Separation Sunday

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Separation Sunday
The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday cover.jpg
Studio album by The Hold Steady
Released May 3, 2005 (2005-05-03)
Genre Indie rock
Length 42:11
Label Frenchkiss Records
Producer Dean Baltulonis, Dave Gardner
The Hold Steady chronology
Almost Killed Me
(2004)
Separation Sunday
(2005)
Boys and Girls in America
(2006)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 86/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
Blender 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[5]
NME 8/10[6]
Pitchfork Media 8.7/10[7]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[8]
Uncut 5/5 stars[9]
The Village Voice A−[10]

Separation Sunday is the second studio album by The Hold Steady, released on May 3, 2005 through Frenchkiss Records. A concept album, Separation Sunday follows the stories of Craig (the narrator), Holly (short for Halleluiah), a sometimes addict, sometimes prostitute, sometimes born again Christian/Catholic (and sometimes all three simultaneously); Charlemagne, a pimp; and Gideon, a skinhead, as they travel from city to city and party to party. (All three characters made appearances on the band's previous album, Almost Killed Me, and reappear in "First Night", and "Same Kooks" on Boys and Girls in America, and then again in "Ask Her For Adderall", a bonus track from Stay Positive.)

Separation Sunday is lyrically dense, full of Biblical allusions,[11] intertextual and self references (e.g., in "Don't Let Me Explode," when Holly is asked about Charlemagne, "she just smiled all polite-like and said something vague"; in Almost Killed Me's closing track, "Killer Parties," the narrator instructs listeners, "If they ask about Charlemagne/Be polite, say something vague"), word play, and puns ("Stevie Nix": "She got screwed up by religion/she got screwed by soccer players"). Vocalist/songwriter Craig Finn typically delivers these lyrics in a distinct flavor of sing-speak.

Musically, Separation Sunday engages Classic rock motifs -- guitar solos, riff-based structures, use of piano and organ, and guitar harmony. Structurally, however, most songs eschew the standard "verse-chorus-verse" song structure, frequently foregoing choruses or refrains altogether. In a review of the album, Blender described The Hold Steady as "sound[ing] like the best bar band in the world."[12]

The album received an 8.7 on Pitchfork Media, and ranked at number eight on the 2005 Pazz & Jop critic's poll.[13] The album was named the number ten album of the year by Spin.

The album cover was photographed at the corner of Maspeth Avenue and Conselyea Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Craig Finn and Tad Kubler, except where noted.

  1. "Hornets! Hornets!" - 4:48
  2. "Cattle and the Creeping Things" - 3:47
  3. "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" - 3:54
  4. "Banging Camp" - 4:16
  5. "Charlemagne in Sweatpants" - 3:59
  6. "Stevie Nix" (Finn, Kubler, Galen Polivka) - 5:28
  7. "Multitude of Casualties" - 3:06
  8. "Don't Let Me Explode" (Finn, Franz Nicolay) - 2:23
  9. "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" (Finn, Kubler, Nicolay) - 3:20
  10. "Crucifixion Cruise" - 1:51
  11. "How a Resurrection Really Feels" - 5:32

Personnel[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Nicole Wills – vocals
  • Peter Hess – horns
  • Tim Byrnes – horns
  • Alan Ferber – horns

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reviews for Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady". Metacritic. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Separation Sunday – The Hold Steady". AllMusic. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday". Blender (36): 122. May 2005. 
  4. ^ Wood, Mikael (May 30, 2005). "Separation Sunday". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  5. ^ Simpson, Dave (May 4, 2007). "The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday". The Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ Jam, James (May 23, 2007). "The Hold Steady: Almost Killed Me / Separation Sunday". NME. 
  7. ^ Breihan, Tom (May 5, 2005). "The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  8. ^ Hoard, Christian (May 19, 2005). "Separation Sunday". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  9. ^ Empire, Kitty (June 2007). "The Hold Steady: Almost Killed Me / Separation Sunday". Uncut (121): 110. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 17, 2005). "Consumer Guide: Beguilement and Rage". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  11. ^ NPR : 'Cattle and the Creeping Things' by The Hold Steady
  12. ^ The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday (2005): Reviews
  13. ^ Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 2005: Critics Poll
  14. ^ Gridskipper: New York City Album Covers