Constructive Summer is the first track from the The Hold Steady album Stay Positive; it precedes Sequestered in Memphis


Me and my friends are like the drums on "Lust for Life." We pound it out on floor toms; our psalms are sing-along songs.

And this whole town is like this; been that way our whole lives, just work at the mill until you die; work at the mill, and then you die.

We’re gonna build something this summer. (We’re gonna build something this summer.) We’ll put it back together; raise up a giant ladder with love and trust and friends and hammers. (This summer!) We’re gonna lean this ladder up against the water tower, climb up to the top and drink and talk. (This summer!)

Me and my friends are like Doublewhiskeycokenoice. We drink along in double time; might drink too much, but we feel fine.

We’re gonna build something this summer. (Gonna build something this summer.) This summer, grant us all the power to drink on top of water towers with love and trust and shows all summer. (Get hammered!) Let this be my annual reminder that we can all be something bigger.

I went to your schools, I did my detention, but the walls are so gray I couldn’t pay attention. I read your gospel, it moved me to tears, but I couldn’t find the hate, and I couldn’t find the fear. I met your savior, I knelt at his feet, and he took my ten bucks, and he went down the street. I tried to believe all the things that you said, but my friends that aren’t dying are already dead.

Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer. I think he might’ve been our only decent teacher. Getting older makes it harder to remember. We are our only saviors. We’re gonna build something this summer.


A hopeful beginning to a summer that ends with the deaths of two kids. The "I met your savior" line is religiously suggestive, but it's not clear whether it's referencing Jesus or whoever saved one of the other characters in this story. Possibly referencing buying drugs from Charlemagne, holly's savior who took his ten bucks and went down the street to get his stash.

Other InfoEdit

  • Craig Finn has said in an interview that the title is a reference to the Husker Du song "Celebrated Summer" off of the band's third studio album, New Day Rising (1985).