We All Want The Same Things is his best effort yet and by some distance.
Smiles may be hard to come by on We All Want The Same Things, but flat-out songwriting excellence is in plentiful supply.
There’s still no substitute for the adrenalizing power of the Hold Steady at its best, but the nuance of Finn’s solo songwriting, and the subtler sense of musical adventurism he has come to embrace on his own work, make these songs essential, too.
This is perhaps not as immediate a record as Faith In The Future ... but it stands up to repeated listening just as well, and confirms his status as one of American music’s best storytellers, in the same mould as Leonard Cohen or Lou Reed.
No longer sounding like stripped-down Hold Steady songs, Finn's latest solo album is the accomplished work of a wise songwriter—mournful, musically layered, and full of empathy.
We All Want The Same Things finds resonant common ground in the idea that shared imperfections bring people together.
The way an album feels matters, and this one feels comfortable—and self-possessed in a way that his other solo albums aren't. Even when Finn introduces a few new tricks, the assurance behind his skill is quietly charming.
As ever, Finn does his best thematic work when he’s sketching out characters and, accordingly, some of the more universal ideas relating to unity in times of political discord fall flat, but even then, he remains compelling.
Finn has succeeded in differentiating his solo material from his Hold Steady work, but sometimes I wonder if his low-key musical approach highlights the depressing nature of his storytelling a bit too much.
This collection is his most fully-realised to date, with hooks as the glittering vehicle for tales of a blighted American Midwest.
We All Want the Same Things won't quench the casual fan's thirst for new drunken bar rock anthems, but for those willing to listen a bit more closely (and quietly), Finn's solo work still provides some stories worth hearing.