User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 40
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 40
  3. Negative: 2 out of 40

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  1. Vellocet
    May 7, 2005
    10
    spectacular
  2. TheBigCrunch
    Jan 6, 2006
    10
    Best album of 2005, and among the five or so best albums of the decade so far.
  3. ChaseH
    Aug 19, 2006
    10
    A fantastically unique epic.
  4. TimT
    May 8, 2005
    10
    Craig Finn will sooner or later be known as one of the most important rock lyricists ever. The Hold Steady really gels on this epic album that's on par with Lifter Puller's nearly perfect Fiestas and Fiascos. This is music at its most creative and absorbing. Call it 'bar rock' if you want, but it's the narrative that will ultimately seduce you, the album-long Craig Finn will sooner or later be known as one of the most important rock lyricists ever. The Hold Steady really gels on this epic album that's on par with Lifter Puller's nearly perfect Fiestas and Fiascos. This is music at its most creative and absorbing. Call it 'bar rock' if you want, but it's the narrative that will ultimately seduce you, the album-long story that you'll never get until you sit through it in a dark room with headphones on. Expand
  5. DrunkenMaster
    Jun 8, 2005
    10
    This is cathartic, literate rock at its finest. I was blown away from the first listen and it hasn't left my stereo since. The characters --mainly Holly and Charlemagne -- are finely drawn and detailed in a way that exposes radio-ready rock as idiocy. The album has the story arc of a novel, with all the heartbreak.
  6. DavidB
    Jul 10, 2005
    10
    Album of the year so far. Great lyrics and music. Fantastic.
  7. ChrisK
    May 10, 2005
    10
    Every song sounds great, better with beer, and genius with a beer and headphones on (in the sun, if you want). Won't be a better rock album this year.
  8. HNice
    May 12, 2005
    9
    holy crap this is good -- and not nice good, more like if springsteen was in mclusky good.
  9. DougD
    May 20, 2005
    10
    This is IT! Run don't walk to get it.
  10. StevenR
    May 9, 2005
    10
    nearly perfect.
  11. JoeD
    Jun 18, 2005
    9
    gret music great lyrics lots of fun!
  12. FishyBooty
    Jul 15, 2005
    9
    Incredible! I can't get this out of my cd player and I can't get out of my head either. The story is great. If you drank every time Finn says "high" you'd be blacked out drunk by the end of this album. You would think thats a bad thing, but it works for this album. Musically and lyrically very strong.
  13. matthewc
    Jan 2, 2006
    9
    If Elvis Costello happened to produce early AC/DC. Fantastic rock album!
  14. ThomasD
    Feb 20, 2007
    10
    When approaching the Hold Stead (and any band for that matter), thinking in genres won't help you at all. This album is like nothing I have ever heard. Finn's sincerity is refreshing and sharp. His unironic but unpreaching approach to spirituality is very refreshing. Musically, the band is amazing. Personally, this album has had more impact on me than any before it, and I hope When approaching the Hold Stead (and any band for that matter), thinking in genres won't help you at all. This album is like nothing I have ever heard. Finn's sincerity is refreshing and sharp. His unironic but unpreaching approach to spirituality is very refreshing. Musically, the band is amazing. Personally, this album has had more impact on me than any before it, and I hope other people see the same amazing piece of magic in it that I do. Expand
  15. TerrenceO
    Jul 21, 2005
    9
    A fantastic bar-band that has obviously disected every little move and note used by the E-Street band pair up with a spastic rambling hardcore kid whos all grown up. While theres little in the way of melody, or inventive song structure or sound, theres plenty of fun riffs and pounding drums and some of the best smart/dumb lyrics ever written. If you were raised catholic i dont see how you A fantastic bar-band that has obviously disected every little move and note used by the E-Street band pair up with a spastic rambling hardcore kid whos all grown up. While theres little in the way of melody, or inventive song structure or sound, theres plenty of fun riffs and pounding drums and some of the best smart/dumb lyrics ever written. If you were raised catholic i dont see how you cant identify at least somewhat with this album Expand
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. While far from perfect, The Hold Steady's sloppy take on classic rock is actually quite refreshing and much more fun than most current indie rock and British post-punk revival wankery.
  2. The group sounds a bit like Guided By Voices at times, only a Guided By Voices that want to kick your sorry can up and down the length of the bar.
  3. While [Finn's] odd and humorous rants are essentially compelling, they wouldn't be half as engrossing if his backing group... didn't smack up such a glorious din, scabrous punk rock swagger dolled up with classic hard rock power chords.