Craig Finn has always had a reputation as an accomplished lyricist. In fact, he is as much of a poet as he is a Rock and Roll musician. His lyrics invoke an emotional connection that is evident as the crowd sings along at Hold Steady gigs. After all, this is the man who weaved the suicide of John Berryman into “Stuck Between Stations”. Not surprisingly, Clear Heart Full Eyes brings Finn’s poetic distinction to the forefront.
To be sure, the front man for Hold Steady has not forgotten the importance of the music. For this project, it tends to be more mellow and introspective, but is powerful none the less. My friend David, who has a daughter that is a budding musician at 13, recently made the point that musicians are sometimes far too serious and afraid to make people laugh. In fact, humor is a quality he is trying to encourage in the music of his daughter (Katie Deter). Humor has certainly never eluded Finn, as shown by the song, “New Friend Jesus”. He also invokes religious imagery often on Clear Heart Full Eyes. Consider this verse from “No Future”:
“I’ve been reading about the Calvary. The crucifixion still gets to me. I guess Golgotham meets the mount of execution. The best advice I got comes from ‘ol John Rotten. He said ‘God save the queen’ no future for you , no future for me”.
Finn is a modern day creative genius, and, Clear Heart Full Eyes is the perfect conduit to display his prodigious creativity.
About the author: Chip and his family live in Birmingham, AL. Roll Tide!