The Hold Steady

Heaven is Whenever

The Hold Steady, Heaven is Whenever

“You can’t kiss every girl,” Craig Finn sadly cautions early in Heaven Is Whenever. Unfortunately, the more appropriate wisdom gleaned from The Hold Steady’s fifth studio album is ultimately “You can’t go home again.”

The Details

The Hold Steady
Heaven is Whenever
Two stars
Beyond the Weekly
The Hold Steady, official site
Billboard: Heaven is Whenever

Whether keyboardist Franz Nicolay saw the writing on the wall or his January departure left a bigger hole than his bandmates could plaster over, the effort falls sharply short of immediate predecessors Boys and Girls in America and Stay Positive. The same seedy dives, shady rendezvous and listless characters still inhabit The Hold Steady’s mythologized Minneapolis, only now the relentless insider phrasing is more monotonous than inventive, and Finn’s rousing calls to action have all but fallen silent, buried beneath one aimless, muddled melody after another. He’s not yet a grizzled loner muttering about the old days at the end of the bar. But the regulars have heard his same old stories a few too many times before.


Julie Seabaugh

Get more Julie Seabaugh

Commenting Policy

Previous Discussion:

  • Gaga still lurches from one genre to another, sometimes within the same song.

  • Her voice sounded strong, but she’s still finding her footing as a live performer, figuring out the balance between the music and the conceptual set ...

  • "I started in Vegas. That was my first gig after I left Sonny." And it looks like Vegas may host her last gig, too.

  • Get More Music Stories
Top of Story