MP3: The Hold Steady – “Hurricane J” from Heaven Is Whenever, out now on Vagrant.
“You’re a beautiful girl and you’re a pretty good waitress.” Craig Finn is still a hell of a storyteller. Dude manages to convey so much in so few words. I’m not willing to go as far as calling his lyrics Hemingwayesque, but his secret is leaving out the most important details and letting the truth fill in the blanks. “Hurricane J” is words of advice from a not entirely altruistic narrator to a pretty young fuckup. “You know I’ll never ask you to change, I’ll only ask you to try.” He may be jaded, but Finn has yet to succumb to cynicism, which allows him to pick up the story where Brian Wilson‘s “Caroline No” left off without sounding like a condescending creep. “You’re too hard already, you’ll only get harder.”
This is the same territory that the Hold Steady has been mining forever, but as long as they manage to pull out gems like this, I hope they continue to keep digging.