Craig Finn (photo courtesy of Big Hassle, PR)
We All Want The Same Things
Rock troubadour Craig Finn is best known as the frontman of the Hold Steady, Brooklyn's indie rock darlings. Before that, Finn was part of Lifter Puller, a band that was mostly active during the second half of the Nineties.
For the past five years, Finn has also carved a niche for himself as a solo artist. That niche gets a little deeper with We All Want The Same Things, his third solo effort, which arrives about a year and a half after his last one, Faith In The Future. On We All Want The Same Things, Finn’s trademark narrative writing style is in full bloom. He has fully come into his own as a singer and songwriter, whether writing for one voice or a band.
On this new album, Finn weaves tales that originate deep within himself— deeper than he has gone in the past. Additionally, his new songs have developed a seriousness that wasn’t as apparent before; his story-songs usually came from the perspective of a regular guy, drinking in a bar and telling accounts of college parties, broken romances, wild adventures, brushes with the law and other reckless happenings. Finn's stories are now a little darker, the settings are a little gloomier, and his characters are a little sadder. Everything in these life portraits has grown and matured.
The songs on We All Want The Same Things are studies of love and loneliness and the emotions that gravitate around both. Finn explores numerous circumstances and reveals how they play out in the lives of the characters he writes about. “Jester & June,” “Ninety Bucks,” “Rescue Blues” and “It Hits When It Hits” are songs that focus on the relationships between these individuals. They may, or may not, feel some degree of love for each other, but still find themselves together in tenuous situations.
Alienation permeates “Preludes" and in “God In Chicago," Finn fills his partly-spoken tale with vivid images of a man and woman in an unsavory situation. Despite being in uncharted territory together, Finn's couple takes a few moments to experience the positivity of companionship, even if it is fleeting.
Josh Kaufman, who produced Faith In The Future, is back in the same chair on We All Want The Same Things. Additional musicians on the album include guitarist Tad Kubler, Finn’s Hold Steady bandmate.
For the individuals in Craig Finn’s world, frivolity has given way to contemplation, and this is on display on We All Want The Same Things. As for Finn, he is one of indie rock’s premier bards, strongly reflected in his latest solo work.