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Faith In the Future

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Album Review

Craig Finn has always had the potential to be the Bizarro World version of Bruce Springsteen, spinning tales of earnest heartland folks whose obsessions are loopy but sincere variations of the thematic triumvirate of fast cars, low-budget romance, and middle-class survival that has been the Boss' trademark for decades. Finn's melodies even conjure up an approximation of the melodramatic grandeur of Springsteen's music, though without the emphatic charge of the E-Street Band; if Springsteen's work is hi-def programming viewed on a 60-inch flat screen, Finn's is more like a slightly worn VHS tape viewed on a TV that was rescued from a junk shop, though there are shows that work better that way, seen through a prism of homey distortion. All these things come to mind while listening to Faith in the Future, the second solo album from the Hold Steady's frontman, which gives him more room to explore his themes as an enlightened bar-band troubadour, and if the noisy sideways guitar solos on "Maggie I've Been Searching for Our Son" and "Going to a Show," the clanking lockstep drums on "Roman Guitars," and the woozy slide guitar on "St. Peter Upside Down" wouldn't go over at an arena gig, the songs might do the trick anyway. Finn wrote this set of songs after the death of his mother, and while none of them deal with the notion of maternal loss, there's an undertow of grief and human consequence that runs through this material, such as the low-level drug abuse in "Sandra from Scranton" and "Going to a Show," the musician running on fumes in "Newmyer's Roof," the old friend whose life is in a shambles in "Sarah, Calling from a Hotel," and the self-explanatory agonies of "I Was Doing Fine (Then a Few People Died)." Finn's slightly craggy voice gives his characters the lived-in qualities they need, and Josh Kaufman's production gracefully walks the line between the straightforward and the slightly bent. At its best, Faith in the Future is a compelling and suitably individual study of the Darkness on the Edge of Some Other Town, where Finn has plenty of stories to share.

Customer Reviews

Craig Finn is the warm butter.

I like this guy, he's a good coach.

Never disappoints

I’m a fan and thus purchased on impulse. I’ve not been disappointed at all. Same great lyrics and vibe from Graig. A solid effort. Surprised at so few comments.

Great for longtime fans and new listeners alike

Another great solo album from Craig Finn, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of The Hold Steady, best known as the greatest active rock 'n' roll band today (in my humble opinion).

This album sounds rather different from Craig's solo debut, which had a distinct homespun and new country feel to it. In contrast, Faith in the Future sounds more like a contemporary indie/rock songwriter record. The arrangements are always varied and interesting: "Roman Guitars" and "Saint Peter Upside Down" in particular have some nice horn parts. And the lyrics are classic Craig Finn, recounting stories of folks facing tough times, with just enough ambiguity and symbolism to keep things interesting.

This is definitely a must-listen for Hold Steady and Finn fans, but also a great entrance point for the curious. Highly recommended.


Born: August 22, 1971 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Perhaps best known as the singer of the Hold Steady, Craig Finn is a Minnesota-bred singer, songwriter, and guitarist based out of New York City. Combining literary influences like Jack Kerouac and John Berryman with the musical influences of Bruce Springsteen and fellow Minnesotan Paul Westerberg, Finn's highly descriptive lyrical style has a focus on narrative, crafting whole worlds for the people in his songs to exist within. In 1994, the singer put this style to work with the indie rock band...
Full Bio
Faith In the Future, Craig Finn
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Customer Ratings