The death of "The Crocodile Hunter." The birth of Barron Trump. The Oscar win for Crash on the merits of the film's nuanced, subtle, intricate examination of race. The launch of NASA's Pluto-exploring New Horizons spacecraft. The release of the Hold Steady's landmark third album, Boys and Girls in America. Possibly other things.
Of those events that defined 2006, only one is celebrating its 10th birthday today, October 3, the Lord's year 2016: Boys and Girls in America.
The Hold Steady, those wordy Brooklyn indie-rockers with deep Twin Cities ties, recently re-united with heyday keyboardist Franz Nicolay to play the album at a handful of shows (sorry, no Minnesota date yet). And today frontman Craig Finn wrote a lengthy note to commemorate Boys and Girls -- which scored massive year-end love from A.V. Club, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone -- turning 10.
Here's Finn via the band's Facebook page:
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Boys and Girls in America. People often mention to me that this album had a huge impact on them. I believe them, because it was life changing for me and my bandmates too. While [2005 Hold Steady LP] Separation Sunday had done really well by our standards, Boys & Girls kicked everything into a higher gear -- more shows, bigger shows, more travel, more craziness.
The album was the first written with Franz and piano fully integrated into the band. We were also coming off a lot of touring for SepSunday, and had built and tested a well-oiled rock and roll machine (and also a well-oiled rock and roll lifestyle). We had fans that were eagerly awaiting the next release -- that was new. And we worked with a top-notch producer in John Agnello, who brought out some things that we hadn’t previously thought of. The recording at Water Music in Hoboken was an absolute blast. One thing that I still marvel at is “You Can Make Him Like You” -- it came together in about 10 minutes, and still is a song I love to play.
When the album came out, we played a release show at Irving Plaza. That seemed like a massive venue to us at the time, and I think we only narrowly missed selling it out. Before we got on stage I got word that the Minnesota Twins had improbably won their division on the last day of the season, without ever being in first place all year. There were many reasons to celebrate that evening. A few days later we left for tour with our friends Sean Na Na. The first show was at the Ottobar in Baltimore, where we had the crowd up on stage during 'Killer Parties' for the first time. There would be many more to come.
Much more touring would follow. In early 2007 we made our first big trip to Europe and the U.K. Things went well and the U.K. became a very important place for us, where we played some of our most memorable shows and met some of our most amazing fans, many who became good friends.
Perhaps one of the reasons this album still connects with people is that boys and girls in America STILL have such a sad time together. Some of the mysteries discussed on this album are far from being solved. Either way, I’m really proud of the lasting impact of this record, and it’s been a pleasure to play these songs in Denver, Chicago, and Toronto so far. I’m very much looking forward to continuing the celebration with the four nights coming up at Brooklyn Bowl.
Happy anniversary BAGIA!
And here's the music video for lead Boys and Girls single "Chips Ahoy!," a pained yet peppy ode to a clairvoyant horse gambler struggling to keep her shit together.