"Stay Positive" by The Hold Steady (2008)
Just when you think a band can't possibly offer anything nearly as good as what they've previously done they go and do it all over again. All of The Hold Steady's three previous releases have been near masterpieces and their new record Stay Positive just ups the ante yet again.
Stay Positive is the most produced record yet for Craig Finn and company but don't let that scare you. All that production money has just made Finn's obsessions with The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen jump even fuller off the speakers. First single "Sequestered in Memphis" is Darkness At The Edge of Town era Springsteen to the max and opener "Constructive Summer" would make The Boss and Paul Westerberg proud. New wrinkles are even mixed in that we've never heard from these guys before. "One For the Cutters" is actually led in by a kick ass harpsichord solo (no friggin' joke) and "Both Crosses" finds J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. lending an awesome hand on banjo. But those who love The Hold Steady know to get ready for good ol' fashioned drinking anthems and Stay Positive is full of them. Lift your glasses high and be prepared to sing at the top of your lungs to the infectious as hell self-titled track and the album closer "Slapped Actress" will have you "Oh-Oh!"-ing along with your fists pumping along. The world needs a band like The Hold Steady in depressing times such as these and you need to run out and buy Stay Positive if you hope to make your 2008 summer complete - it's worth every molecule of gas you'll expend.
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