Paste 31 Sampler, a girl (song-by-song) reaction.

Overall feeling: The Hold Steady book-ends label this one more “rock” than anything else but there is a bit of variation.

Track by track:

  • “Massive Nights” The Hold Steady: This isn’t my favorite Hold Steady song (or album). But you can never go wrong starting off a mix with a Craig Finn rant (which is how I think of their songs).
  • “Been There All the Time” Dinosaur Jr: I love the plaintive, pleading tone of the vocals, not what you expect in a rock song. Can I be a part of you? … Can I be there all the time?
  • “Killing Him” Amy LaVere: Total change in musical mood. Quiet, speakeasy feelin’.
  • “Die Die Die” The Avett Brothers: Crystal clear lyrics/vocals, the music is very much in the background. The harmonies here crack me up.
  • “Get It On” Grinderman: Back to (heavier) rock. Demanding, insistent.
  • “Diamond Ring” Joseph Arthur: Love this song. Love him. Is he single? I’ll be his diamond ring.
  • “Lay Your Head Down” Keren Ann: Pretty enough. But not really doing it for me.
  • “Gor Det Nu” Dungen: Headbanger’s ball mixed with old Rolling Stones.
  • “Baby’s Romance” Chris Garneau: Ooooo, I like this. Very soft and tender.
  • “It Must Have Happened” Mary Chapin Carpenter: How long has it been since I listened to MCC? Her voice isn’t how I remember it (deeper? gruffer?). Not really doing it for me here.
  • “Big Drag” Limbeck: Very thinly layered verses. Sparse.
  • “Passenger Song” Great Lake Swimmers: I love everything they do. Thick, dense, low sounds. Lovely.
  • “I’ll Be Rested” Mavis Staples: Very goofy xylophone-ish sounding beginning. Her voice is amazing.
  • “Don’t Let Go” Pacha Massive: Dance beat. Shake that ass. But the vocals are not living up to the music’s promise of liveliness.
  • “Man Overboard” Kristoffer Ragnstam: Another goofy beginning. Spoken word/rappish feel. Think “The Streets” or “Just Jack.”
  • “Rest Your Weary Mind” Elizabeth Cook (with Bobby Bare Jr): Lil bit of country. The male vocal is very Johnny Cash (yum) but the female is too contrasty for me / almost operatic.
  • “Life Is Beautiful” Vega4: Knew this song from a TV show. Slowing things down. Sad and melancholy. Sounds a lot like Snow Patrol (which is a good thing in my book).
  • “V Neck Sweater” The Greyboy Allstars: Jazzy feel. Nice beat! Groovin’.
  • “If I Were You” Chris Knight: Quiet and contemplative. Twangy, yet kinda sweet.
  • “Kite Song” Rosie Thomas: Slowing things waaaaay down. I like her stuff sometimes, but not consistently, and this one is kinda makin’ me sleepy. Doesn’t seem to belong here.
  • “Stuck Between Stations” (acoustic) The Hold Steady: And we’re back to Craig Finn. I love the lyrics of this song. But the speed with which they are ranted totally(!) makes me think of REM and back, back, back in the day…

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