‘Umbrella’ Watch 2008: Is the Hold Steady’s ‘Constructive Summer’ the Song of the Summer?

craig finn
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From now until something displaces last year's "Umbrella" from the top of our iTunes most-played list, Vulture will be judging the contenders for this year's Song of the Summer.

The Hold Steady, "Constructive Summer"

True, it's a long shot that this tune, the lead track off the Hold Steady's upcoming album, Stay Positive, will even get a single spin on Z100, but as far as songs of the summer go, "Constructive Summer" has a lot to offer. It's catchy and loud. It's an ode to good times ("Get hammered!"), but it adds to that a spirit of nonspecific uplift ("We can all be something bigger"). Most important, to our mind at least, it's about, well, summer, and combines sunny guitars with sing-along moments in a way that's already made it our sing-along companion during a long, long drive to the beach. Such is its adherence to tried-and-true summer-song tropes of yesteryear that it sounds, in fact, like Craig Finn and the guys sat down one day and someone said, "Can we write a song of the summer?" and someone else was like, "Why not?" Maybe they should've called it "Deconstructive Summer."