Craig Finn broadcasts his third solo record, ‘We All Want the Same Things’ from the fringes of American life. The album opens with a drug deal, Craig’s protagonist on ‘Jester and June’ heading to the bar bathroom to find the contraband under the trash can. It’s both relatable and not, but his gift as a songwriter lies in finding universal truths from these small, subjective moments. The album’s title says as much.
This collection is his most fully-realised to date, with hooks as the glittering vehicle for tales of a blighted American Midwest. On standouts, ‘Ninety Bucks’ and ‘God in Chicago’, his characters burn their insides with cheap vodka and move to sell left-over drugs amid hideous grief. It’s the right tone for the empire in decline – small tragedies hiding the big ones, small human triumphs in the face of the odds. On ‘Rescue Blues,’ in the best chorus on the album, he sings, “We all get by, get by in different ways”. The song is about hiding out from bad dudes and black market debt at a woman’s house, and somehow it’s true and universal, the thing we all want without knowing it.