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Stay Positive

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iTunes Review

The Hold Steady aren’t going soft on their fourth album, 2008’s Stay Positive, but they are becoming more musical. Where in the past the band was often satisfied slamming down power chords and tough riffage while “singer” Craig Finn ranted his booze-soaked teen anthems, they now expect Finn to sing a memorable melody while keyboardist Franz Nicolay and guitarist Tad Kubler layer the attack. “Constructive Summer” and the album’s first single “Sequestered in Memphis”, with its unexpected saxophone, make a formidable one-two punch, charged with energy and a barrage of sound that threatens to steamroll right over Finn. The title track lifts the melody from Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” (consciously?) to sell its power of positive thinking message. “Lord, I’m Discouraged” is the band’s first successful power ballad, played as if the wheels were coming off before they even started. The notes fall into place while Finn stumbles down the staircase and Kubler sends out a classic late-‘80s hair-metal styled guitar solo. By “Slapped Actress”, the album’s catchy closer, the band have subtly redefined their sound as AOR for the new millennium.

Customer Reviews

These Sing Along Songs Will Be Our Scriptures

This is a brilliant album. Totally classic sounding. Like something from a pure rock and roll lineage. It's an expanded Hold Steady sound from their previous efforts. Not that there's any weird experimentation or cutting edge fusions of trends, it's just there's more colors in their palette than before. There may be harpsichords (One for the Cutters) and keyboard parps (Navy Sheets) and talkbox solos (Joke About Jamaica) on top of the world class hard rocking riffs (Sequestered In Memphis, Magazines, Yeah Sapphire) but these songs could have come from any year since the Stones nailed Exile right up to this one. Equal parts literate punk rock (Constructive Summer, Stay Positive), AM radio choruses (Most of the album) and Americana, THS are everything good about the last 40 years of rock and roll and this is the album of the year for the discerning rock and roller like yourself. And Myself.

Just Fantastic

Honestly, if you liked any of their previous stuff then you HAVE to get this. In fact, even if you've never heard them before this record is 100% need to own material

A Great Album From the Best Band in The World

THis is another great instalment to the Hold Steady's collection of albums and I believe that the best is still to come. Got some great operatic songs, such as Lord, I'm discouraged, Joke About Jamaica and Slapped Actress. I would also recommend Stay Positive, Constructive Summer and Sequestered in Memphis. Well worth the £7.99. Lets get them into the top 10 selling albums. Superb Stuff!!!! Keep it coming Lads!!!!


Formed: 2000 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Resisting the musical trends in New York City, vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn (ex-Lifter Puller) formed the Hold Steady after moving from Minneapolis in 2000. Wanting to capture the sound of bands such as the Replacements and the Grifters, he recruited guitarist Tad Kubler (also ex-Lifter Puller), drummer Judd Counsell, and bassist Galen Polivka. Recording mostly live, the band released its debut, Almost Killed Me, on Frenchkiss Records in March 2004. Dave Gardener (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like...
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