Heaven Is Whenever - The Hold Steady
Heaven Is Whenever Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first album for the band without Franz Nicolay, who left the band in January 2010, was produced by Dean Baltulonis.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. With Heaven is Whenever, the most consistent band in rock and roll remains reliable, as The Hold Steady give their sound a fresh update while not straying too far from what makes them so endearing.
  2. The album has a quality about it that's sweeping without being out and out uplifting, feeling more informed by the rigors of touring than the denizens of the Twin Cities and their lapsed Catholic revelations.
  3. The tunes, too, are as lush and anthemic as ever.
  4. None of the songs quite scale the heights of a "Stuck Between Stations" or "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," but it's to the band's credit that Heaven goes down considerably easier than Stay Positive (2008), fortunately bereft of the obvious clunkers that rendered that album's Side B such a slog.
  5. Heaven is Whenever is good for the exact reasons Hold Steady records always tend to be good. Such dogged consistency suggests it's doubtful Finn and company will ever come out with a startling masterpiece that frees them from Springsteen's shadow, but it also implies they're extremely unlikely to make a bad record.
  6. It adds up to another transitional effort rather than a major statement.
  7. They know where they've been, and it sure seems like they know where they're going. There's a real comfort in the settled feel to this record, even if it is occasionally dulled by the overblown production.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. j30
    Oct 28, 2011
    9
    Loved this album. It's their most produced record to date, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. Craig Finn is one of my favoriteLoved this album. It's their most produced record to date, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. Craig Finn is one of my favorite lyricist. They way he phrases his songs about heartbreak, love, and partying are both hilarious and thought provoking. Expand