In recent years, as the pace of new releases from The Hold Steady has slowed, Craig Finn has increasingly channeled his songs into sonically adventurous albums like We All Want The Same Things, his third solo LP in five years which is due out this Friday. On previous records like 2012’s Clear Heart Full Eyes and 2015’s Faith In The Future, Finn searched for a new musical identity removed from the riff-heavy arena-rock of The Hold Steady. But after dabbling in singer-songwriter folk and experimental indie-pop, Finn re-emerges on We All Want The Same Things with a mature rock sound that best suits his character-based story songs.
After constructing an elaborate mythology over the course of several albums in The Hold Steady, starring characters such as Holly, Gideon, and Charlemagne, Finn has set about creating new worlds on his solo albums. The characters who populate the songs on We All Want The Same Things — the couple in “Jester & June,” the erstwhile drug dealers in “God In Chicago,” the rootless midwesterners in “Preludes,” the lovers in the process of breaking up in “It Hits When It Hits” — are generally older and wearier than the typical protagonist in a Hold Steady song. They’re just trying to make it in Trump’s America, fighting back cultural malaise while trying to re-discover the special parts of themselves that have been lost in the process of growing up. If Hold Steady songs are about the party, Craig Finn songs are about what happens to the people at the party 20 years later. Read our conversation below.