Category: Certain Songs

Certain Songs #600: The Hold Steady – “First Night”

hold steady boys Album: Boys And Girls in America
Year: 2006

Boys and girls in America.

I’m sure I’m conflating a bunch of different memories into a single moment, but I still have a memory of the first night I felt part of the Fresno Tower scene. It was a warm summer evening in 1985, and it was at the Wild Blue.

Boys and girls in America.

I don’t recall who was playing: it coulda been Aqua Bob or The Wayne Foundation or Western Chapter or somebody else. It doesn’t really matter, because there was as much going on outside as there was inside.

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Certain Songs #599: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy”

hold steady chips ahoy Album: Boys and Girls in America
Year: 2006

“Chips Ahoy” was the first single from “Boys and Girls in America,” and like “The Swish” and “Banging Camp,” Craig Finn is trying to fit all of his words in and around Tad Kubler’s big-ass power chords.

The result is one of those Hold Steady songs that sounds like one of of the rockers from The River had that album been made by a Springsteen influenced not by 1960s frat-rock, but rather, The Clash.

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Certain Songs #598: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”

Hold Steady+Stuck+Between+Stations+-+Clear+399660 Album: Boys and Girls in America
Year: 2006

Welcome to my favorite album of this century.

Actually, (and yes, I’m “actually”ing myself), welcome to my favorite album since Nevermind & Achtung Baby!, which makes Boys and Girls in America my favorite album of the past quarter-century.

And if I could somehow prorate the age I was when this album came out against the age I was when I first discovered all of the albums I would otherwise put into my all-time top 20, it would definitely be in the conversation.

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Certain Songs #597: The Hold Steady – “How a Resurrection Really Feels”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

Despite putting out their records in the era of shuffled playlists, The Hold Steady have had a tradition of ending their albums with an epic, multi-part song.

And given that it was concept album, Separation Sunday is no exception, capping off with the haunting “How A Resurrection Really Feels,” which kicks off with a lengthy curlicue guitar riff as Craig Finn lets us know what’s up with one of the major characters, Halluejah, who the kids call Holly.

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Certain Songs #596: The Hold Steady – “Stevie Nix”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

While The Hold Steady usually get described as being somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and The Replacements, there is a surprising amount of Led Zeppelin in their music.

And while in retrospect, that should be somewhat obvious — the b-side of their first single was a cover of “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” — in 2005, I was totally surprised by the big-ass Zep riff that Tad Kubler unleashed for the epic “Stevie Nix,” which they could have easily titled “In My Time of Living.”

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