Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Concept Career

Separation Sunday is constantly in a battle with Boys and Girls in America for the right to be my favorite Hold Steady album (a very coveted distinction). What sets Separation Sunday apart is its dedication to telling a single story across the entire album. The concept album theme faded with Boys and Girls in America, though the characters in the album were mostly consistent. Then the cast of characters started to disappear. What I didn't realize, is that the stories continued...they are just more veiled than before.

My research into Craig Finn's lyric sheets hasn't been very in-depth just yet, but I have managed to put one story together. We all know the story of the girl who bet on horses and then used the money to buy drugs. The horse was named Chips Ahoy. Well, that girl hasn't been lost and forgotten. Someone is trying to hook-up with here again and have a Weekender with her. Allow me to expound. The song, The Weekenders, starts out, There was that whole weird thing with the horses. At first this could be a reference to anything really because weird things happen when you mix drugs, alcohol and animals. But later on in the verse he sheds a little more light on the situation, You've still got a bit of clairvoyance. If twice is a coincidence, then four times has to be undeniable. The two other instances come later in the song. First, You could say our paths had crossed before, and then later, I remember the O.T.B. O.T.B., for all those unseasoned horse racing gamblers out there, is Off Track Betting. That line pretty much seals the deal. Horses, Clairvoyance, Betting, Crossing Paths Before. It all adds up.

The greatest revelation, however, isn't that he has made contact with the Clairvoyant Horse Gambler once again, but its that there is a strong possibility that the Hold Steady didn't just make one concept album, but they are possibly working on a concept career. I feel like an archeologist who just uncovered some weird bones in the middle of Wyoming. And it turns out those bones might be related to some incident involving a Cheyenne Sunrise.

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