Heaven is Whenever should be your victory lap, but it feels like 40 minutes of swooping generalizations that will baffle Finn-anthologists who celebrate your lit-hip lyrics. The way I see it, Almost Killed Me was the revival, Separation Sunday was the power to be compelling, Boys & Girls in America was the olive branch to relate for those that didn’t follow all your Catholic folklore and Stay Positive was a chance to age gracefully as your woeful characters’ problems matured. Damn it Craig, I thought we were building towards something!
I could have sworn we’ve been down this road before. “The Weekenders” is catchy in its post-punkish restraint, but the sad fact is “no one ever learns a lesson” in your stories… ever. “Hurricane J” is possibly the best song on Heaven Is Whenever, but reinforces my point. It fits into the category of the Finn character that’s always in love with younger girls who are full of innocence. You play the part of a disarmed schlep desperate to save cherubs from the harsh truths of the world. Dude, you've been doing that since Lifter Puller, (see: “The Pirate and the Penpal” or The Hold Steady’s “You Can Make Him Like You”).
“We Can Get Together” (the source of the album title) is a pause for an aside on the magic of listening to your favorite records, how it’s a lower heaven, possibly the only one that exists. I'm cool with that. I was ready to say, “you had me at Hüsker Dü,” but then you go shouting out Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight on “Rock Problems”? C'mon!
Perhaps as you spent the summer looking out at the bright blossoming faces of your young followers, you realized it wasn’t quite time to travel down Thunder Road, but to spend more time with your Born to Runners. The rock problem is you suspended the growth of those down since “The Swish” – far graduated past turf wars, seeking “The Smidge.” Furthermore, an internet chatroom is not a suitable scene for a story. What kind of bullshit late 90s teen-pandering is that? It weakens your fiction. I fear you might be assuming that no one hangs out in parking lots or throws secret parties on prohibited beaches and parks anymore.
It's too soon for a discography retrospective, too soon for cliff notes to the past four records. Let those who need the gist get the gist on their own time. So repent and come back to us. We'll be waiting at the bar because hanging out with underagers is fucking annoying.