71.) The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (2006)

In your life there are bands and there are BANDS! For me The Hold Steady is a BAND.

The Hold Steady are without question my favorite band of this decade. I love everything about them and I love them all-in. There's nothing they can do that will change the admiration and adoration I have for them.

By the time Boys and Girls in America was released, my relationship with The Hold Steady had been well established so I wasn't surprised when a wider audience followed suit and fell in love with this great, great band.

When you love a band as I do The Hold Steady you want to tell everyone about them. You want to shout their praise from rooftops, you want to grab people on the street and shake them and say "this is the stuff that you've been waiting for. It will make you happy." and I think I kind of did that and in some cases it worked.

The Hold Steady make music because it makes them happy to make music and further it makes them happy when other people are made happy by the music they make. This is why The Hold Steady are so hard not to fall for. If you haven't seen The Hold Steady live, it's unlike anything in the world. It's a community of like-minded grown ups congregated in one place to act like kids again - to clap along, to shout along, to dance along and to smile along. There are no airs. It doesn't matter what kind of clothes your wearing or how old you are, we're all friends at a Hold Steady show.

If this sounds like some sort of utopia, it kind of is and if you're not on board yet, don't worry there's always room.

Anyway, I realize I've said a whole lot, but I haven't said much about Boys and Girls in America. It's their third record. It's amazing. It was, probably, their big breakthrough album and it has some of their most popular songs. They play a lot of these songs if you should see them live. Learn the words, so you can sing along and learn the parts where you should clap and you'll be fine. It doesn't disappoint at all. It's completely unpretentious and melodic and there's big chorus' and E Street bravado and guitar solos and songs about horses and John Berryman and kids partying at the party pit on massive nights in the chillout tent.

It's all very great. It's all very Hold Steady.

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