http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/0d3e0adc9d60379153a5ee8bfa979f3a3ed78c3a.jpg Almost Killed Me

The Hold Steady

Almost Killed Me

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May 24, 2004

What kind of guy writes a song about how he tries to get people to call him "Freddie Mercury," but everybody keeps calling him "Right Said Fred"? Only one man: Craig Finn of the Hold Steady. While the band bashes out friendly trash-rock riffs, Finn goes off the deep end in surreal rants such as "Killer Parties," "Sketchy Metal" and "Positive Jam." He spins hilarious, hyperactive tales about America ("In the Nineties we were wired and well-connected/Put it all down on technology and lost everything we invested") and romance ("She tasted like those pickle chips"). "Certain Songs" pays tribute to a jukebox with the perfect ratio of Meat Loaf to Billy Joel. Like the rest of Almost Killed Me, it's bizarrely touching and insanely original.

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