Both Crosses

Album: Stay Positive (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • This low-key acoustic track was recorded live in one take. Lead singer Craig Finn explained to Uncut magazine June 2008: "Any attempts to 'fix' it took away from the vibe, so we used the original 'scratch' vocal."
  • This features J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. playing the banjo.
  • The album Stay Positive weaves a narrative from song to song using several characters. The "Saphire" here is also the one from "Yeah Sapphire" on the same album, and the "couple boys that died" refers to the murdered characters in "Navy Sheets." The whole song tells the story of a fight involving these characters, using religious metaphors in place of the real characters.
    By the way, The Hold Steady absolutely loves religious themes, especially Catholicism, though its used for rich story-telling symbolism rather than preaching.
    Check the album cover art and the blood-red logo in the middle. That's an integrated infinity and positive symbol: "Stay Positive." But it also references a cross. Clever?
  • If you're noticing gravel-voiced lead singer Craig Finn improving here, that's the voice lessons paying off. He was taking them around the time of recording this album.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jon Anderson of Yes

Jon Anderson of YesSongwriter Interviews

From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon Anderson talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Krishna Das

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

90s Music Quiz 1

90s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

First question: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson appeared in videos for what artist?