• Record Label: Orchard
  • Release Date: Feb 19, 2021

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Buy On
  1. Feb 19, 2021
    While the band’s smoothness may mirror the gentrification of the dive bars it once canonized, its empathy and affection for the dirtbags yearning for transcendence remains as strong as ever.
  2. Feb 18, 2021
    After a two-album stale patch a decade ago, The Hold Steady have rebounded to become more adventurous than they were before, and Finn’s storytelling has never been stronger.
  3. 80
    [The band] sound like they’re grabbing at big choruses like an alcoholic scrabbling for a bedside breakfast whisky. But on The Feelers, the motoric Spices and Me & Magdalena, Craig Finn’s sneered diatribe about a manipulative rock junkie, they nonetheless stumble across a rich, National-like lustre of dark grooves and opiated euphoria.
  4. Feb 19, 2021
    Now, they’ve unveiled their eighth collection of poetically punky musical works which carries their fresh momentum to expansive heights.
  5. 80
    Expressed from a first person point of view, the music comes across with a sense of unease, urgency and uncertainty, which, in turn, boosts both interest and intrigue. Clearly, The Hold Steady are intent on burrowing below the surface in their pursuit of principle and propriety.
  6. Feb 18, 2021
    By focusing on bringing light and shade into the margins, the Hold Steady wound up with an album that feels vivid and alive; it's as if the songs themselves have a life outside of the recording.
  7. Feb 17, 2021
    Open Door Policy is quite possibly the best Hold Steady album since 2008’s Stay Positive.
  8. Feb 16, 2021
    If art mimics life, then Open Door Policy's musical tension, timely themes and efforts to reimagine the band while remaining authentic deftly capture today's world.
  9. Feb 12, 2021
    The band’s ability to get to the heart of this change and create compelling songs from familiar scenes helps make Open Door Policy the best Hold Steady album in over a decade.
  10. Uncut
    Feb 12, 2021
    A confident reiteration of this singular group's virtues. [Mar 2021, p.38]
  11. Feb 24, 2021
    However often the band has been saddled with being “earnest,” their way of contrasting rock‘n’roll catharsis with personal devastation is also inherently ironic. This sense is more obvious than ever on Open Door Policy.
  12. Feb 22, 2021
    Their insistence for organic compositions stands out thoughtfully on Open Door Policy, and it reminds us precisely why we fell in love with The Hold Steady in the first place. Despite them being slightly aged rockers, they haven’t forgotten what it means to rock out and to give in to the desire shout at the top of your lungs when you are struggling.
  13. 70
    This is a lovely, lovely piece of work from a band that are still to produce a dud.
  14. Feb 18, 2021
    There’s little in the way of new ground broken here, but it's consistent nonetheless.
  15. Rolling Stone
    Feb 12, 2021
    The lyrics on the eighth THS album are as vivid as ever, and the guitars ring true. [Feb 2021, p.73]
  16. Feb 22, 2021
    The quieter songs don’t always burn so brightly. Here, there can be a fine line between balladry and pedestrianism, but the listener is never far away from a killer lyric.
  17. Feb 19, 2021
    On the band’s newest release, Open Door Policy, The Hold Steady moves to fully incorporate Finn’s more muted solo offerings, and the result is a disjointed transitional work.
  18. Feb 18, 2021
    "Family Farm" and "Heavy Covenant" are fun sing-a-longs that wouldn't have been out of place on the band's most popular records. As an album, though, Open Door Policy isn't very inspired.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Feb 19, 2021
    Better than "Thrashing", my favorite of theirs since "Stay Positive". Looking forward to digging into the lyrics more, haven't had much timeBetter than "Thrashing", my favorite of theirs since "Stay Positive". Looking forward to digging into the lyrics more, haven't had much time with it yet. But THS are always an 8-10 band and this is one of their best. Full Review »
  2. Feb 21, 2021
    Would it kill them to give us a guitar solo? It's almost killing me to listen to this anticlimatic mix for a second time. Lots of missedWould it kill them to give us a guitar solo? It's almost killing me to listen to this anticlimatic mix for a second time. Lots of missed opportunities in the name of trying some new or growing? Too many brains in the mix, less horns more guitars if I wanted this melodic crap I'd listen to local natives or some **** Let bobby drake and galen out of their cages and have tad crank up the damn amp. Full Review »