Cameron’s Corner, The Hold Steady

Cameron Campbell, Staff Writer

“She said always remember, never to trust me. She said that the first night that she met me. She said there’s going to come a time where I’m going to have to go, with whoever’s going to get me the highest” Craig Finn, front man for the band The Hold Steady sings this lyric to open up they’re 2005 record “Separation Sunday.” The line reflects on Finn’s life before sobering up.

Finn tells stories of the Twin Cities drug scene and makes obvious references to places in lines like.

“True love gets troubled by Stillwater and end up in the Mississippi river.” Alternatively, “When they say killer whales. They mean they wailed on him ‘til they killed him, up in Penetration Park.”

Or ones more obvious like

“Payne Avenue lived up to its name”

Through Finn’s lyrics we can see into his past. He makes this possible through great detail and illusions to places, people and things.

This November, the band reissued their first two album with never released tracks. “Almost Killed Me” and “Separation Sunday” were released on CD and colored vinyl. The albums had never been on vinyl before.

Of course, being a massive Hold Steady fan I had to order these vinyls. Unfortunately, I could only afford one at a time. I decided to get my favorite of their six albums “Separation Sunday.”

To me, this album is incredibly special. It’s the album that really pushed on how great Criag Finn’s lyrics are. Plus, it has the song that got me into the Hold Steady on it “Cattle and the Creeping Things” and “Your Little Hoodrat Friend.”

“Cattle and the Creeping Things” is the second song off the album and is very obviously about Finn’s time in rehab. The song although rocks has this eerie sound to it.

“Cattle and the Creeping Things” has some great lyrics in it regarding the fact that during his treatment they were turning people Christian.

“They got to the part with the cattle and the creeping things, said I’m pretty sure we’ve heard this one before.”

“I guess I heard about original sin, I heard the dude blamed the chick, I heard the chick blamed the snake.”

These lyrics take a blunt look at the Bible and the stories in them. One can only imagine how many times he had to hear these verses to great these amazing and humorous views.

The next song on the album is “Your Little Hoodrat Friend.” Just reading the title you know exactly the type of person Finn is referring to. The whole song rocks hard and is lyrical genius. One of the lines in the song that has always stood out to me is;

“And I can’t stand all the things that she sticks into her skin. Like sharpened ballpoint pens and steel guitar strings. She says it hurts, But it’s worth it.”

This lyric has scratched itself into my brain and has become one of the staple lyrics for the band.

The New York/Twin Cities based band is still going strong today and is continuing to grow in popularity.

Some people aren’t a fan of Finn’s voice but once you listening to at least one album you will notice how incredible and unique it is.

The Hold Steady is a must listen to band, especially if you are from the Twin Cities and love hearing your towns mentioned in songs.

Cameron Campbell is an opinion writer for  The Dakota Student.  He can be reached at  [email protected]