• Record Label: Vagrant
  • Release Date: Oct 3, 2006
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 94 out of 105
  2. Negative: 6 out of 105

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  1. NathanielA
    Nov 9, 2006
    0
    Regurgitated, reprehensible bar rock with no redeeming value whatsoever.
  2. Andy
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    The Hold Steady get better and better with each album release. Yeah, our government is in turmoil and there's a war going on an ocean away, but lets leave that to the hundreds of other bands and country singers suck that well dry. This album proves that bands can revel in the American landscape without being too political or pious. It's a breath of fresh air in a music scene The Hold Steady get better and better with each album release. Yeah, our government is in turmoil and there's a war going on an ocean away, but lets leave that to the hundreds of other bands and country singers suck that well dry. This album proves that bands can revel in the American landscape without being too political or pious. It's a breath of fresh air in a music scene that's gone stale and dry with trite political commentary. No one's saying that having a political conscience isn't important, but when the weekend comes round, the kids are looking to party and have a good time. Finally, a band and an album that gets it right. Collapse
  3. TomA
    Jan 20, 2010
    9
    Musically, there are parallels here with Springsteen, but lyrically they are worlds apart. I do like Springsteen but Finn here goes way beyond his level of artistry, his lyrics are intelligent, colourful and very original, and his tales of tearaway youth portray a narrative not disimilar from that adopted by the Arctic Monkeys. This goes beyond classic Americana, as it blends wit, Musically, there are parallels here with Springsteen, but lyrically they are worlds apart. I do like Springsteen but Finn here goes way beyond his level of artistry, his lyrics are intelligent, colourful and very original, and his tales of tearaway youth portray a narrative not disimilar from that adopted by the Arctic Monkeys. This goes beyond classic Americana, as it blends wit, excuberance and artistry in an almost nonchalant manner - a modern classic in the most unlikely of guises. Just listen to the previous album 'Almost Killed Me' and you'll wonder where on earth this came from. Expand
  4. LawrenceP
    Oct 3, 2006
    9
    Nothing new here, but the words of Craig Finn are some of the best you will hear all year, not a bad song on the whole thing.
  5. ToddW
    Oct 4, 2006
    9
    Set to infectious beats by one of the best rock-n-roll bands going, The Hold Steady's latest is witty, poignant, and funny, often in the same song, in telling simple tales about those that the title implies, boys and girls in America. Like great cinema or radio, Craig Finn's lyrics allow us to fill in the blanks in his songs with our imagination, rather than have the storyline Set to infectious beats by one of the best rock-n-roll bands going, The Hold Steady's latest is witty, poignant, and funny, often in the same song, in telling simple tales about those that the title implies, boys and girls in America. Like great cinema or radio, Craig Finn's lyrics allow us to fill in the blanks in his songs with our imagination, rather than have the storyline shoved down our throat, as if we can't figure it our ourselves. It takes real talent to tell the tale of everyday living without sounding cliched and cloying, and Finn is a master at this craft. Boys and girls, it won't get a second of airplay in the Sewerstream, so let's hold this band steady in our collective consciousness. Expand
  6. jons
    Oct 4, 2006
    9
    would have given it a 10, but i'm not sure perfection exists. this is one hell of a record. this might be one of the best i've ever heard. think the best parts of "the wild, the innocent and..." smart lyrics - and it rocks, exactly where it should. sorry to admit that i've never heard of these guys before today...what else don't i know about? did i mention that this would have given it a 10, but i'm not sure perfection exists. this is one hell of a record. this might be one of the best i've ever heard. think the best parts of "the wild, the innocent and..." smart lyrics - and it rocks, exactly where it should. sorry to admit that i've never heard of these guys before today...what else don't i know about? did i mention that this album is outstanding? i haven't been to a live show in 15 years...might have to camp out for tickets. my wife will be thrilled. Expand
  7. [Anonymous]
    Oct 5, 2006
    8
    Solid songs, yet Finn's voice lacks the edge it had on the first two albums. And those acoustic guitars gotta go...
  8. staubin
    Oct 5, 2006
    8
    good effort from the self proclaimed "america's best bar band." finn's voice has a real unique quality about it that somehow both grates and fits at the same time with the band's garage style chops. but i like finn better when he's speaking more than singing. unlike separation sunday, here finn is actually attempting to sing and at times it detracts from what i believe good effort from the self proclaimed "america's best bar band." finn's voice has a real unique quality about it that somehow both grates and fits at the same time with the band's garage style chops. but i like finn better when he's speaking more than singing. unlike separation sunday, here finn is actually attempting to sing and at times it detracts from what i believe to be the band's overall uniqueness. Expand
  9. SinclairS
    Oct 6, 2006
    9
    more pure genius from the Hold Steady. One of the top 10 albums this year
  10. SaidS
    Oct 6, 2006
    10
    They've worked out the bugs and are truly, truly rocking. Don't listen to the lyrics or you'll cry hot tears.
  11. RobbC
    Oct 6, 2006
    9
    Usually not into this much of a rock album but the songs are all fantastic. I look forward to seeing them in concert.
  12. PaulK
    Oct 7, 2006
    9
    After two really good albums, The Hold Steady make a great one. Channeling AC/DC, and the E Street Band, their rock and roll is both new and classic. The stories and characters whose tales are told will stick with you. One of the best albums I've heard this year.
  13. AnthonyO
    Jan 8, 2007
    10
    If you don't like this album, you're not very smart.
  14. paulg
    Mar 1, 2007
    10
    THS rock and they roll. lyrics that tell a story. allusions, double meanings, etc... Finally.
  15. MichaelF
    Oct 19, 2006
    10
    This is the record of the year. It's everything.
  16. anna
    Dec 20, 2006
    10
    concept albums are tough to pull off, but finn does it with a narrow focus and a big sound.
  17. KyleB
    Oct 2, 2006
    10
    Already I think it might be my all time favourite.
  18. Giterdone
    Oct 25, 2006
    4
    music...nice licks and riffs = good lyrics....humorous, youthful, mischevious = good vocals....sounds like marshmellows shoved in this mouth = very bad
  19. Joe
    Oct 31, 2006
    10
    Craig Finn and his band capture the actions and feelings of youth in 2006 better than bands half his age. This album should be played at every party on ever college campus across the country.
  20. DavidD
    Oct 30, 2006
    10
    A masterpiece...never have i heard an album that showcases the beauty of youth so well. The album is about being young and having the whole world in front of you. Its also about living as though you never knew you did.
  21. ChrisB
    Oct 4, 2006
    9
    So different from "Separation Sunday" it's hard to compare, but it equals their last effort in its excellence. A must-listen...
  22. cwb
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    SICK. probably my album of the year, on one listen...
  23. hankm
    Oct 4, 2006
    7
    pretty "fun" stuff; but i don't find anything special about craig finn's lyrics. and the guitar solos are pretty lame. there isn't a "stevie nix" or a "crucifixion cruise" on this one.
  24. ChrisG
    Oct 4, 2006
    8
    The good: Finn's riveting mini-motifs of Americana / youth. LIsten closer if you just don't get it. The bad: A bit samey and HS-formula.
  25. AaronT
    Oct 5, 2006
    7
    Not bad by any standards, but not as good as their previous releases, or even anything by Craig's previous band, Lifter Puller. The lyrics, which are usually the strongest point of a Hold Steady album are too often drowned out by the heavily used piano.
  26. MK
    Oct 5, 2006
    8
    A very strong release. I'm a big fan but I've got to say that after a dozen listens none of the songs stick with me like they did on Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday. Still better than anything else I've heard in the past 6 months.
  27. RobH
    Oct 5, 2006
    0
    An overhyped album if I've ever heard one. The Hold Steady continue to put out bland bar rock whose lyrics are their only saving grace. Unfortunately for them, the lyrics on this album pale in comparison to their previous two efforts. And don't tell me I must see them live. I have. And I still wasn't blown over.
  28. EricF
    Oct 9, 2006
    9
    Solid all the way through, with "Chillout Tent" as the stand-out track. Had it been released a couple of months earlier, it would have been THE song of the summer.
  29. GuyH
    Jan 10, 2007
    8
    Funny how the same criticism keeps coming up over and over again - they are a poor 'bar band'. Err, what? They are a rock band who play more up- tempo stuff so apparently this makes them a bar band - this is very lazy genre pigeon-holing - the sort of stuff we hate to read so please try to avoid this... The album is great although I suspect the vocals will turn a lot of people Funny how the same criticism keeps coming up over and over again - they are a poor 'bar band'. Err, what? They are a rock band who play more up- tempo stuff so apparently this makes them a bar band - this is very lazy genre pigeon-holing - the sort of stuff we hate to read so please try to avoid this... The album is great although I suspect the vocals will turn a lot of people off. Think of the lead singer from the band Soul Coughing rocking out and you are pretty much there. Finn's lyrics are top notch, amusing and poignant, but if you can't identify with the chracters in his songs they will probably leave you cold. Which is fair enough. Expand
  30. JacksonG
    Jan 5, 2007
    9
    This is not regurgitated bar rock. Listen to the fuzz guitar... that's a sound no other band has gotten. The stories may be about girls, drugs, and drunken nights, but it goes much deeper than any bar rock has ever even gone for. This album's lyrics are so superficial that it manages to bring out the life where most bands only achieve groan-worthy cliches.
  31. romanmc
    Feb 1, 2007
    8
    At least 5 or 6 songs actually "rock." They should be congratulated for this. It's safe to say that hardly anyone rocks like this anymore (i.e. kind of hard but happy, upbeat and tuneful). The lyrics are clever and the storylines are amusing if not redundant after repeated listens (I get it...they're all wasted). The music from the "emotional" song sounds like Lee Greenwood...if At least 5 or 6 songs actually "rock." They should be congratulated for this. It's safe to say that hardly anyone rocks like this anymore (i.e. kind of hard but happy, upbeat and tuneful). The lyrics are clever and the storylines are amusing if not redundant after repeated listens (I get it...they're all wasted). The music from the "emotional" song sounds like Lee Greenwood...if you're into that sort of thing. Bottom line is that there is a place for the Hold Steady but it's not something you want to exclusively listen to track-for-track over-and-over again for any length of time. That dude who thinks it's the best album since Aeroplane must be eating the same mushrooms as the kids in "Chillout Tent." Expand
  32. SamE
    Feb 12, 2007
    1
    This CD is utter crap.. Imagine the worst songwriting mixed with the worst voice. He uses the word "Blotto" for chrissakes, whilst "kicking it with the cousins." Why do people think this album is good? IT SUCKS.
  33. juniorm.
    Feb 26, 2007
    8
    This guy's voice takes some getting used to - kind of nasal and droney, but if you can get over that...some of the best guitar rock out there. It's not cool or original - this is about big riffs, solos, choruses, and lyrics that are smart rather than smart-arse.
  34. AlexA
    Feb 8, 2007
    9
    Love this album. Lots of fun, lots of lyrics and lots of guitars. Bet they are good live
  35. JimR
    Apr 13, 2007
    10
    "It started recreatonal, it ended kind of medical." Fantastic old school sound, great lyrics.
  36. WayneW.
    Jan 1, 2008
    10
    The lyrics are fantastic, but the amazing thing about this album is how it truly rocks. I haven't heard an album rock like this in a long long time. You can compare Finn to Springsteen if you want. But this album is Springsteen on crack!
  37. JamesL
    Oct 10, 2006
    9
    A fantastic album; it has boundless energy and a startling beat poet quality to it. One of the best albums so far this year and one of the best I've heard in years.
  38. shantie
    Nov 1, 2006
    6
    Probably should have given this a 7. I just don't get the hoopla. Good lyrics, but delivered by a voice that does very little for me. Wouldn't matter so much if I didn't feel the music at times is also (both the sound and the riffs) pretty bland. Maybe this review comes too early and I will see what people love about this record so much in weeks to come, but so far underwhelmed.
  39. Mike
    Oct 17, 2006
    10
    The best, most effective album of the year, no question. Everyone will talk about the lyrics, but the secret weapon here is the keyboards, adding just the right touches in all the right places.
  40. DanH
    Dec 10, 2006
    10
    (9.5) Amazing album, one of the best of the year! Recommended to anyone who likes a good rock record and isn't turned off by numerous drug and sex references. I had never heard of the Hold Steady previously but now am a huge fan. Try it, you'll like it.
  41. scalvin
    Oct 20, 2006
    3
    generic at best....OK but not worthy of the hype.
  42. BrianC
    Dec 3, 2006
    9
    9.3/10
  43. MarkC
    Dec 3, 2006
    8
    Number 9 on http://asaltysalute.blogspot.com/
  44. JasonC
    Oct 24, 2006
    10
    Great album. Yeah, the lyrics are amazing and it'll make you think of Springsteen, but without being derivative. Its the perfect album to listen to you when you're hanging out drinking with a bunch of friends.
  45. matta
    Oct 26, 2006
    9
    I have never been a huge hold steady fan. I didn't like Almost Killed Me at all and Separation Sunday was okay at best. But this album is rocking. Finn still writes great lyrics, but his voice isn't nearly as grating as it has been in the past. The main difference though is the use of keys. The organ and piano riffs on this album are incredible and add so much to the hold I have never been a huge hold steady fan. I didn't like Almost Killed Me at all and Separation Sunday was okay at best. But this album is rocking. Finn still writes great lyrics, but his voice isn't nearly as grating as it has been in the past. The main difference though is the use of keys. The organ and piano riffs on this album are incredible and add so much to the hold steady's sound. A very encouraging move in the right direction for this band. Expand
  46. EricW
    Oct 3, 2006
    6
    A fairly mundane bar-band sound, lead by a singer without much of anything notable to say. Probably highly reguarded due to critical guitar starvation, but if you're looking for a rock 'n' roll savior, this ain't it.
  47. KevinC
    Oct 4, 2006
    5
    Sounds like one of those dreadfully overdone Bruce Springsteen productions that glorify mundane lifelessness with no trace of a sense of humor.
  48. DavidP
    Oct 5, 2006
    9
    Easily on the top of 2006.
  49. IainM
    Oct 6, 2006
    10
    Classic album, all the right guitar hooks and lyrics that stick with you for days. Forget the bar band labels and pick up this album.
  50. ScottMcB
    Oct 8, 2006
    10
    The best rock record you'll hear all year.
  51. MusicMaven
    Jan 27, 2007
    9
    The Hold Steady make 70's classic rock influences seem fresh again without being overtly 'retro' (like say Counting Crows). Craig Finn's detailed character sketches are less wordy, more universal, and ultimately more appealing than ever. The band has become a tighter unit, incorporating piano and organ while rocking harder than ever. This is their best album, and one The Hold Steady make 70's classic rock influences seem fresh again without being overtly 'retro' (like say Counting Crows). Craig Finn's detailed character sketches are less wordy, more universal, and ultimately more appealing than ever. The band has become a tighter unit, incorporating piano and organ while rocking harder than ever. This is their best album, and one of the finest of 2006. Expand
  52. KennyM
    Apr 13, 2007
    10
    One of the best rock albums, not only of 2006, but of the last decade. A classic.
  53. othos
    Apr 16, 2007
    10
    I'm gonna take a wild stab and guess that reviewer Sam E. is between 18-25. That's not his fault. (Obviously) having no CDs in his collection recorded before 2000...is. THS fuses the best of Thin Lizzy/Asbury Park-era Springsteen with the halcyon days of Minneapolis punk (Replacements, Husker Du) to produce modern music utterly unlike anything else I have heard of late. In the I'm gonna take a wild stab and guess that reviewer Sam E. is between 18-25. That's not his fault. (Obviously) having no CDs in his collection recorded before 2000...is. THS fuses the best of Thin Lizzy/Asbury Park-era Springsteen with the halcyon days of Minneapolis punk (Replacements, Husker Du) to produce modern music utterly unlike anything else I have heard of late. In the cookie-cutter world of current alt-rock, unique apparently equals crap. Expand
  54. PhilipJ
    May 27, 2007
    10
    This happens to be one of the best rock and roll records of the last decade. The characters are the kids I grew up with and the stories are glorifieds of what I'm going through. I knew the lucky messed up chick who was afraid to let people get too close (Chips Ahoy!). I've gotten sick on a cross town bus and had to lay down on a dirty public bench with no one to keep me company This happens to be one of the best rock and roll records of the last decade. The characters are the kids I grew up with and the stories are glorifieds of what I'm going through. I knew the lucky messed up chick who was afraid to let people get too close (Chips Ahoy!). I've gotten sick on a cross town bus and had to lay down on a dirty public bench with no one to keep me company but my thoughts (Stuck Between Stations). This is a wonderful, underrated band that reminds people that rock and roll is meant for the outsiders. Not the hipsters American Idols looking for a reason to whine. Expand
  55. jj
    Jan 11, 2008
    7
    Good music, but i don't like the singer's delivery.
  56. Will
    Feb 14, 2008
    9
    A very good album. I'm not quite sure why though. The lyrics are smart and adult themed, maybe because they are a maturer band in age. Some of the slower songs remind me of Counting Crows though. But it all works. Somehow.
  57. Ryanr
    Sep 14, 2008
    9
    Better when it was called "Born To Run", but a great album nonetheless.
  58. AllistairP
    Nov 1, 2006
    10
    Don't like the Hold Steady? Good, you're just like me about a month ago. This is one of those albums that makes you re-evaulate the band and it all clicks. You get the Hold Steady. Suddenly Boy and Girls is one of your fav. albums of the decade, and the other 2 aren't far behind. And if not, maybe the next one will do it for you. I personally feel ashamed it took them 3 Don't like the Hold Steady? Good, you're just like me about a month ago. This is one of those albums that makes you re-evaulate the band and it all clicks. You get the Hold Steady. Suddenly Boy and Girls is one of your fav. albums of the decade, and the other 2 aren't far behind. And if not, maybe the next one will do it for you. I personally feel ashamed it took them 3 times to get me to listen. Expand
  59. ChadM
    Nov 22, 2006
    8
    Fantastic follow up album. Great party record or driving album. It is one of the finest releases of the year for consistent song writing. These guys write albums not songs, which is an artform that is quickly dying.
  60. MikeG
    Nov 29, 2006
    6
    A solid effort, but it just doesn't hold a candle to the passion and the pathos of Separation Sunday. Finn doesn't sound as raw or passionate, the band doesn't sound as energetic or vital, and the entire affair just sounds like a great band trying to capitalize on a growing fan base. There are some good tracks here, but on the whole this is above average and not great.
  61. Marc
    Oct 13, 2006
    4
    Just not that good, frankly. The lyrics are the only interesting thing happening on the entire album. Otherwise, the music just repeats the same tired riffs you've heard over and over in rock music.
  62. PDugan
    Nov 5, 2006
    9
    This has my vote (not that I have one) for Album of the Year. While the Killers are trying hard to spin their new CD as a Born to Run follow-up, this is actually has much more of that same big, anthemic, rocking feel...it's a Born to Run for the 2000's. I've had this on non-stop for 3 weeks now and it's only sounding better every time I hear it.
  63. MikeM
    Nov 7, 2006
    10
    Wow this album is just simply stunning. Best album of 2006 ( well that and the other wolrdly Sunset Rubdown album). This is going to be blaring from speakers for years to come. WIth their last three albums the Hold Steady have put them selves in to the realm of the likes of the Pixies, Pavement, & Neutral Milk Hotel. A legendary band, who in the next 20 years will be more myth than men. Wow this album is just simply stunning. Best album of 2006 ( well that and the other wolrdly Sunset Rubdown album). This is going to be blaring from speakers for years to come. WIth their last three albums the Hold Steady have put them selves in to the realm of the likes of the Pixies, Pavement, & Neutral Milk Hotel. A legendary band, who in the next 20 years will be more myth than men. Best album since NMH's In the Aeroplane over the sea Expand
  64. JimB
    Oct 23, 2006
    9
    This record gets to you and keeps getting better the more you listen.
  65. MattB
    Dec 4, 2006
    10
    An overwhelming achievement in a completely untapped field of music. Nobody sounds like these guys, and I mean this in the best ways possible, but they do not get caught up in their uniqueness. This album is pure poetry and is the best literature of the year!
  66. joe
    Oct 25, 2006
    10
    best album of 2006
  67. ChrisK
    Oct 25, 2006
    10
    The smartest rock band around has just released one of the best records of the year.
  68. FikusS
    Aug 15, 2007
    10
    This album is unreal. This is what good American Bar Rock sounds like. If Bruce Springsteen started a Indie Rock bank in 75' it would have sounded like this. There are very few artists out there right now that tell a story like Craig Finn. Americana at it's best!
  69. James
    Aug 21, 2007
    9
    Fantastic. A witty, often touching album that can be equally enjoyed by pretentious indie fans, classic rock fans, and complete philistines. Listen to it now.
  70. Brian
    Feb 26, 2008
    10
    Unbelievable album, such a fun album to listen to. Finn just seems like a likable character with these stories.
  71. MattS
    Nov 24, 2006
    10
    Best album I've heard all year, although it's understandably not for everyone. I hated these guys when I first heard them a couple years ago, and they quickly became one of my favorite bands... newcomers should give this one a few spins before writing it off on first impressions.
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. 90
    [Finn] tells better stories than anyone else in music these days. [Oct 2006, p.131]
  2. On several tracks, the swirls of organ they've added to their hyper-literate stomping suggest Deep Purple with a library card. [6 Oct 2006, p.68]
  3. Packed with forceful, nuanced songwriting that makes room for face-melting guitar riffery, lovelorn Midwestern teenagers and even, by Hold Steady standards, a bit of actual singing.