To say the least, Craig Finn has been on a roll. Decades into his career as a frontman, he’s only improved as a soloist. His most recent solo LP, 2019’s I Need a New War, was (in this writer’s view) his best to date, so it’s fair to have high hopes for his imminent return: Finn has announced his fifth solo album, A Legacy of Rentals, due out May 20th via Positive Jams/Thirty Tigers.
To kick things off, he’s shared the project’s first single, “Messing with the Settings”. The song was chosen with care, as Finn reflects, “Memory is a major theme through A Legacy of Rentals, and I wanted the first song on the record to open on that note. This song is literally a eulogy. It’s delivered by someone who has lost touch with the recently deceased, but still finds them important. Musically, it really explores the line between talking and singing, which was something we leaned into on this record. We wanted to make this song an incantation of sorts. It also features the beautiful 14-piece string section that played on a lot of these songs. I wanted to it have a cinematic feel, like Gone With The Wind or something like that.“
The track both swells and recedes, divided between Finn’s conversational, even talkative, verses and a gorgeous chorus complete with backing singers. As with many of Finn’s best songs, it’s a balance between wistful memory and overt tragedy, painful and serene by turns. It feels like peering into a moment in another’s life, nearly invasively poignant.