• Record Label: Vagrant
  • Release Date: Jul 15, 2008
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 77 out of 93
  2. Negative: 12 out of 93

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  1. Chester
    Aug 21, 2008
    6
    Love the Hold Steady. Love all of their past albums. Love their live show. However, this album is mediocre at best.
  2. LeahT.
    Aug 29, 2008
    5
    Not what it's cracked up to be. A lot of literal lyrics and repetitive chords. Sorry, but I expected something more original and creative. The Hold Steady has this "we Rock" arrogant attitude that makes this all the worse. Skip it.
  3. LesH
    Mar 17, 2009
    5
    But for how heralded these guys are
  4. PJB
    Dec 12, 2008
    4
    I can't believe 4 publications gave this album a perfect score. Entertainment Weekly i can understand only because they know nothing and are run by the industry, but I am sick and tired of the British music press. They are always childish and quick to praise nearly any band as the greatest thing ever, but it seems this year they have really pulled out all the stops. If you look at I can't believe 4 publications gave this album a perfect score. Entertainment Weekly i can understand only because they know nothing and are run by the industry, but I am sick and tired of the British music press. They are always childish and quick to praise nearly any band as the greatest thing ever, but it seems this year they have really pulled out all the stops. If you look at almost any album in the best of 2008 list on metacritic, i would bet that one of the higher ratings is from a British mag (Uncut, Mojo, Q, The Guardian, the Observer). Welcome to Mali, London Zoo, Fed, Dear Science, For Emma Forever Ago, Fleet Foxes, and Dig Lazurus Dig ALL have perfect scores from one of these publications. How often do you see a perfect score from allmusic? Almost NEVER, and yet these sources have multiple perfect scores every year. I think metacritic should weigh these scores lower, because a perfect score obviously means less across the pond. Oh, and yeah, this Hold Steady album is a raging disappointment. Worse than their all three of their previous albums. Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Ultimately, Stay Positive achieves the admirable feat of being a record you can listen closely to or rock out to, equally adaptable to late-night wallowing and the party at the water tower.
  2. It is not only the Hold Steady's best record, but acts as a culmination of all of the ideas, stories, musical paths and character journeys that they've so pointedly led us down before.
  3. Despite some subtle new touches --a harpsichord, a banjo, light strings--the sound proposes constancy.