The record Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady is a record about being a not quite middle class young man somewhere in the American Midwest. As a kid you probably went to Catholic school (maybe to about 6th grade), but your parents couldn’t afford one of the good high schools so you went to public school. You smoked your first cigarette in 7th grade and had your first drink soon after. You parents noticed, but they were working doubles so they ignored it. You were not bad at school, but you didn’t pay attention as well as you should have and were more interested in reading On the Road or skipping school to go to the Ramones show. Sometimes on Saturday night you went to church like you told your parents, but sometimes you sat on the bench outside and smoked cigarettes and read Spin magazine. When you shop lifted or sold weed you felt slightly bad about it. As you got older your friends started to diverge, but when things went sideways they really went sideways. You made friends who always had some idea that was suspect (you went along with it anyway) and you loved girls that loved maybe a little too frequently (weird loves better than no love as they say). You got some habits that were easy to start, but hard to quit. Despite that Jesus was something to you still and you felt low sometimes about the way life going. Things have their own trajectory though and they have to play themselves out. They work out or they don’t. It’s all in the dice throw. Then you come up for air and you see what the world looks like. Separation Sunday are the songs of that trajectory.