. In Craig Finn's addled world you don't go back to her place when you leave the bar, you go to "someplace where she cat sits".
When a harpsicord leads off the third song "One for the Cutters" you start to realize you may not be in Minnesota anymore. Kids are being killed, suspects are on the run, and every townie is being paraded to the police station. What follows in the album are the consequences to the partying. Characters are older but not wiser, and aging but not gracefully. Holly (who like Gideon and Charlemagne are never named) may be in worse shape than where she was left in the song "First Night" from BAGIA. "Lord I'm Discouraged", a heartbreaking ballad with a monster guitar solo finds the singer pining away for her and praying "she don't die".
Even the title track "Stay Positive" warns "There's gonna time a time when the scene'll seem less sunny.Read more ›
In the rock press The Hold Steady is often referred to as a unique blending of The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen, but they'r much more than that. In the opening track "Constructive Summer" they mine the ground formerly occupied by another Minneapolis band, Husker Du and name drops Joe Strummer opining that "I think he might have been our only decent teacher". The song is similar to many of their earlier works except that the characters are older and a bit more damaged a world of dashed hopes and diminishing expectations. Craig Finn writes abotu these scenes as if he's not only lived them, but breathed them and drank them down. Never is this more in evidence than on the second track, and obvious single "Sequestered in Memphis" a rollicking account of a one night stand. If your not singing along by the second chorus of this one then this band is not for you.
Despite it's title Stay Positive is a fairly dark album in content. On Boys and Girls in America the characters were young hard partiers who still had their optimism. Now they're older and more beaten up by life. On "One for the Cutters" with it's murder mystery theme and harpsichord (!) tones this is in particular evidence.Read more ›
I'll gladly pay twice if somebody can tell me that the vinyl was treated differently.
Musically, this is the best album of the year.
Sonically, the wrong mastering for what should be a loud, dynamic rock masterpiece.
The base sound is very similar to "Boys and Girls In America", it's more rocking, fist-pumping, and arena-ready than "Separation Sunday", another step in the bands sonic path that is to be expected based on their last album. What they've added are some subtle musical touches (a harpsichord and banjo, most notably) and a shift in lyrical subject matter. Where as their previous albums were all about the parties themselves, "Stay Positive" focuses on the aftermath, including a murder mystery that plays out over a few of the tracks.
"Constructive Summer" is the best anthem they've written, it has a definite punk influence and will probably be a huge hit in a live setting. There are a few other anthems throughout the album, "Sequestered In Memphis" and "Stay Positive" are notable standouts. I think this album really succeeds on the slower songs. Where as on "Boys & Girls" the slower songs dragged the album down in my opinion, here they really take the album to a whole other level. "One for the Cutters" is slower track, but it is also an excellent track that stands up amongst the bands best.
The trademark Craig Finn wit is all over the album, as expected, my personal favorite gem this time around is from "Sequestered In Memphis": "In the barlight, she looked alright/In the daylight, she looked desperate/That's alright, I was desperate too.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Hold Steady have their greatest weakness and strength in the same person, Craig Finn...he can't really sing, but his lyrics can tell excellent stories, and some of his lines... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Daniel W. Bleier
This album has been my favorite from THS. I got this for Christmas along with a record player. This is the best.Published 18 months ago by Munchkin
After reading good reviews and compared to classic rock sounds from Springsteen, Thin Lizzy, Bruce Hornsby, etc. I bought a few of their CD's. I don't get them. Read morePublished on May 19, 2014 by CHAK
Long one of my favorite unheralded bands you only have to listen to Yeah Sapphire to know why this band is good. It pounds out east coast magic with the best of them. Try it out. Read morePublished on April 12, 2014 by Kevin Maledy
This is supposed to be the great album of 2008? Lyrics are written very well but the music is just unspiring. In other words this is pretty lame I want my money and time back! Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by FATHERFINGER
First album I got from these guys. Pretty damn good. Like a good American rock band with a bit of a punk attitude.Published on September 5, 2013 by John A Beavers
The Hold Steady never disaappoints. This has been in my CD player since I bought it. Order it and you won't be disappointed!Published on July 13, 2013 by Bradley S. Clanton
I must preface this review by saying that "Boys and Girls in America" is probably in my top 25 albums EVER and certainly in the top 5 of the past decade. Read morePublished on May 31, 2013 by soalivetoday
...it might sound something like this. Clever lyrics and plenty of bombast, a unique combination. Why wouldn't you buy it?Published on December 24, 2012 by David Caven