If you want to kill somebody, listen to this CD. The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me will undoubtedly irritate you enough to cause you to commit many crimes that are widely socially unacceptable. Murder, being one of them.

One question I asked myself whilst exposing my ears to such abhorrence was, “Who allows these people to exist?” But then I gave it a second thought and figured that it is not up to me or anyone else on this Earth to determine the reason and justification of any person or group of people. So then it was concluded that the question I should be asking is, “Who gave these guys a record deal?” Apparently, Frenchkiss Records. The evolution of music warrants many a bizarre and frightful sound and I am glad for the variety… However- this? No dice.

I shall now proceed to list in a clear and orderly manner of why I do not enjoy this album at all:

1. What is up with the whiny, whiny singing/talking?

2. The subject matter of these songs are so stream-of-consciousness and random that it makes very little sense, so you can’t even appreciate a decent message in the music. Not to mention, it totally looks and sounds like some guy ripped it out of a page from his rant-book because it’s all just complaining and run-on sentences. Either that or he was under some major influence while writing this. It worked for The Beatles and pretty much any rock and roll band from the 60s and 70s. Those days are over. It will not work for you.

3. There is a lame saxophone solo in track 7, “Hostile, Mass.” It sounds like an opening for Jay Leno or that other late night guy… Totally not befitting at all to whatever rock/punk sounds they’ve got. Or perhaps it’s reflecting how the movement from one subject matter to another is completely random and abrupt, much like a comedian… Nah.

4. The album cover design features vintage-ified black and white photos of all the “cool kids” at their parties drinking and smoking it up with their eyes artfully blocked out with a black bar. And some kid flips you the bird. Gee, these guys are so cool and badass. “OMGwe’resopunkrockandrollhardcore!”

5. The rhythm is lacking in some areas. The guitar solos are gratuitous and boring. The lyrics are redundant and uninteresting (“If she says we partied then I’m pretty sure we partied. I really don’t remember. I remember we departed from our bodies”). And did I mention that whiny, whiny singing/talking?

6. If by any chance this band gets big, the one factor that will ultimately make me lose all faith in the music industry is if this gets on the radio. Actually, I’ve said that before…

Alright then, consider me musically atheist.

(Frenchkiss Records)

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