Stay Positive (album)

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Stay Positive
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released15 July 2008
GenreIndie rock, alternative rock, heartland rock
Length43:48
LabelVagrant/Rough Trade
ProducerJohn Agnello
The Hold Steady chronology
Boys and Girls in America
(2006)
Stay Positive
(2008)
Heaven Is Whenever
(2010)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic85/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]
The A.V. ClubB+[3]
Entertainment WeeklyA[4]
The Guardian4/5 stars[5]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[6]
MSN Music (Consumer Guide)B+[7]
NME9/10[8]
Pitchfork8.4/10[9]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[10]
Spin3/5 stars[11]

Stay Positive is the fourth studio album by The Hold Steady, released on July 15, 2008 through Vagrant Records. Vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn notes that the album is about "the idea of ageing gracefully [...] keeping going, perseverance [and] how to stay true to the ideals and ideas you had when you were younger."[12] Keyboard player Franz Nicolay notes that the album is his favorite, stating that it features an "integrated, nuanced, less hectic distillation of [their earlier] sound."[13] Stay Positive was the last studio album to feature Nicolay until 2019's Thrashing Thru the Passion, who departed from the band in early 2010 but returned in 2016.

On May 20, the album's first single, "Sequestered in Memphis", was released on the band's MySpace page and on iTunes. On June 9, the entire album was made available to stream on MySpace, and on June 18 the full album became available on iTunes. It was later released for the videogame Rock Band (via the Rock Band Network) on March 4, 2010.

The record entered the UK Album Chart at #15 on July 20, 2008, the third-highest new entry. It ranked #1 on the UK Indie Chart. In the U.S. it entered at #30 on the Billboard 200. The album was Alex Zane's record of the week on the XFM breakfast show. The song "Constructive Summer" was number 56 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008.[14]

Stay Positive has sold 88,000 copies as of April 2010 [15]

Lyrical content[edit]

In an interview with Uncut, Craig Finn notes that he thought the album "should maybe look at the characters I’d been writing about on the previous three albums as they got a bit older, more adult with more adult problems." The title track in particular references several Hold Steady songs and characters from the previous albums, such as "Hornets! Hornets!", "Positive Jam", "Massive Nights" and "Sweet Payne", while relating them to the common theme of believing in the ideals of youth as you get older.[12] The title track references hardcore punk bands Youth of Today, 7 Seconds, and Dillinger Four.[16]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The A.V. Club USA The Best Music of 2008 2008 #6[17]
Q UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #35[18]
Mojo UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #6[19]
Uncut UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #12[20]
Rolling Stone USA 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008 #36[21]
Entertainment Weekly USA Best Music of 2008: A Second Opinion by Chris Willman 2008 #1[22]

Bullying The Jukebox Radio Program (Australia) - Number 13

Track listing[edit]

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

  1. "Constructive Summer" - 2:56
  2. "Sequestered in Memphis" - 3:33
  3. "One for the Cutters" - 4:41
  4. "Navy Sheets" - 3:23
  5. "Lord, I'm Discouraged" - 5:08
  6. "Yeah Sapphire" (Finn, Franz Nicolay) - 3:37
  7. "Both Crosses" - 4:35
  8. "Stay Positive" - 2:59
  9. "Magazines" (Finn, Nicolay) - 3:09
  10. "Joke About Jamaica" (Finn, Kubler, Nicolay) - 4:36
  11. "Slapped Actress" - 5:19

CD bonus tracks[edit]

A "limited edition digipak" version of the album was released with three bonus tracks (however, they are uncut from one another and run continuous as track 12):[23]

  1. "Ask Her for Adderall" - 2:52
  2. "Cheyenne Sunrise" - 4:11
  3. "Two Handed Handshake" - 4:15

Vinyl edition[edit]

A double LP vinyl edition is also available, which includes the limited edition CD's bonus track "Ask Her for Adderall," as well as a slightly different track order.

Disc 1 Side A:

  1. "Constructive Summer"
  2. "Sequestered in Memphis"
  3. "One For The Cutters"

Disc 1 Side B:

  1. "Navy Sheets"
  2. "Yeah Sapphire"
  3. "Lord, I'm Discouraged"

Disc 2 Side A:

  1. "Both Crosses"
  2. "Stay Positive"
  3. "Joke About Jamaica"

Disc 2 Side B:

  1. "Ask Her For Adderall"
  2. "Magazines"
  3. "Slapped Actress"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reviews for Stay Positive by The Hold Steady". Metacritic. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Stay Positive – The Hold Steady". AllMusic. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Hyden, Steven (July 14, 2008). "The Hold Steady: Stay Positive". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  4. ^ Willman, Chris (July 11, 2008). "Stay Positive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Rogers, Jude (July 11, 2008). "The Hold Steady, Stay Positive". The Guardian. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  6. ^ "New CDs: the Hold Steady and Randy Travis". Los Angeles Times. July 15, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 2008). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  8. ^ McMahon, James (July 11, 2008). "The Hold Steady: Stay Positive". NME. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Crock, Jason (July 13, 2008). "The Hold Steady: Stay Positive". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  10. ^ Hermes, Will (July 10, 2008). "Stay Positive". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  11. ^ Modell, Josh (August 2008). "Closing Time". Spin. 24 (8): 100. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Music Reviews". Uncut.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  13. ^ Lindsay, Andrew (2009-02-16). "Interview: Franz Nicolay". Stereokill.net. Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  14. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2008". Rolling Stone (December 25, 2008). Retrieved 2009-01-12
  15. ^ "Hold Steady Seeks To Break Out Of The Brooklyn Rock Box". Billboard.com. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  16. ^ "Stay Positive" lyrics at Sing365.com
  17. ^ The Best Music of 2008
  18. ^ Q Magazine Jan 09, pg.83
  19. ^ "Rocklist.net...Mojo End Of year Lists". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  20. ^ "Rocklist.net". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  21. ^ "Rocklist.net Rolling Stone (USA) End Of Year Lists". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  22. ^ Entertainment Weekly Dec 26/Jan 02, pg.100
  23. ^ The Hold Steady's official website