An Artist and A Poet
Craig Finn’s third solo album, We All Want the Same Things, is rich with thoughtful lyrics and ear-pleasing instrumentals. Finn, who also leads a band known as The Hold Steady, showcases his artistry and skill with this newest project. We All Want the Same Things is not only musically eclectic, but also draws listeners in through its use of poetic lyrics. Interestingly, the first band Finn was involved in was Lifter Puller, a band that drew heavily from punk roots.
The first song of the new LP, “Jester June,” starts off a little awkward and strange as the listener struggles to get used to Finn’s voice and the peculiar way in which he utilizes it. The instrumental backdrop is perfect, but the way that the vocals start is a little shaky at best. After a quick period of settling in, however, the listener will begin to embrace Finn’s quirky style as a vocalist and lyricist. It is important to note that Finn writes the majority — if not all — of his works from a narrative point of view, with the narrator often being someone other than himself.
“Preludes,” which was released early on as a single, is a song that showcases Finn’s greatest strengths as an artist. The lyrics draw us in with their compelling story. Finn’s inventive and original approach to songwriting makes listeners want to delve deeper into his music; truly, he is an author. “Ninety Bucks” follows the same suit as “Preludes,” with an instrumental that aches and begs to be noticed, while the lyrics do all of the talking.
“Birds Trapped In the Airport” sees the album slowing down, showing how nimbly it can switch between moods. Finn’s tone of voice hardly changes, but the huskiness and roughness behind it nicely contrasts the musical context of this particular track, with its upbeat and clean sound. This song sees Finn using pop as a sonic backdrop, including female background vocals, giving the album a sound that is reminiscent of that of Motion City Soundtrack, while still maintaing its distinct tone that ultimately sets it apart.
“God in Chicago” is easily a favorite song on the album, starting with distinct, spoken words and lyrics that are open for interpretation, all set to an upbeat tempo. “It Hits When It Hits” is another strong track, with subdued guitar riffs that accompany the lyrics, leaving a distinct, ringing tone behind that is both hostile, volatile and highly musical. Other songs that are worth mentioning are “Tangletown” and “Be Honest,” which capture the overall feeling of the album. Craig Finn definitely deserves to be listened to — this artist knows exactly what he’s doing.