- This One Time I Got High With This Girl
- The One Time She Got High With This Other Guy But I Didn’t Really Care Cause I Was High Too
- This One Time I Got High At A Party With Like A Bunch Of People And She Was There Too
- This One Time I Got High And Thought About Jesus
- I Got High With That Girl Again And Then We Had Sex
- This Time I Didn’t Get High But I Was Pretty Drunk
- Then I Got High Again
I love them and all, but yeah, mostly this. However, can’t forget the song worrying about the girl because she’s getting too high, too often, and/or with the wrong people… And how he wants to save her.
You also can’t forget the song about how important/transformative music is… Especially while high or drunk.
Oh yeah, I really like them and I didn’t mean to diminish their music or anything, I just find it humorous how consistent their themes are.
Title: Stuck Between Stations
Artist: The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady - “Stuck Between Stations”
In late 2006 I was chatting on AIM (RIP) with a girl from San Francisco who I knew via Twitter or something, and I asked her what she’d been listening to lately. At the time I was going through a punk phase, that never ended so much as it receded, and she was super into all that nasally indie rock shit that apparently everybody in San Francisco was in love with in 2006. Like, Tapes and Tapes, Modest Mouse, Cold War Kids, et al. Not that I didn’t have my dalliance with all that, especially Cold War Kids which I initially hated, but at some point I grew out of good vibes and awkward, fumbling attempts at sex, which is basically all that music is good for. Anyway, she recommended I listen to The Hold Steady along with the aforementioned bands, and that’s where it all started.
Boys & Girls In America is the first Hold Steady album I ever listened to and the first that ever really clicked with me. Though it’s less mythological than Separation Sunday in that it moves away from the tragic trio, this gives it the benefit of being more simply universal. While you can tie some of the narrative perspectives to either of the characters - one of the lines on “Stuck Between Stations” is “words won’t save your life,” which is very similar to Holly saying “words alone won’t save you” on a track definitely about her - that they’re barely mentioned by name gives the record a wider point of entry for those seeking to relate. That said, they’re not totally absent; “First Night” reflects on where they all currently are, with Holly in the hospital not far from the bar in “Barfruit Blues”, regretting her decline and that she “can’t get as high as we got on that first night.” “Party Pit” is sort of her farewell song and also contains one of the greatest refrains in The Hold Steady discography: “Gonna walk around and drink some more.”
In this article which explores the religious themes present in Finn’s music, the author asks Finn which song best encapsulates the message he’s trying to convey with his lyrics, to which he answers “Citrus”. It isn’t the quintessential Hold Steady song, but the delicate acoustic guitar accompanied by Finn’s soft singing reveals the versatility of The Hold Steady as musicians. It’s a beautiful moment of pause among the heavier electric riffs and drum bashing, and makes the following track about a spontaneous romance between two kids who overdosed at a festival stand out that much more.
To introduce somebody to The Hold Steady I would reach straight for Boys & Girls In America. Though it lacks some of the punchier moments that Separation Sunday is full of, it provides such a refined distillation of everything which make them an incredible band. From the bar room romanticism and exuberant love to the pianos and the gutsy licks, it has everything you need to tell if you can still be friends with someone who’s never heard of the band before. Plus it has their best b-side, but more on that later.
“She was a real good kisser and she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian” is one of my favorite lines ever.