spacer
Ransom Fellowship
spacer articles movies music books art faith discernment spacer
 
articles
publications
search
people
links
faq
blank
about
contact
press kit
Ransom Blogs
spacer
spacer
current article  
spacer
spacer
spacer
Craig Finn, <i>Clear Heart Full Eyes</i> (2011) spacer Craig Finn, Clear Heart Full Eyes (2011)
BY: Denis Haack
spacer
Holding steady for goodness
I had never heard of Craig Finn until he was interviewed on The Colbert Report along with guitarist Tad Kubler. Then Hold Steady performed “Hurricane J” from their album Heaven is Whenever (2010). I was impressed enough that when I learned Finn was releasing a solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes (2011) I bought it.

You regaled us with the way
that you triumphed over darkness
The kisses in the shadows and the stockings
But as the pieces come together
there's these things that I keep hearing
About the hero that you are when no one's watching

I saw Wendy at the Wagon Wheel, didn't know what to tell her
She said she saw you walking by her building
She said maybe you're ashamed that things turned out this way
You said you had to hurry off to something…

Feasting on the weakness of the women who were hoping
You might be held to half the things you told them
The wreckage that you left at the places that you slept
Moving through the bars and slowly stalking
Someone you can use that finds you charming
The story that our hero keeps well hidden
A weak man living off of weaker women

[From “When No One’s Watching”]

Finn’s songs are not crafted with melodies I would find easy to sing, but they consistently draw me into his lyrics and seem designed to make us reflective. He notices the brokenness that disfigures everything, but seems rooted in a quiet assurance that redemption can be found in Jesus. The arrangements consist of uncomplicated instrumental accompaniments, always supporting the lyrics but never competing.

I suppose you thought that I’d be eaten up
By the bars and the pigs or the sheep or the studs
I'm alive except for the inside

I suppose you thought that I'd be the first one to go…

But I don't know nothing
Except for one thing for certain
The devil's a person
I met him at the Riverside Perkins

[From “No Future”]

In Finn’s songs we hear impressionistic ballads, enough of a story to know what’s happening but never in so much detail that the ballad becomes dated. And Finn’s unabashed Catholicism provides him with hope without being sentimental or without the album becoming a religious one.

Everybody is saying that the lights don’t shine
But the lights shine down on me
I’ve got a new friend and my new friend’s name is Jesus…

People say we suck at sports
But they don’t understand
It's hard to catch with holes right through your hands

Wish I was with Jesus when you loved me
I would have been a better me
That much I can guarantee

[From “New Friend Jesus”]

Finn says that when he set out to do this solo work he wanted to produce music that was a bit quieter and more narrative than Hold Steady was performing. Since I don’t know Hold Steady’s music I can’t say whether he accomplished that, but certainly the quiet narratives that are woven into the songs on Clear Heart Full Eyes are full of images and phrases that hint of ordinary life, the need for grace, and the hope that is found in Christ.


image

Source:

spacer
spacer
spacer
about the author
spacer
Denis Haack
Denis is the author of The Rest of Success: What the World Didn’t Tell You About Having It All and has written articles for such journals as Reformation & Revival Journal, Eternity, Covenant, and World. He holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.
spacer spacer spacer
other articles from this author
spacer
When Nigeria is Home

A Prayer for Terrorists

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mira Nair, 2013)

spacer
related articles
spacer Karen Choi, Through Our Veins (2016)

Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)

Get Scared, Built for Blame, Laced with Shame (2012)

The Weepies, Sirens (2015)

Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell (2015)

Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues (2014)

The Oh Hellos, Through the Deep, Dark Valley (2012)

The Milk Carton Kids

Rapturous visions—or not

Woven Hand, Refractory Obdurate (2014)

Neko Case, The Worse Things Get…(2013)

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City (2013)

Karen Choi, Paper Birch (2012)

Charlie Peacock, No Man's Land (2012)

Andrew Bird, Break It Yourself (2012)

Craig Finn, Clear Heart Full Eyes (2011)

Leonard Cohen, "Banjo" (2012)

Tom Waits, Bad as Me (2011)

Bob Dylan, "It's Alright, Ma (I'm only bleeding)" (1964)

The Music of Bruce Cockburn

spacer
spacer spacer spacer bottom
Ransom Fellowship
Ransom Fellowship
spacer This web site is old and creaky. The email function functions poorly when it functions at all. Worse, it all looks old. So we are starting work on building a new site, and hope to have it functioning by fall.

Our vision will not change, nor will our attempt in this little spot of the Internet to invite you to join us in thinking about the things that matter most. Thanks for visiting.

Denis & Margie Haack
Anita Gorder
spacer
spacer
bottom

Home | Articles | Publications | Search | People | Links | FAQ | Donate | About | Contact | Press

All material © 2000-2017 Ransom Fellowship Ministries
Site design by JaM Multimedia