CRAIG FINN (HOLD STEADY) – ” God In Chicago “

Posted: December 16, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

The plaintive tune “God In Chicago” appears at the midpoint of Craig Finn’s “We All Want The Same Things”, his third and most fully realized solo album to date. While it’s got all the characteristics of the best of the Hold Steady and Lifter Puller songs — when push comes to shove, I bet Wayne from Winnetka could hold his own with Charlemagne from “Separation Sunday” — the track feels utterly singular in Finn’s body of work. With unsettling solemnity and uncanny deliberation, “God In Chicago” befits a Midwestern winter, icy and foreboding. It comes not in hollers, but in hushed tones, hinting at desperation and hiding fresh wounds. It’s a short story of a song that’s fixated on specificity: that Mexican restaurant near Midway, a left turn on Cermak, the Walgreens near the Hyatt. “God In Chicago” is an attempt at closure amid unfinished business and uncertain future.

We expect strong characters and compelling stories from Craig Finn, whether he’s recording solo or with the Hold Steady. We even expect beautiful details and excellent location scouting. But we didn’t expect a song as powerful, as specific, as lived in, as beautiful, as insightful, as risky as “God in Chicago,” one of the great surprises of 2017. The music is as simple as anything he’s ever done: just a few sad piano chords and a bruised chorus that never repeats. He doesn’t sing, either. Instead, he relates the story of two grieving souls in a matter-of-fact tone, speaking to you, direct and conversational, as casual as a tale told over beers but as serious as a eulogy. When he remarks, “We all want the same things,” you know exactly what he’s talking about, because this story he’s telling isn’t just about two people selling drugs and having a night in Chicago. It’s about you and me and our desire to find some brief escape from the beautiful horror of living.

“We All Want The Same Things” available now on Partisan Records.

“God in Chicago” written by Craig Finn & Josh Kaufman
Craig Finn – Vocals
Josh Kaufman – Bass
Sam Kassirer – Piano, Organ
Matt Barrick – Drums
Annie Nero – Additional Vocals

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