There’s little doubting the quality and scope of Craig Finn’s songwriting. Fronting first Lifter Puller and then The Hold Steady, Finn has long been penning and delivering some of the most exciting and meaningful lyrics in the business. Depending on your view of such things, his energy and exuberance has long accentuated or masked a great depth at the heart of his writing, with many of his songs exploring the fundamental loss of belief in contemporary culture and our complicated, varied and sometimes druggy/ugly/bloody attempts at locating suitably persuasive alternatives.
Aside from his band work, Finn also has a burgeoning solo career, and March will see the release of We All Want The Same Things, his third record under his own name. Once again teaming up with producer Josh Kaufman (The National, Josh Ritter), the record appears to possess Finn’s most fleshed-out, developed sound to date as a solo artist, the degree of variety and melody suggesting something more far-reaching than his previous releases.
This is perhaps apt considering Finn’s thematic aims. The album looks to explore what love means in a contemporary setting. “Love seems like the biggest mystery in our modern days,” he told NPR. “No amount of science or advances in technology can help us fully understand the notion of love and the role it plays in our lives.” Through a series of character studies, Finn brings to life ordinary people moving through the world as best they can, trying to be better, or at least no worse, while figuring out with whom to share their time and energy.
First single ‘Preludes’ is what Finn calls the “closest to being autobiographical,” charting a mid-90s return from college pitched at the exact point where loneliness and freedom intersect. The relationship between this curious pair of emotional bedfellows has long haunted Finn’s worlds, and seems more pertinent than ever in current times. The fact title We All Want The Same Things seems both blackly ironic and fundamentally truthful right now says something of our current position, though we’re lucky to have people such as Craig Finn ready and able to explore them on a compassionate, human level.
We All Want The Same Things is out on the 24th March via Partisan Records and you can pre-order it now from the Craig Finn Pledge Music page, which includes some nice exclusive items.