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Music Nerdist: REVIEW. HOLD STEADY "STAY POSITIVE"

Hold_steadystay_positive
I had an odd moment this week. Whilst I was casually walking through the automatic sliding doors of a Rite Aid (I live in a poor area.) I was greeted with a sign that read “BACK TO SCHOOL SALE!”. It caused a flash of panic and despair, like I had just blown my summer. Like I hadn’t fully utilized my vacation, school was just right around the corner, and I forgot to do the required reading before english class which is, of course, THE FIRST PERIOD OF THE SEMESTER!
Then I realized, I graduated high school already (barely), I have nothing to worry about (as far as learning is concerned). Yet, I still was a bit bummed on the near-end of summer.

The reason i bring this up is because when the sunny season began this year I had received a copy of STAY POSITIVE by brooklynite-bar-band THE HOLD STEADY.

This album has the hopeful and reckless abandonment you feel as a kid when school gets out. CONSTRUCTIVE SUMMER is the opening track and with the line “We’re Gonna Build Something This Summer!”  you immediately feel pumped up. Pumped up like you just  gotta hop on your bike and ride down to the quarry hole, go swimming, and talk about the crazy “tree-house-dam-fort-make-out-party-having-club-house”  that you and your Cutter friends are gonna make with branches and mud (hopefully pennywise the clown won’t kill you before that.)
The album continues rocking with some of the best sing-alongs for guys who feel they should like BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN but just haven’t been able to understand why that guy at the record store always proclaims “No dude, you gotta get the album NEBRASKA.”  My retort? No, no I effing don’t need to get Nebraska.

So, go get it. And live the rest of your life like you’
re on summer vacation.

(honorable mention for a great summer song. TOTALLY MICHAEL “death hill over and over“)

-Jonah Ray

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5 comments

  • that summer reading pales in comparison to ours. we had to read the book called the “Aneid”, which follows the fictional events after the fall of troy to the founding of the roman empire. now this book may sound fun to the 300 fanboys but in reality it is written in the shakespearean style (i know i spelled that wrong) poetic writing. Needless to say the Jesus of boring literature, sparknotes, has saved the day once again.

  • Why would anyone on their right mind feel that they should like Bruce Springsteen? That’s just really, really sad.

    And, seriously, The Hold Steady? A band that never met a cliché it didn’t love, a band that does nothing but regurgitate the most overdone tropes of already worn-out rock n’ roll, never adding even a hint of innovation or intelligence to it? Singalong? Yes, sure, but just because it’s so basic, so simple and so wilfully stupid it can’t help but be easy to understand and repeat.

    Feh. I would expect a nerdist to demand more from their art.

  • author

    Wow, Teaflax. That was an amazing showcase of fancy words. Yet, in all that talk I can only assume that you don’t like FUN.

    If you’ve been in a band for more than a few years (like these gentlemen have) you come to realize that after a while you just wanna rock out with your friends and have fun.

    I understand you praise the holy book of PITCHFORK, and you totally “get” what MAN IS THE BASTARD was doing. But after these guys spent some years pushing for interesting music (read: LFTR PLLR) They decided to just relish in the good times thats playing rock and roll with your friends. A cliche isn’t always a bad thing.

    So when yer done listening to math rock and thinking yer gonna change the world ( meaning, when you graduate college). And yer fingers aren’t too sore from sifting through the record bins at the old man jazz record shop, where you’ll be trying SO HARD to find that limited edition CAN 7″ you can impress your friends with. Dial me up, I’ll be with my friends, having a drink, and listening, un-ironically, to “one headlight” by the Wallflowers.

    In conclusion, my answer is NO. You can not be a music nerdist on this blog. Thanks for your inquiry…and KEEP ON READING!

  • Ack! Thanks a bunch for the scariest picture of Pennywise fathomable. I wouldn’t shower without someone else in the room for three years after that TV movie aired. Curse my damnable masochism for making me click that link even though I knew what was coming.

    Also, fun entry.

  • Dear Jonah. I certainly do know what FUN is, I have played in many, many bands throughout the years, and I have been to the Pitchfork site exactly four times.

    Yet still…The Hold Steady is a band that just wallows in the humdrum and celebrates being mediocre and not trying too much (because THAT would be pretentious and actually taking a risk). This is music that is (deliberately, no less) not hard enough to rock out to, not grooving enough to dance to, not clever enough to marvel at, not smart enough to pay attention to and not even dumb enough to actually be funny.

    It’s on the same pre-chewed, safe as milk and easy to digest level as any Top 40 act, but just because they haven’t bothered the charts, they’re considered somewhat hip.

    Not trying and not daring is never hip. Cowardice – musical or otherwise – will always be square.