The Hold Steady
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
An aging rocker urges his musical peers to resist darkness creeping into their industry and "Stay Positive." An honest man of "wavering faith" prays for a girl he fears is in danger ("Lord, I'm Discouraged"). On "Yeah Sapphire" a skeptic admits that miracles can happen.
Other religious imagery finds singer Craig Finn at odds with his Catholic roots. The cynical "Constructive Summer" mentions the gospel, but concludes that "We are our only saviors" (heaven is climbing to the top of the local water tower and getting drunk). On "Slapped Actress" Finn disrespects his "wicked-strict Christian" family and the sacrament of Communion. Snide references to Jesus, Peter, Mary and Judas are intercut with what seems to be a woman's visions of a present-day murder ("Both Crosses"). A lady prone to getting "wasted" has a string of lovers and odd sexual hang-ups ("Magazines"). Cheap sex, drugs and alcohol are part of the rock star lifestyle, according to "Navy Sheets" and "Joke About Jamaica." "Sequestered in Memphis" tells of a one-night stand with a woman the singer met in a bar. Cautionary or not, "One for the Cutters" is the graphic depiction of a small-town party girl sucked into a world of drugs, murder and back-alley sex. An untitled cut treats self-destructive behavior and its vomiting aftermath as "just part of growing up."
Title aside, Stay Positive is a downer that props up old-school rock rakishness on a flimsy pillar of alcohol, drugs, cheap sex and confused jabs at Christianity.