Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Hold Steady: Thrashing Thru the Passion [Frenchkiss, 2019]
The return of keyboardist, sparkplug, prose moonlighter, and de facto second banana Franz Nicolay signals and embodies a new burst of energy from alt-rock lifers' favorite bar band. As Craig Finn devotes his solo work to loser sociology, the band where he makes his nut can turn its full attention to its lifelong passion: rock and roll with literary standards. "Hold Steady at the Comfort Inn/Mick Jagger at the Mandarin/Once you get good you can get it wherever you are." As Hemingway said to Donna Summer after rhyming "Cafe Select" with "discotheque": "It's a living." B+