Separation Sunday

Separation Sunday is the second studio album by the American indie rock band The Hold Steady, released on May 3, 2005 through Frenchkiss Records. A concept album, Separation Sunday follows the interconnected stories of several fictional characters: Craig (the narrator), Holly (short for Halleluiah), a sometimes addict, sometimes prostitute, sometimes born again Christian/Catholic (and sometimes all three simultaneously); Charlemagne, a pimp; and Gideon, a skinhead, as they travel from city to city and party to party.[1]

Separation Sunday
The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 3, 2005 (2005-05-03)
GenreIndie rock, post-punk revival, heartland rock
LabelFrenchkiss Records
ProducerDean Baltulonis, Dave Gardner
The Hold Steady chronology
Almost Killed Me
Separation Sunday
Boys and Girls in America

Separation Sunday is lyrically dense, full of Biblical allusions,[2] self-reference[3] word play, and puns.[4] Vocalist/songwriter Craig Finn typically delivers these lyrics in a distinct flavor of sprechgesang.

Musically, Separation Sunday touches on elements of Classic rock: guitar solos, riff-based structures, use of piano and organ, and guitar harmony. Structurally, however, most songs eschew the standard verse-chorus-verse song structure, frequently foregoing choruses or refrains altogether. In a review of the album, Blender described The Hold Steady as "sound[ing] like the best bar band in the world."[5]

The album cover was photographed at the corner of Maspeth Avenue and Conselyea Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[6]

The song "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" was featured on the video game Tony Hawk's Project 8.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [8]
Blender     [9]
Chicago Sun-Times    [10]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[11]
The Guardian     [12]
Rolling Stone     [15]
Uncut     [16]
The Village VoiceA−[17]

The album received an 8.7 on Pitchfork, and ranked at number eight on the 2005 Pazz & Jop critic's poll.[18] The album was named the number ten album of the year by Spin.

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Craig Finn and Tad Kubler, except where noted.

  1. "Hornets! Hornets!" – 4:48
  2. "Cattle and the Creeping Things" – 3:47
  3. "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" – 3:54
  4. "Banging Camp" – 4:16
  5. "Charlemagne in Sweatpants" – 3:59
  6. "Stevie Nix" (Finn, Kubler, Galen Polivka) – 5:28
  7. "Multitude of Casualties" – 3:06
  8. "Don't Let Me Explode" (Finn, Franz Nicolay) – 2:23
  9. "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" (Finn, Kubler, Nicolay) – 3:20
  10. "Crucifixion Cruise" – 1:51
  11. "How a Resurrection Really Feels" – 5:32


  • Craig Finn – lead vocals, guitar
  • Tad Kubler – guitar
  • Galen Polivka – bass guitar
  • Franz Nicolay – keyboards
  • Judd Counsell – drums (1-4, 11)
  • Bobby Drake – drums (5-10)

Additional musiciansEdit

  • Nicole Wills – vocals
  • Peter Hess – horns
  • Tim Byrnes – horns
  • Alan Ferber – horns


  1. ^ All three characters made appearances on the band's previous album, Almost Killed Me, and reappear in "First Night", and "Same Kooks" on Boys and Girls in America, and then again in "Ask Her For Adderall", a bonus track from Stay Positive.
  2. ^ NPR : 'Cattle and the Creeping Things' by The Hold Steady
  3. ^ In "Don't Let Me Explode," when Holly is asked about Charlemagne, "she just smiled all polite-like and said something vague"; in Almost Killed Me's closing track, "Killer Parties," the narrator instructs listeners, "If they ask about Charlemagne/Be polite, say something vague"
  4. ^ In "Stevie Nix": "She got screwed up by religion/she got screwed by soccer players"
  5. ^ The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday (2005): Reviews
  6. ^ Gridskipper: New York City Album Covers[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Reviews for Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady". Metacritic. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  8. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Separation Sunday – The Hold Steady". AllMusic. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday". Blender (36): 122. May 2005.
  10. ^ Lindall, Anders Smith (May 29, 2005). "The Hold Steady, 'Separation Sunday' (Frenchkiss)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  11. ^ Wood, Mikael (May 30, 2005). "Separation Sunday". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Simpson, Dave (May 4, 2007). "The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday". The Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  13. ^ Jam, James (May 23, 2007). "The Hold Steady: Almost Killed Me / Separation Sunday". NME.
  14. ^ Breihan, Tom (May 5, 2005). "The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  15. ^ Hoard, Christian (May 19, 2005). "Separation Sunday". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  16. ^ Empire, Kitty (June 2007). "The Hold Steady: Almost Killed Me / Separation Sunday". Uncut (121): 110.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 17, 2005). "Consumer Guide: Beguilement and Rage". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  18. ^ Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 2005: Critics Poll