If Craig Finn ever decided he was tired of making music, he could likely have a successful career writing short stories. Finn has a genuine gift for crafting small but compelling stories of folks living on life's margins, viewing their dreams, ambitions, and frequent failures with a genuine compassion and a keen eye for details. And as a singer, he has the sensibility of a born storyteller, with a weathered voice short on range but long on emotional impact. Released in 2017, We All Want the Same Things in many ways plays like a continuation of Finn's previous solo effort, 2015's Faith in the Future, as if these were more tales from the same rundown town in the post-industrial Midwest where those characters played out their lives. If anything, this sequel is better than the original, with a stronger and more evocative set of musical backdrops, sympathetic production from Josh Kaufman, and ten effective character studies, many of which are capable of subtly breaking your heart. "God in Chicago" is a superb first-person narrative about a reluctantly arranged drug deal that leads to a night full of good and bad times, "Tangletown" follows a man and woman caught in a mutually destructive relationship, "Ninety Bucks" stars a woman struggling to convince others and herself that she can turn her life around, the accumulated details of "Tracking Shots" once again suggests Finn could well be the indie rock Bruce Springsteen, and "Jester & June" chronicles the awful moment when youthful fun sours into adult regret. With We All Want the Same Things, Finn has crafted some of the strongest and most moving music of his career, and if his tales aren't often upbeat, they have the ring of truth and will stay in your memory long after the album is over.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming