Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Craig Finn: I Need a New War [Partisan, 2019]
As Finn has aged, so have his protagonists. All 10 of these are tired, their escapes meager and their day-to-days dull and depressing; only one "had a kid and all the rest" and only one is in a relationship; most struggle or worse economically, grinding their way through shit jobs if they have jobs at all; even when they're middle class they don't enjoy it. Is it really that bad out there, statistically? Not quite. But with his singing reflective and his arrangements relaxed, Finn's compassion for these lost souls is educational and exemplary. My favorites include the hapless hopeful who wants to blow an insurance payout on a trip to the mountains that'll give Joanie "something to hope for," the pilgrim who manages to search out his ex-wife waitressing in St. Paul before the numbers the doc found in his chest finish him off, and the bank clerk who leaves a 20 on the kitchen counter for the well-meaning loser she wishes she could lift from his misery. Beneath the 20 is a message for sufferers everywhere: "Have a decent day." A-