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May 21, 2024

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The Hold Steady
Almost Killed Me (French Kiss)

By: Cam Lindsay

Spoken word has a very limited role in rock. I suppose Henry Rollins is the best example of how it can work (sometimes), but really, it's not an art that is practiced often with precision. The Hold Steady, however, smash the system with their debut album, Almost Killed Me. Formed out of the ashes of Lifter Puller by members Craig Finn (vocals) and Tad Kubler (guitar), to support their friends in a comedy troupe, The Hold Steady is as powerful lyrically as the cool classic rock riffs that support. The reason why Almost Killed Me works is because of the subject matter that Finn chooses to discuss. Based on the comings and goings of his life and those around him, his storytelling is colourful, to say the least, preaching unapologetic lines like "A knock off necktie/the way he wore it made it look more like a tourniquet" and "Everyone's a critic and most people are DJs". Most interesting though is how he squeezes a name drop of the band into virtually every song. With such a fervent attitude, you begin to wonder if his brainwashing method is a little too aggressive to work. Whatever he's doing though, it's working because these songs are very hard to forget.
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