Tag Archives: hold steady

Your daily dose of Vitamin C

18 May

If you don’t want scurvy, just listen to the following songs:

“Orange Juice” – EarlWolf

“Orange Pineapple Juice” – Common

“Orange Crush” – R.E.M.

“Tangerine” – Big Boi

“Citrus” – The Hold Steady

Now that you’re feeling right, come back tomorrow for some real content.

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Words won’t save your life…Ten insightful lines from The Hold Steady

9 Aug

In case you were wondering, I really, really enjoy The Hold Steady. And the biggest reason why is Craig Finn’s lyrics. Critics love to dub him a poet, but I prefer to think of him as a novelist with excellent pacing. 

Because Finn is a hell of a storyteller, I found it rather difficult to quantify his best lines. Often times, the words lose their impact without the context of the entire song. I did my best here to pick out lyrics that stand alone as profound statements or insightful observations.  

Here’s my top 10:

10. “Half the crowd is calling our for ‘Born to Run’ and the other half is calling out for ‘Born To Lose’ / Baby we were born to choose / We got the last-call-bar-band-really-big-decision blues” – Barfly Blues

Yes, The Hold Steady sound like a bar band. No objections here. Here’s an analogy for you – Hootie and the Blowfish is to high school dropouts as The Hold Steady is to private college graduates.

9. “She’s sick of the questions, sick of the concept of justice and fairness / Who the hell cares who gets caught in the middle? / She smokes as she ponders this riddle: When one townie falls in the forest, can anyone hear it?” – One For The Cutters

Best lyric from the new album Stay Positive. It’s much more powerful as the conclusion of the story than an individual lyric. But I think it still belongs on the list.

8. “She crashed into the Easter mass with her hair done up in broken glass / She was limping left on broken heels when she said “Father, can I tell your congregation how a resurrection really feels?”” – How A Resurrection Really Feels

I just can’t get over the “hair done up in broken glass” part. What a visual.

7. “Silly rabbit, tripping is for teenagers / Murder is for murderers / And hard drugs are for bartenders” – Cattle and Creeping Things

Trix references are fine by me. So is calling out bartenders for getting blasted. 

6. “Lost in fog and love and faith was fear / I’ve had kisses that make Judas seem sincere” – Citrus

Finn definitely has a Catholic fetish that he sometimes beats into the ground. But I can relate to the sentiment. Been there, done that. That’s why The Hold Steady speaks to me. 

5. “I really like the crowds at the really big shows / People touching people that they don’t even know” – Hornets! Hornets!

Seriously, this is why I go to so many concerts (besides the music). It’s such a trip. You’ll sing and dance with total strangers, then the lights come on and everyone parts ways. Most of the time you never see the people from concerts again, but they stick around in the memories. It’s so beautiful and bizarre. 

4. “Holly wore a string around her finger / There are strings attached to every single lover / But still they can’t even tether us together” – Banging Camp

Here he combines a common practice with a common expression to create something entirely new. The world would be a better place if other songwriters approached the level of Finn’s talent.

3. “You came into the ER drinking gin from a jam jar / And the nurse is making jokes about the ER being like an after bar” – Stevie Nix

I don’t know if this actually happened to Finn or not, but this is an amazing anecdote. 

2. “Don’t even speak to all those sequin-surfed beach boys / When they kiss they spit white noise” – First Night

I don’t really think I need to quantify why this is a great line. However, I feel the need to give Finn props for putting Hollister d-bags in their place.

1. “Your don’t have to go to the right kind of schools / Let your boyfriend come from the right kind of school / You can wear his old sweatshirt / You can cover yourself like a bruise” – You Can Make Him Like You

What a devastating lyric. It’s so real and honest. Cuts through the bullshit like a Ginsu.