Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Hold Steady 

Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant)

Wednesday, Oct 11 2006
Craig Finn's ramblings about religious girls having sex with soccer players, chums passing beer bottles under bridges, and house parties long forgotten have always charmed, but that magic wears off on his latest record with the Hold Steady. While previous releases rocked like jug-bitten partygoers falling off a balcony, the music gets slower and the subject matter a bit more somber on Boys and Girls in America (the title is taken from the Jack Kerouac line, "Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.") Instead of holding drunkards spellbound with his brutally witty lyrics and slobbery voice, Finn now drowns his tales in sticky sentiment and wallowing romanticism; Ballads such as "First Night" and "Citrus" are just plain drippy. (Another problem area: The song "Chillout Tent" features Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Elizabeth Elmore of the Reputation singing background vocals. However, their voices are poorly mixed into the tune and sound like they were recorded in a totally different studio in another country, making for a messy catastrophe of a song.) The Hold Steady's brainy bar rock sound has embarrassingly devolved into full-on, piano-added-for-dramatic-effect arena rock, like Springsteen and the E Street Band at its most cornball. — Adam Bregman

About The Author

Adam Bregman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"