Boys and Girls in America

Boys and Girls in America

The Hold Steady’s third studio effort, 2006’s Boys and Girls in America, builds upon the stories lead singer Craig Finn had begun telling on albums like Separation Sunday and Almost Killed Me. These were vivid, interconnected narratives that, by the time Boys and Girls in America arrived, were together forming something akin to a cinematic universe. Yet, for all of Finn’s lyrical smarts, the songs on Boys and Girls in America were also pure, simple, and beautiful—and a ton of fun. The entire record almost feels like a driven, powerful live show, one where you barely stop dancing. And while it’s easy to make comparisons between The Hold Steady and the Boss, Boys and Girls in America features a large, arena-ready rock sound best described as Springsteen-esque—full of detailed stories about everything from mystic racetrack gamblers to aging scenesters. It’s a coming-of-age album from a band whose members were growing more comfortable with their own musical maturity. Boys and Girls in America marked a moment of pure evolution for The Hold Steady—one in which the group went from playing songs about a scene, to becoming a scene. The album played a crucial role in elevating the band’s profile, earning universal critical acclaim, along with a larger and ever-growing fan base, and eventually leading The Hold Steady to be named Blender magazine’s 2006 Band of the Year.

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