The 10 Best Hold Steady Songs

Rumors of rock and roll’s demise have been greatly exaggerated for almost as long as there’s been rock and roll, so it’s not like this generation has a monopoly on rockist panic. But as today’s most popular rock acts cease to be rock acts — Mumford And Sons’ pop-folk, Eric Church’s country-fried wallop, the car-ad concept art that is Imagine Dragons — rock purists have found themselves increasingly rudderless against the Billboard chart’s current. While it’s true that rock has been losing ground with young people for decades, it’s typically been to other genres. Now the other genres eat it from within.

This development, in and of itself, isn’t tragic. Pop culture cycles through its zeitgeists at a merciless clip by definition. The tragedy is that the cultural historians of the future will have a lot of “rock and roll is dead” think-pieces to wade through from this past decade, and they’ll risk missing one of the most exciting mini-eras in rock history. I’m talking, of course, about the already diminished but still ongoing reign of the Springsteen-indebted, punk-inflected bar band.

In that corner of the rock game, the Hold Steady remain peerless. Founding members Craig Finn and Tad Kubler came up through the Minneapolis punk scene in the ’90s with Lifter Puller (or LFTR PLLR), a critically acclaimed and locally beloved band that was never fully able to tap into a wider audience. (The attention paid to a set of reissues released in 2009 prevents the word “underrated” from being particularly accurate here.) If Lifter Puller’s white-hot collision course saw that act burn out from necessity, then necessity too brought Finn and Kubler back together four years later with a new band, obsessed with ’70s rock mythology and unafraid to pursue it to ends that wouldn’t fly in the DIY art-punk world. Their songs would be dance numbers, their albums would be parties, and their lyrics would be set in a seedier “Jungleland” with harder drugs.

2014 marks the Hold Steady’s tenth year as a band, and in those ten years, the following bands have formed and found success: The Gaslight Anthem, Titus Andronicus, The Men, The War on Drugs, Japandroids. Now, I certainly don’t mean to imply that these bands ripped the Hold Steady off, or even that they particularly sound similar. It does seem, however, that the road to a certain combination of rockcrit acclaim and fanbase passion runs through what the Hold Steady does best. The Boss, Thin Lizzy, Big Star, The Stooges, and The Replacements loom large, but it’s not mere pastiche that makes 800 kids scream in unison to songs their dads would like. It’s a mashup of the self-awareness that indie rock demands with a genuine belief that rock can be a great and powerful thing, a life-saving ether, and a legitimate medium for expressive, relevant art. In that regard, no one trumps Finn and Kubler.

This list was constructed to show the range the Hold Steady is capable of when they’re operating at their peak, and as such, no songs from 2010′s Heaven Is Whenever made the cut. It was the band’s first record after the departure of keyboardist Franz Nicolay, and it suffered for his absence. It took four years for the band to complete the follow-up, and it only takes one listen to see why. Teeth Dreams is the sound of the Hold Steady gracefully accepting middle age. On past records, the parties usually took place in the present tense, or at the very most, as a hungover reflection on the night before. Here, Finn conjures those memories across what feel like centuries, and the tightness of the band’s instrumental work matches his own more controlled yelp. It’s not the same kooks that blacked out on your living room floor ten years ago, but here we have a smarter, more sober Hold Steady, one that we’ll hopefully be able to enjoy for decades to come.

10. “Atlantic City” (from War Child Presents Heroes, 2009)

For most rock bands, citing a song they didn’t write as one of their best would come across as an insult. That’s not the case for the Hold Steady, who present a version of one of Springsteen’s best songs as if it had been written for Born To Run instead of Nebraska. Even this blatant act of hero worship comes with Finn and Kubler’s fingerprints all over it, though, and the result is undeniably a Hold Steady song. Ominous piano replaces the original acoustic guitar through the first minute or so, but when it gives way to saxophone, that foreboding turns into the kind of slightly scary party music this band has perfected. A few brilliant splashes of electric guitar and a chant-like repurposing of the song’s refrain (“Everything dies, that’s a fact/ Maybe everything that dies someday comes back”) close things out in appropriately bar-band fashion. Nebraska is perfect the way it is, but credit these dudes for making us a little wistful for a version co-starring the E Street Band.

9. “Sequestered In Memphis” (from Stay Positive, 2008)

In a 2005 interview, Craig Finn talked about his love of hip-hop. He name-dropped half the Rhymesayers roster and Jay-Z and said “Hip-hop is so much about lyrics…as a lyricist it’s hard not to be inspired by it.” The hip-hop influence in Finn’s lyrics is both blindingly obvious and surprisingly difficult to actually pinpoint. I’ve always though the pre-chorus to “Sequestered In Memphis” was a particularly brilliant bit of rap-cribbing: “In bar light, she looked alright/ In daylight, she looked desperate/That’s all right, I was desperate too/ I’m getting pretty sick of this interview.” In four lines — bars, really — we get a slant rhyme, an alliterative word replacement, and an ABCC rhyme pattern. Finn’s slurred delivery rolls over a rumbling sax that threatens to explode but never quite does, and the song ends with an AC/DC gang vocal bit and a drum solo. It’s an incredible song, smartly cloaking its nods to hip-hop in a pile of hard rock hallmarks, and it’s an effective antidote to every band who has ever played self-described rap-rock while understanding neither genre.

8. “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” (from Teeth Dreams, 2014)

The first single from the Hold Steady’s de facto comeback album sounds a lot like the leanest tracks from their early career classics, at least at first blush. Repeat listens reveal a few critical differences. First of all, whoa, there was a scene that terrified Craig Finn? This is a dude who found peace and serenity in a pair of near overdoses less than a decade ago. As Jarvis Cocker might put it, something changed. In keeping with Finn’s apparent maturation, the band’s playing is in rhythmic lockstep, and the production is crisp and clean. This sounds like a song that will have to be adapted from the studio to the bar rather than the other way around. Teeth Dreams is full of such cuts, but “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” admirably sets the tone for the record from the side-A needle drop. The chaos that dictated the band’s earlier albums has been dialed back, but that just makes Finn’s payoff lines hit even harder.

7. “South Town Girls” (from Boys And Girls In America, 2006)

Thus begins the impossible task of picking the best songs from Boys And Girls In America, one of the five or six best rock records of the last decade. Skipping around the track listing to listen to the ostensible highlights is a bit like turning off Pulp Fiction after the burger scene, but a few of the Boys And Girls bangers do bang just a bit harder than the rest. The closing track, “South Town Girls,” is one of them. It opens with a wobbly Finn a cappella that’s soon joined by his bandmates’ voices, then their instruments, but the Thin Lizzy break at the two-minute mark effectively washes away the memory of everything that came before it. In just under a minute, we get the best guitar solo in the Hold Steady’s discography, then their best twin lead guitar harmony, then a ripping harmonica solo. The vocals return, but they don’t really need to. If only this one time, Kubler’s whammy bar says more than Finn’s lyrics sheet ever could.

6. “Killer Parties” (from Almost Killed Me, 2004)

A sizable subset of the Hold Steady’s fan base believes that Almost Killed Me was their best record and that they’ll never top it, because it was their first record, and that’s how these things work. It’s not actually their best album — they sound self-assured, but the songwriting, and especially the performances, hadn’t yet caught up with the ambition. Still, “Killer Parties” is essentially the urtext for the Hold Steady aesthetic, with its admission of “Killer parties almost killed me” serving as equal parts drunken rallying cry and hungover whew, that was close. That duality lives at the core of the Hold Steady’s discography, and when the band staggers across that line more than once in the same song, the result is almost always good. (Also of note: The live recording of this song from A Positive Rage is nearly twice as long as the studio version, and Craig Finn is at least four times as drunk. It fucking rules.)

5. “How A Resurrection Really Feels” (from Separation Sunday, 2005)

Nearly all of the Hold Steady’s records have included references to Holly (née Hallelujah), Charlemagne, and Gideon, but the underrated Separation Sunday is the only album that sees Craig Finn slotting his noble-savage sleazeballs into a narrative rock opera. “How a Resurrection Really Feels” concludes the story, with the troubled, presumed-dead Holly storming into Easter mass and giving the priest a real-world illustration of that Sunday’s scripture. The musical accompaniment starts out in the mold of a classic Hold Steady barroom brawler, but it takes a profoundly sad turn as Finn invites us to reflect on everything our protagonist has been through. The song winds down with Nicolay’s piano, a tasteful Kubler guitar solo, and some very restrained guest horns before a gorgeous harpsichord coda brings the album to its conclusion. The concept album is a broadly maligned medium these days, but of course a band as devoted to the sounds of the ’70s as the Hold Steady would manage to make one as genuinely moving and unpretentious as this.

4. “Hot Soft Light” (from Boys And Girls In America, 2006)

As great as the Hold Steady are at crafting epics in miniature, some of their best songs are designed more as short, sharp shocks, knocking you down with a fat, vicious riff and leaving the room before you have time to gather yourself. “Hot Soft Light” is one such song, all power chords, sleazy shredding, and gurgling organ. Finn elevates it with one of his finest lyrical blends of the specific and universal, using Minnesota geography and the setlist of a heavy metal cover band to tell a story about a good night that got dark. Its beauty is in simplicity, and for a band with a predilection for the song-as-event, it’s a refreshing change of pace. P.S., Craig, can you put me in touch with the band that plays “Screaming For Vengeance” and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” before my wedding?

3. “One For The Cutters” (from Stay Positive, 2008)

In his great dissection of Bruce Springsteen’s discography for Grantland, Steven Hyden took exception to the idea that “an artist’s least characteristic work should somehow be considered superior to his most characteristic.” He was writing about Nebraska, which is quite possibly my favorite Springsteen album, albeit not necessarily because it doesn’t sound like any other Springsteen album. It holds a special place in my heart because it was my gateway to a fuller appreciation of the Boss, and “One For The Cutters” had a similar effect on my relationship to the Hold Steady. I fell in love with the rickety harpsichord and the quiet desperation (and familiarity) of its narrative — this is the best piece of Bloomington, Indiana-related art ever made, no disrespect to Breaking Away — before I fully gave myself over to anything by the Hold Steady that sounds like the Hold Steady. Even now, it holds up for me as an example of just how weird an already idiosyncratic band could get without compromising the foundations of their musical ethos. The darkness of Finn’s lyric couldn’t be bound by the usual electric bounce of his band’s sound, so they didn’t force it and instead came up with one of the best things they’ve ever done — characteristic or not.

2. “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” (from Separation Sunday, 2005)

“Your Little Hoodrat Friend” might be the best piece of characterization on any concept album ever. In four minutes, and without one throwaway line, we learn as much about Holly as Mark Twain ever taught us about Huckleberry Finn. We learn about two of her homemade tattoos: a neck piece that says “Jesus lived and died for all your sins” and a tramp stamp that says “Damn right, I’ll rise again.” We learn about her claddagh ring, and about the rowdy scene, where she drinks and smokes with our narrator — but doesn’t do anything sexual with him. The lyric is ushered along by a ceaseless lurch of palm-muted guitar and rumbling organ, and even though we’re taking in a lot of information, we hang on every word. Three decades after the concept album’s reign, and six years before Fucked Up made “Hello, my name is David/ Your name is Veronica” into one of hardcore’s best live sing-alongs, Craig Finn made us care enough about a fictional character on a rock record to want to learn everything about her. “Hoodrat” is an essential Hold Steady song because we can hear how much Finn cares about her, too.

1. “Stuck Between Stations” (from Boys And Girls In America, 2006)

If someone wanted to learn what the Hold Steady is all about but only wanted to listen to one song, you’d show that person “Stuck Between Stations.” It has everything the band hangs their hats on — the heady, referential lyrics, the tales of misspent (or simply spent) youth, the fat grooves, the insistent rhythms, the brilliant guitar-piano interplay between Kubler and Nicolay, and Finn’s barely-even-trying-to-sing warble. But the greatness of “Stuck Between Stations” isn’t just that it contains everything a great Hold Steady song is supposed to contain. It’s that it sees the band figuring out how to individually perfect all those elements and then coax them into working together more seamlessly than they’ve managed anywhere else. If Boys And Girls in America is a monument to everything good about this band, “Stuck Between Stations” is the keystone. It feels slapdash at first, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more meticulously assembled rock song written in the last ten years. That it’s so well-disguised as workmanlike is a testament to the mastery of its makers.

Comments (50)
  1. Whoa… “Chips Ahoy!” doesn’t even make an appearance? Sad day.

  2. Not a bad list. But I want to throw out some love to Chillout Tent. The horns on the chorus to that one gives me chills every time.

  3. Slapped Actress?

  4. As you said it yourself in the blurb, there’s really no reason for Atlantic City to be here. Also, I’d take Spinners over Didn’t Frighten You any day.

    My list: Stuck Between Stations, Slapped Actress, Swish, Sequestered, Banging Camp, You Can Make Him Like You, Magazines, Stevie Nix, Weekenders, Party Pit.

    God, that was tough. What a great band.

    • “Weekenders” was definitely the standout of Heaven Is Whenever. I could exchange “Constructive Summer” for “Sequestered In Memphis, but otherwise enjoy your picks.

    • I came here to bitch and moan and post my top ten but it’s pretty much the same as yours.. damn..

      that said, I’d take Constructive Summer over Sequestered and Killer Parties over Party Pit. But yeah.. good calls. And what a band.

    • Re Atlantic City, if you wanted the definitive E-Street Band version, you can get it on Springsteen’s Live in New York City…

  5. we really have to include the new single? we could probably cycle through two-thirds of their catalog before we decide to rank that one. and it’s such a huge waste of space to include atlantic city (oh i thought these 10 best songs lists didn’t include covers, weird).

    the rest of this ranges from essential to debatable. i do like the inclusion of killer parties, which i was afraid you’d leave out, but you could’ve thrown in another song from almost killed me.

  6. First Night is the obvious highlight on Boys and Girls in America for me

    • Me too, man. I feel like that one frequently gets overlooked, and I can never understand why.

      • First Night was the last thing I cut. It’s so, so great, but then just about everything about Boys and Girls in America is great, and I couldn’t bring myself to put more than three tracks from a single album. You’ve got a strong case for its inclusion, though.

    • #1 for sure

      • I was sad to see the lack of “First Night” as well. It was the first song I truly loved by them.

        Then there was no “Chips Ahoy”!!

        Not surprised to not see “Lord, I’m Discouraged,” but man do I love that song.

        SHOCKED to see “One for the Cutters” but that would absolutely be in my top 3, so I’m thrilled.

        Really surprised not to see “Charlemagne in Sweatpants” or “The Swish” as well

  7. In any order:
    Killer Parties
    The Swish
    Hurricane J
    Slapped Actress
    Sequestered in Memphis
    Your Little Hoodrat Friend
    Chillout Tent
    The Weekenders
    Multitude of Casualties
    How A Ressurection Really Feels

  8. The Hold Steady is one of my favorite bands, so needless to say I have some opinions. First, I disagree with a few of the songs and the placements on the list, but everybody’s tastes are different and there are so many great Hold Steady songs, so I won’t complain. That said, the inclusion of “Atlantic City” is a joke (and “One For the Cutters,” but whatever), not because it was a cover, but because it was such an obvious choice of a cover song and applying the Hold Steady’s signature style did nothing to illuminate another side of the well-known song. If you needed to choose a cover song, you should have chosen the band’s definitive version of Bob Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” from the I’m Not There soundtrack. While “Atlantic City” is too famous to look like anything other than idol worship. “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” fits seamlessly into the Hold Steady canon, and displays the band at its bar-rockin’-est best.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwxM899DzzI

    • Might as well post my list (in some order):

      Your Little Hoodrat Friend
      How a Resurrection Really Feels
      Lord I’m Discouraged
      First Night
      The Swish
      Stevie Nix
      Don’t Let Me Explode
      Cattle and the Creeping Things
      Massive Nights
      Sequestered in Memphis

  9. oh.  |   Posted on Mar 11th -9

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • but what else is there to really do, you know? we work and sleep and eat and play with our kids and dream and eventually die, but what do we do with those little, lost, inbetween moments of every long, endless day? what do we do after the lights burn out and the tides dry up and the stars fall longingly from the deepest, blackest sky there ever was, and in that brief, beautiful time after you kiss your first child hello but before your body is borne into ashes?

      simple. we read best-of lists.

    • I see these complaints pop up every time one of these posts roll around, and I really don’t get it. You’re on the internet right now – how often do you really spend your free time on the internet doing something that ISN’T ultimately pointless? You don’t like these lists? Fine, don’t bother handing them a page view. But goddammit man, I DO like a good list.

      …So with all due respect, fuck your opinion.

      • oh.  |   Posted on Mar 12th 0

        Because I like to read and learn about music, and Stereogum used to be good for that, and now it’s not.

  10. As much as I love Chips Ahoy!, it’s exclusion is such an obvious injustice that there’s no real point in complaining about it. And then there’s Knuckles:

    “I’ve been trying to get people to call me Sunny D.
    ‘Cause I got the good stuff the kids go for
    But people keep calling me Five Alive”

    It’s top 10 worthy at least

    • Yes for Knuckles.

      I signed up just to say this:

      top five: Banging Camp, Hoodrat, Hot Soft Light, Knuckles, Most People Are DJs
      next five: Killer Parties, Multitude of Casualties, Slapped Actress, Stations, You Can Make Him Like You

  11. I’m a little baffled by your choice to include Atlantic City on here. Yes, it’s a great cover, but in my mind, it misses the beauty of the Hold Steady. The really power of the band is the interplay between the music and Craig’s lyrics, and you miss that on a story he didn’t write. He does a great job telling it, but it’s like going to church and hearing your preacher preach a great sermon on the Bhagavad Gita. It might be appreciated and inspiring, but in the end it’s just not why you came.

    Still some great choices here, as with any discography, it’s all subjective. My top ten, in roughly chronological order (choosing ten was hard enough without having to rank them): Certain Songs, Sweet Payne, Stevie Nix, Multitude of Casualties, How a Resurrection Really Feels, Chips Ahoy, First Night, Constructive Summer, Slapped Actress, The Weekenders.

  12. Their version of “Atlantic City” sounds blasted out because it’s informed more by the way he often plays it live, like the version on Live In New York. And the fact that “Cattle In The Creeping Things” isn’t on here is ridiculous. For my money that’s easily their definitive song.

  13. Not sure I agree with the list provided. Here’s my TOP TEN after a six pack on a sunny summer afternoon….
    1. Stuck Between Stations
    2. Southtown Girls
    3. Constructive Summer
    4. Hornets Hornets
    5. You Can make Him Like You
    6. The Swish
    7. Multitude of Casualties
    8. How a Resurrection Really Feels
    9. Certain Songs
    10. Magazines

  14. The biggest absence to me is probably Constructive Summer, which might be the Hold Steadiest song they ever wrote.

    I think your list is weird, but I liked reading it.

  15. Two of my favourite Hold Steady songs are Weekenders and Party Pit. Great to see Atlantic City in here. Great version.

  16. I still remember the first snare kick and power chord of “Positive Jam” the first time I listened to it (and subsequently hearing and seeing in concert on the “Stay Positive” tour where it was the opening song): Compelling and pure rock and roll. Great list and write-up other this small ommission.

  17. No love for Hornets! Hornets!?

  18. In any order-

    Both Crosses
    Massive Nights
    You Can Make Him Like You
    Killer Parties
    Sequestered in Memphis
    Chips Ahoy!
    Lord, I’m Discouraged
    Stuck Between Stations
    Slapped Actress
    First Night

    Seriously, though, you say some amazing things about The Hold Steady. They truly are a great rock band that deserves all the love and respect out there. Boys and Girls is a perfect album. Period. And there are very few albums that take me to such a brilliant, nostalgic place.

  19. I normally enjoy Stereogum lists, but this one is really odd to me.

    Including the Atlantic City cover is such a waste. It’s a fine cover, but their catalog is so strong I don’t see the point in including it. It reads like you only actually like 9 Hold Steady songs.

    Putting the new single in this list already made me groan for similar reasons. I like the new song too, but my feelings on it won’t fully settle until I hear the whole new album and get some perspective on where they are now. Again, putting that in there already just makes it seem like you didn’t know which previous songs to choose, which isn’t glowing praise.

    I think Heaven Is Whenever is sort of underrated in general. It was a pretty good album, clearly their least impressive effort, but not bad by any means. That said, none of its songs are top 10 worthy. Just felt like throwing that out there.

    My favorite Hold Steady songs would probably change depending on the day you asked me, but right now I’m most disappointed to not see “Stevie Nix” and “Party Pit” in this list. The “gonna walk around and drink some more” ending to the latter never fails to pump me up.

  20. Okay, I’m not going to say this list is bad – because it’s not and who am I to say that?

    Everyone’s tastes are different and I appreciate seeing the Hold Steady get covered here at all, but a handful of these are songs I’d put near the very bottom of their catalogue – and that’s coming from a huge fan of theirs.

    “One for the Cutters” might be my least favorite THS song.
    “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” (feels weird to even have it here) and “Atlantic City” (THS is not a great band for covers, IMO) would be down near there. And I could name a half-dozen songs I’d pick from BAGIA before “Hot Soft Light”, but…

    I’ll give you my list, turnabout being fair play, and eagerly await it being ripped apart.

    1. Banging Camp – a great song with all of the necessary THS themes in play & explodes when they play it live

    2. Killer Parties

    3. How a Resurrection Really Feels – these two are almost tied together for me, seeing as they are typical closers that trade off with one another at shows.

    4. Stevie Nix – another on that gain surprising power in a live environment, but kicks ass regardless

    5. Stuck Between Stations – The first THS song I heard, I was running over the bridge between West and East banks of the University of Minnesota campus and it changed the way I looked at the city.

    6. Party Pit – The run from “First Night” to “Massive Nights” is my favorite run of songs in their catalogue. I just arbitrarily picked this one out of it.

    7. Chips Ahoy – best mix of storytelling and melody in a Hold Steady song, IMO

    8. Slapped Actress – THS are really good at closing albums

    9. The Sweet Part of the City – A warm welcome to a middle-of-the-road album.

    10. The Swish – most pop culture references in a THS song?

    Okay, rip away!

  21. Hold Steady is probably my favourite band of all time, and I was genuinely thrilled to see this list. I would never ever include Atlantic City, I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You or One For The Cutters. But the top two is hard to disagree with.

    As it is with favourite bands, a top ten list is impossible. Not only are there a to large number of great songs, but to me it’s also difficult to rank the “epics” (Killer Parties, Resurrection, First Night, Southtown Girls, Slapped Actress and so on) on the same list as the shorter, rockier ones. There’s also an urge to give underrated or not that frequentley heard songs (like a couple of the b-sides, or the forgotten album tracks) some credit.

    Anyway, this is my list:

    01. Stuck Between Stations
    02. Banging Camp
    03. Your Little Hoodrat Friend
    04. Constructive Summer
    05. Girls Like Status
    06. Most People Are DJs
    07. Our Whole Lives
    08. Stevie Nix
    09. Sweet Part Of The City
    10. Chips Ahoy!

    Honorable mentions: Positive Jam, Killer Parties (both songs are great in its own right, but to me they’re just as much a part of the big concept, what everything is founded in), Sweet Payne, Resurrection, First Night, Party Pit, Ask Her For Adderall, Rock Problems, Arms And Hearts, You Gotta Dance, Spinners)

  22. Ahhhh 5th horse in the 6th race guys, Chips Ahoy! all the way. Massive Nights too deserves a mention, oh such fun

  23. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  24. seeing a top 10 HS list was cool but i hardly agreed with any of this. nevertheless, stuck between stations is a pretty worthy (if not predictable) #1 and killer parties was an awesome inclusion. i can’t wait to hear teeth dreams.

  25. Line for line, I love the shit out of “The Cattle and the Creeping Things”

    “I guess I heard about original sin/I heard the dude blamed the chick, I heard the chick blamed the snake
    And I heard they were naked when they got busted/And I heard things ain’t been the same since”
    This part in particular

  26. My top 10 HS songs not on this list:

    BANGING CAMP
    STEVIE NICKS
    CERTAIN SONGS
    HOSTILE, MASS
    CHIPS AHOY!
    MULTITUDE OF CASUALTIES
    MODESTO IS NOT THAT SWEET
    MOST PEOPLE ARE DJs
    SWEET PART OF THE CITY
    FIRST NIGHT

    “Cutters”, “Atlantic City”, the new single, and (sorry) “Southtown Girls” don’t belong on this list, and there are a few better choices from B&GIA than “Hot Soft Light” too..

    • thank you, because i am kind of annoyed at everyone’s fondness for southtown girls. it’s a decent song, a nice entry point to their catalog, and an okay closer for the album, but i never really accepted its chorus among any of the truly great hold steady choruses, wordless or with words. i actually think it holds the album back from being an insane classic party record. “southtown girls won’t blow you away/but you know that they’ll stay” is a little forced and always struck me as a little cringe-y.

  27. I’m not sure it makes my top ten, but I just want to give a shout out to Hurricane J. That chorus is great.

  28. Good to see some love for How A Resurrection Really Feels. Separation Sunday is my favourite THS album by a long way – it is just magnificent. Always loved the one-two punch that is A Multitude of Casualties and Don’t Let Me Explode in the middle of the record: it was the first time I ever got one of the cross album references (she wiped at her nose and she winked) and from then I knew we were mere mortals to Craig Finn’s demented, lyrical rock god. Other mentions go to The Weekenders (the one song from Heaven Is Whenever I find myself returning to as often as I do the other records, although Barely Breathing and Hurricane J deserve a mention too), Ask Her For Adderall, Joke About Jamaica, Sweet Payne, Two Handed Handshake, Stevie Nix and the sheer magic that is Party Pit. My favourite band, period.

  29. Hurricane J should be on here as the one track from Heaven.

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