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March 06, 2007



This shameless ploy to attract the attention of litbloggers who are ALSO Hold Steady fans will not work, sir! And you're misquoting the song. It's WE, not she. And Holly is reacting because "she cried when she told us about Jesus," meaning that her seduction was proselytizing. Religious experiences, as we all know, are often described as "a high." Please consider the nuances of Mr. Finn's lyrics. As you yourself attest, there's a lot more going on than mere literalism.


No ploy, Ed. Appreciation. And I'm not misquoting the song because I deliberately did not put the "me" in quotations. The religious undertones of the song, carried over from Separaration Sunday, don't detract from the, yes, literal fact that Holly's in the hospital from what is likely an overdose in her search to reclaim the peace of her first high ("On that first night, she slept like she'd never been scared"). That "she said words alone never could save us" and that she "cried and she told us about Jesus" (correcting your misquote above) is not the likely reason she's in the hospital, though it certainly adds to my love of the character, my addiction to the song, and my appreciation of Mr. Finn.


For the record, I appreciated the post. I only found The Hold Steady a few weeks ago and have been trying to figure out whether they might actually be as good as I feel they are. It seems that they are. After a friend told me "[Finn's] the new Springsteen" I was wary. (I can't stand Bruce.) But I think you're right, Josh. The Hold Steady seems literate and fresh and can tell a story with the best of 'em.


Ugh, you guys CAN'T be serious! This album is the dregs. THE DREGS. And I don't take much pleasure in dregs. Okay, the lyrics are good. But the music? Barenaked Ladies plus a whole lot of blah. That's all I'm saying.

Okay, that last bit's a lie: If you want good lyrics AND music, go get the new The Arcade Fire album. It's unbelievable.

Now I'm done.


Definitely not the Hold Steady's best album but far from the dregs. If you truly want to experience what THS is about, you have to see them live. They've picked up where Guided by Voices left off as far as the live show goes. Not even the Arcade Fire, with all of their energy, can come close to Finn & the boys when it comes to dynamic stage presence (and drinking).


I have the same reaction to the Hold Steady: namely, that the events and characters depicted by Finn are so far outside of my normal experience that I can't believe they hold as much meaning for me as they do.

As for the Barenaked Ladies comparison, that is nothing but slander -- not only because the Barenaked Ladies are mostly awful, but because the Hold Steady don't sound even remotely like them.

The new Arcade Fire is very good, but not in the same way as tHS, so the comparison is not a very productive one.


seeing the hold steady (on Mar 17) was the best live show I have ever seen. and I've seen many. I was a fan of THS before but seeing them made me a diehard fan.


Barenaked Ladies??? You've got to be kidding me. There are a thousand different musical influences you can hear in the Hold Steady, and the Ladies are not one of them. The only lyricist who challenges Finn as the best around right now is John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

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