Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
Buy On
  1. Aug 16, 2019
    Overall, Thrashing Thru The Passion is musically looser than previous offerings—fewer ballads, the big rock numbers less lush and more compact—but it also makes it accessible to new listeners, who can then work their way back through albums like Heaven is Whenever or Separation Sunday.
  2. Aug 15, 2019
    It’s a productive scaling-down—the sound of a great rock band getting back to work. The Hold Steady achieves its classic-punk alchemy by balancing the powerful rock ’n’ roll mythmaking of guitarist Tad Kubler’s riffs with the conversational myth-puncturing of Finn’s lyrics, and that balance threatens to topple over if the songs venture into more grandiose or self-referential territory.
  3. Sep 13, 2019
    The Hold Steady will probably never match the thrill of their first three releases, but Thrashing Thru the Passion is the most enjoyable record they’ve made in thirteen years.
  4. Aug 21, 2019
    In many ways, Thrashing Thru The Passion is so alive and elated that, if not for Hold Steady’s well-documented track record, it could be mistaken for the work of a band just hitting its peak.
  5. Aug 19, 2019
    With Nicolay (and those horns) back in the fold, the Hold Steady can provide strong melodies even when Finn isn't singing. It makes for a fun listen, and it's one of the most entertaining albums I've heard in 2019.
  6. 80
    The total effect of Thrashing Thru The Passion is that of The Hold Steady at their most casual and confident, tossing off these songs that would be tour de forces for anyone else as if they have a bushelful of them just hanging around the studio.
  7. 80
    As ever, The Hold Steady achieve their best work when their playing is loose. When the songs are filtered through the bottom of a shot glass. When they sound like the best bar band in the best bar you didn’t know about until the moment that you found yourself in it at 3am in the morning. On the basis of ‘Thrashing Thru The Passion’, that band are back.
  8. Aug 16, 2019
    Thrashing Thru the Passion does what it sets out to do: scratch again beneath the surface of America’s hedonistic undertow, and prove there’s plenty more life in these Brooklyn boozehounds yet.
  9. Aug 15, 2019
    Thrashing Thru The Passion feels mature but not stuffy or settled; it's the sound of a group that cherishes their own peculiar chemistry and choose to bask within the righteous noise they make.
  10. Aug 14, 2019
    Fans will already know half the songs which have been periodically released before recent mini-tours, but the overall sound, production and playing combine well delivering a complete full length. On past albums The Hold Steady tried to streamline their sound, Thrashing Thru the Passion proves more is more with this band.
  11. Aug 13, 2019
    These songs evoke an assortment of characters — a washed comedian, a wayward traveller, a group of disengaged partygoers, a doomed mobster — who tend to be down on their luck and feeling like they're wasting their lives away. But there's also a sense of movement — in time and space — that suggests that while things are strange and messy and definitely not ideal, there's more on the horizon.
  12. Uncut
    Aug 6, 2019
    It might not be the best Hold Steady Album, but it might be their most purely enjoyable. [Sep 2019, p.35]
  13. Aug 22, 2019
    If something’s missing, it’s in production that can’t hide ageing spread; over separate sessions, with separate moods. None of it parlays a singular vision. It’s not meant to. So although the songs often hit the spot (it’s a fuck ton more enjoyable than Teeth Dreams) it’s not a follow-up to Stay Positive.
  14. Classic Rock Magazine
    Aug 20, 2019
    Despite its nonlinear creation, the album is one of their tightest and most consistent in years. [Sep 2019, p.83]
  15. Aug 16, 2019
    Just as Some Girls rejuvenated Mick and co., the Hold Steady’s latest finds the Brooklyn collective rediscovering the mix of morose jubilation and joyful myth-making they perfected a dozen years ago. Freed from the pressures of serving as Craig Finn’s primary creative outlet, the band has learned how to keep telling its hoodrat saga.
  16. Aug 13, 2019
    It may not be there with their best work, and it might be seen by some as a bit of a stopgap, but there are still times on Thrashing Thru The Passion that The Hold Steady can effortlessly remind us that they remain the ‘best bar band in the world’.
  17. Aug 6, 2019
    Even if the band’s guitar work isn’t what it used to be, Finn’s storytelling prowess certainly is, and along with his usual barrage of smartest-guy-at-the-dive-bar one-liners, an appropriate shift in his perspective as a lyricist is evident.
  18. Aug 13, 2019
    It's a good, solid rock record—but whether that's a good thing or not may depend on whether you think a band that were once touted as the next Replacements are built to stake their claim as a heritage act or should have called time a decade ago. We're firmly in the former camp.
  19. 60
    Thrashing Through the Passion is easily the band’s softest album to date. Where most Hold Steady albums fill the room with sound, there’s a lot of quiet and negative space on this album. While the band’s other albums wrap you up in an awkward hug of emotions and drag you through to a catharsis, this album is passive.
  20. Aug 16, 2019
    The Hold Steady are very much a band for their existing fans. There’s not anything here, whether the bar-room blues of ‘Blackout Sam’ or the jazz hands-aloft ’T-Shirt Tux’ that’s likely to win outsiders over.
  21. Aug 13, 2019
    Thrashing Thru the Passion is a good album of fine songs, great lyrics and passionate playing – but ending with the playing-at-being-The-Clash Confusion In the Marketplace, after various nods to Dexys, E Street Band, Van Morrison, The Replacements, Boomtown Rats and more, its staccato block chords might be one homage too many.
  22. Aug 12, 2019
    Some good ol', serviceable rock ' roll always goes down easy, but with The Hold Steady, we know they're capable of so much more.
  23. Mojo
    Aug 6, 2019
    A stopgap isn't quite what The Hold Steady need right now, but as a holding exercise it's hard to fault. [Sep 2019, p.89]
  24. Q Magazine
    Aug 6, 2019
    Their first LP in five years falls well short of greatness, reheating past ideas to the point of cliche. [Sep 2019, p.111]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Sep 12, 2019
    Probably about as close as you'll ever get to a half-committed Bruce Springsteen leading Manic Street Preachers in doing a collection of BornProbably about as close as you'll ever get to a half-committed Bruce Springsteen leading Manic Street Preachers in doing a collection of Born to Run B-side covers, the record is unfortunately nowhere near as deliriously entertaining as such a description might suggest. Competently made and performed overall, but the album seems to lack much of the passion promised in the title.

    Choice Cuts: "Denver Haircut", "Entitlement Crew"
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 23, 2019
    What is most surprising is that half of these songs are old, yet still function well in the context of the album. While Franz coming home isWhat is most surprising is that half of these songs are old, yet still function well in the context of the album. While Franz coming home is welcome and cool, Tad and Steve are all over these songs. It’s easily the best since Stay Positive, and is probably better than that. Full Review »