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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just How Repetitive Is Craig Finn?

Posted by on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 3:33 PM

On the new Hold Steady record, Heaven Is Whenever (which is only 50% good, BTW), Craig Finn says "kid" (or "kids") 12 times. He says "heaven" 13 times. In 10 songs.

Now I was going to stop there, but then I started wondering: Just how repetitive is Craig Finn when it comes to Hold Steady lyrics? It turns out dude's pretty repetitive. Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. And he shows no sign of letting up on this new record.

There are three mentions of parties (or partying) on Heaven. There are nearly 50 throughout Hold Steady's catalog (not including covers). Dancing also gets three more nods, bringing its total to 24. Heaven has two mentions of positivity, bringing that total to 14; two mentions of kissing, so now that's up to 33; and three mentions the word "city," so now that's up to 20 (if you include variations like cities, cityscape, etc.).

He describes something as "sketchy" for the fourth time, he sings about alcohol and cigarettes for the bazillionth time, and he (once again) mentions Youth of Today, townies, and horses. In a surprising twist, however, he doesn't say a single word about Judas or Gideon, who've been mentioned 10 and 12 times in the past, respectively. (He does, however, name drop Jesus... for the tenth time.)

I love Craig Finn as a lyricist. My love goes all the way back to his Lifter/Puller years. But even I'm starting to get tired of hearing about the same things over and over again.


Comments (11) RSS

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Jason Spaceman has made a career of singing about three things:

1. Having a broken heart
2. Drugs
3. Religion
Posted by Jeff on May 12, 2010 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Andy_Squirrel 2
I wish I had a career of talking over music thats playing in the background by my bandmates, it seems to be treating him well.

Posted by Andy_Squirrel on May 12, 2010 at 4:03 PM · Report this
cosby 3
@1: The difference is the music. '100 Bars' by Spirutalized is literally just a woman counting and it is still better than anything the Hold Steady will ever do. I see your point, but it's never about lyrics alone. If it were about lyrics alone, we could compare Sonic Youth to Hootie and the Blowfish.
Posted by cosby on May 12, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Not to mention the incessant use of the words, "She says." I think I'm done.
Posted by remarkablyadept on May 12, 2010 at 4:30 PM · Report this
bunnypuncher 5
@3 - YES.
Posted by bunnypuncher on May 12, 2010 at 4:50 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 6
@4 How did I not think to include that. He says "she says/said" more than anything else, I'd bet.
Posted by Megan Seling on May 12, 2010 at 5:13 PM · Report this
LEE. 7

you neglected to mention

Posted by LEE. on May 12, 2010 at 6:28 PM · Report this
@3, Yes. Sonic Youth lyrics can be really, really awful. Thankfully the music tends to be infinitely better and it's easy to ignore the words (especially if Kim Gordon isn't on the mic). Hold Steady on the other hand have built their reputation on lyrics. Maybe Craig Finn should try to write about a wider range of topics. John Darnielle, for example, manages to write compelling lyrics on all sorts of subjects...and he's a hell of a lot more prolific than Craig Finn.
Posted by crackedmachine on May 13, 2010 at 1:10 AM · Report this

Agree. Spaceman can make the same album every year and I will still buy it.

100 Bars is a brilliant example.
Posted by Jeff on May 13, 2010 at 9:21 AM · Report this
by half good do you mean that 5/10 songs are good or that the quality of each song averages 5?
Posted by Dutch on May 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 11
@10 I should've clarified--5/10 of the songs are good. Not great. Just good. The rest are useless.
Posted by Megan Seling on May 13, 2010 at 1:17 PM · Report this

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