2019 album (The Hold Steady frontman). Also available on CD.
Craig Finn is best known as the frontman of The Hold Steady but he is also a skilled songwriter in his own right. ‘I Need A New War’ is the third album in a trilogy (following 2015’s ‘Faith In The Future’ and 2017’s ‘We All Want The Same Things’). The album focuses on regular people trying to respond to extraordinary times, attempting to find connection while wondering how to keep pace with a world moving faster than they are. It solidifies Craig as one of today’s most important storytellers, among the ranks of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.
Craig says of the record “ The first week of 2018, I entered Isokon Studio with Josh Kaufman and Joe Russo to start work on ‘I Need A New War’. Going in, I saw this record as the third part of a trilogy. Thematically, this was the third group of songs that I had written about smaller moments — people trying to stay afloat in modern times, attempting to find connection, achieving tiny triumphs and frustrating let downs in their day to day lives. Also, this was the third record in a row that I’d made with these musicians, along with engineer D. James Goodwin, following ‘Faith in the Future’ (2015) and ‘We All Want The Same Things’ (2017).
There is a level of creative comfort present due to having done so much work with Josh and Joe over the last five years. We speak the same language about parts and arrangements. We work quickly. We try things, nix them, move on to new things. Songs change a lot in the room. Things end up a long way from where they started. It’s fun and rewarding. It’s light on its feet. Our challenge was to make something that felt emotionally and spiritually connected to the last two records, while offering a different perspective. The music needed to cast different shadows. The stories needed to shine a light in different corners.
To me, the end result both connects to the previous two records and also sets itself apart — the three albums together look at the same people, but from different angles. Faith in the Future is an album about perseverance, trusting that salvation is ahead if you work and believe. We All Want The Same Things is about making connections with other people, trying to form bonds and partnerships to help rise above the mundane and chaotic parts of life and love. I Need a New War is about people trying to respond to modern times, trying to keep pace with a world that might be moving faster than they are.
And, perhaps, forward motion is everything. The characters in the songs on this record, and the last two, are trying to keep up and keep their heads above water. They succeed or they don’t, but their stories are the tales of their attempts at pushing ahead.
And so, with my own push forward, I feel lucky and excited to be sharing these songs and stories.”
”As with most of Finn’s solo records... its storytelling is just as sharp and squalid and granular as ever.” - Stereogum
“Noir-story mode… expansive new sound textures.” - Rolling Stone
“... a step into a new sound - more produced, less troubadour, though retaining his signature storytelling style and knack for a disarming refrain” - The i