My Top 1000 Songs #103: Sequestered In Memphis
Still, sometimes you'll hear something that offers immediate, tangible proof that rock & roll is alive and vibrant, something that still revs you up hundreds of plays later. The Hold Steady have done that a lot, but never more so than on "Sequestered In Memphis," from 2008's Stay Positive. Musically, the band is at their bar-band-on-steroids peak, their Bruce Springsteeen/Hüsker Dü mash-up a visceral thrill. But, as is the main feature of the band, it's frontman Craig Finn's sung-spoke storytelling that lures you in--in this case, a 3-minute tv-movie-of-the-week capturing the interrogation of some poor business traveler who hooked up with the wrong woman.
"In bar light she looked alright. In daylight she looked desperate. That's alright, I was desperate, too. I'm getting pretty sick of this interview." And it all bursts free in cathartic joy when the band drops out, leaving just Finn and the handclaps: "Subpoenaed in Texas, sequestered in Memphis. (I went there on business!)"
Needless to say, this one demands a few more spins to the right on the volume knob.Live in the studio: