Heaven Is Whenever Review

artist: the hold steady date: 07/20/2010 category: compact discs
the hold steady: Heaven Is Whenever
Released: May 4, 2010
Genre: Indie rock, pub rock
Label: Vagrant, Rough Trade
Number Of Tracks: 10
With the departure of keyboardist and co-songwriter Franz Nicolay, The Hold Steady felt a new sound with more space would be a good path to take on their new album.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 8
 Overall rating:
 7.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 8 
 Users rating:
 7.5 
 Votes:
 8 
reviews (2) 4 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7
Heaven Is Whenever Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 10, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: With the departure of keyboardist and co-songwriter Franz Nicolay, The Hold Steady felt a new sound with more space would be a good path to take on their new album: Heaven is Whenever. Unfortunately, they ended up with an overproduced sound that muddles up almost the entire album. With tracks like We Can Get Together and A Slight Discomfort, the overuse of background vocals and unnecessary sounds added in makes it difficult to enjoy the song itself (and they are both great songs live). Even though some tracks are a bit overproduced, one cannot love the raw sounds on Rock Problems and Hurricane J which simply feature guitars, keyboards, drums, and bass: the core of The Hold Steady. Overall, the sound could be better and frankly the songs work better live. // 6

Lyrics: The Hold Steady has always been known for Craig Finn's deep, poetic lyrics, and that continues on Heaven is Whenever for the most part. Writing about something different than teens partying and getting high, Craig Finn begins to write advice songs like Soft in the Center and quasi-love songs like We Can Get Together. Now while there is this change, Craig Finn still maintains his haunting writing in Barely Breathing and A Slight Discomfort but with a different twist than songs from Stay Positive or Separation Sunday. There aren't many poorly written songs on the album though The Smidge is one of the worst Hold Steady songs in my opinion, even though the chorus is pretty tight and The Sweet Part of the City just drones to me. All and all, Craig Finn continues progressing while sticking to his roots. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, Heaven is Whenever isn't The Hold Steady's best work. To me, it feels like a step sideways rather than a step forward. Some songs (The Weekenders, Hurricane J, Our Whole Lives) are some of the best work the band has done whereas songs like The Smidge and The Sweet Part of the City are worth skipping and in some odd side-category, you have the songs that are great but just poorly produced like We Can Get Together and A Slight Discomfort. I'd buy it again if it was lost, but that would only be to support a band that I love so much. // 7

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overall: 9
Heaven Is Whenever Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 20, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The hold steady come back from the critically acclaimed "Stay Positive" to bring us yet another great album. "Heaven is Whenever" is the 4th studio album from the brooklyn band and this time the riffs are a bit more "crunchy" then on there recent albums. Some die-hard fans may be taken aback by the sound, but for me its a nice welcome for the band. It may be a little repetative at times, but an overall nice sound. // 8

Lyrics: As many know, the reason the hold steady is one of the best in the business isnt because of there sound, but because of Craig Finn's unique lyrics. And "Heaven is Whenever" is no exception. With lyrics that will blow you away, everysong is fresh and innovative. Songs like the weekenders and a slight discomfort really shine through with lyrics like "She said the theme of this parties the industrial age. And you came in dressed like a train wreck." and "You say your a princess. But I remain unconvinced. I've seen the guys that youve been with. And they don't seem much like princes." The lyrics never fail to impress. // 10

Overall Impression: This is overall a very solid effort from the hold steady. The sound may sound overproduced at some moments, but between the great riffs and superb lyrics, its hard to not like this album. And those that don't like the band because of lead singer Craig Finn's voice may be glad to know, he took voice lessons specifically for this album, and he sounds much better. Now go buy this album. Now. // 9

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More The Hold Steady reviews rating latest review
+ Teeth Dreams 7.5 03/26/2014
+ Separation Sunday 9.2 06/14/2011
+ Stay Positive 9.6 07/15/2008
+ Boys And Girls In America 9.4 08/08/2007
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