Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Almost Killed Me is the most authentic, dirty, and rocking album you'll hear all summer.
  2. Rocks like Bad Company and Thin Lizzy and vintage Springsteen. Look out.
  3. With rugged guitar riffs and solos and Finn's half-sung, scratchy voice, the Hold Steady mostly succeed, easily recalling the classic rock of early Bruce Springsteen or the sincerity of latter-day Hüsker Dü.
  4. The Hold Steady's powerful yet somewhat generic rock style proves incidental to Finn's dense, wordy story-songs. As a whole, though, Almost Killed Me showcases a wise and gritty rock band still in it for life, through thick and thin.
  5. Earnest without being sentimental, and authentic without sounding contrived, The Hold Steady are one of the most convincing rock bands to emerge in recent years, a can-crushing throwdown of unadulterated aggression and ear-splitting amps.
  6. 'Almost Killed Me' is a rock album that is – above all – listenable and fucking energetic but never calculated and never sneering.
  7. All in all this is a rock-solid debut from a group of veteran musicians who aren't necessarily out to reinvent the wheel but whose fiery passion rings through on every note.
  8. The Hold Steady, then, is not yet an outstanding band, but unlike its New York contemporaries, shows the sort of distinctive talent that suggests that one day, it might be.
  9. Rolling Stone
    Bizarrely touching and insanely original. [10 Jun 2004, p.86]
  10. A band more fixated with guitar solos and drunken fist-pumping than in the more nuanced, desperate territory of their former incarnation [Lifter Puller].
  11. Alternative Press
    Finn employs an arrhythmic delivery... sounding like Jello Biafra covering Talking Head's "Once In A Lifetime," or a snake-oil huckster participating in a poetry slam. [May 2004, p.96]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. j30
    Oct 28, 2011
    A garage band feel that's as raw as anything you'll hear. I really enjoyed this record. The album was best when listened to a third time through.
  2. BD
    Nov 12, 2005
    Better than Separation Sunday.
  3. RayRay
    Jun 23, 2004
    Wow, this album was unexpected. The lead singer sounds like an amalgam of Bon Scott (ACDC) and Jello from the Dead Kennedys. Which is Wow, this album was unexpected. The lead singer sounds like an amalgam of Bon Scott (ACDC) and Jello from the Dead Kennedys. Which is definitely a good thing. Full Review »