The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn is best known for his sprawling, world-making lyrics, full of fascinatingly flawed characters, sketchy situations, a shitload of inside jokes, and the occasional epiphany. Though he doesn’t get to show it off as much, he’s also a fascinating musical thinker, and a couple weeks ago the Guardian gave him some space to talk about the inspiration behind the song “We Can Get Together” from their latest album, Heaven Is Whenever. It turns out the song—one of my favorites on the record—is about Mathew Fletcher, drummer for 90s British twee-pop group Heavenly, who committed suicide in 1996. Or at least it is in a roundabout way. Finn admits to only ever having owned a single Heavenly seven-inch, but a decade and a half later it got him thinking about the way that little bands can affect people without even knowing it. It’s a moving essay about, as he writes, “the beauty of the relationship we have with music, the way it can bring small doses of joy into our lives,” and it’s more than worth the couple of minutes it takes to read.
I was actually pretty hooked on Heavenly’s The Decline and Fall of Heavenly for a while around the same time Finn picked up that single. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of Heavenly on YouTube, but after the jump is a video I found for a song from the following album that’s equally good.