Day 322: Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

16 Jan

Honolulu Blues

There’s always a sense of disappointment that runs through me when a stream of an album I’ve been looking forward to hits the web. For one, it always happens to be an album that I preordered, but the stream takes away any exclusivity that came along with the order.  It feels like some kind of bond has been broken between the band and the fan—almost as if the artists are saying that the ones who cared enough to preorder aren’t as important as the masses.  There’s also something amazing about ripping off the plastic wrapping on a brand new, never-before-heard CD or record, and knowing that you’re one of the first to listen to it.  Clicking play on the NPR website (where these streams always end up) gets rid of the illusion that you are #1, and lets you know for certain that tons of people handled this stuff before you did.

I can’t not check out a stream, though.  As a rabid music consumer, if the stuff of an artist I love is out there, I’ve got to listen.  So I caved, and gave the long awaited Craig Finn solo release a play.  While the mid-quality stream from the NPR music widget was disappointing, my man Mr. Finn came through.

It’s no secret that Craig has a way with words.  The Hold Steady, even with its chaotic pace and the great Tad Kubler on guitar, is a celebration of Craig Finn’s lyrics—making this solo record a wake.  The optimism that comes with the average Hold Steady song is nowhere to be found, and Finn’s colorful characters seem a lot less likely to bounce back from that crazy house party in a St. Paul suburb, or after a rough night of bar hopping in Ybor City.

Stream or no, this record rocks.  While I will have a little less fun with the CD/bandanna bundle that I ordered last week, it’ll still be nice to sit down with the album and read along with the lyrics.  I wonder how many gems like “people say we suck at sports / but they just don’t understand / it’s hard to catch with holes right through your hands” (on “My New Friend Jesus”) went right over my head this time around.

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One Response to “Day 322: Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes”

  1. Yuanny Dollar January 17, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    I know what you mean. It kind of feels like disloyalty. But he wants to sell records, and, as a real fan, you want him to sell records. He thinks the best way to do it is with a stream. Still there ought to be some way to sell records and be loyal and I think CF was just too lazy to figure it out. But the songs are great, so I forgive him.

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