Members of The Hold Steady celebrated their 10th anniversary last year with the release of a sixth album, Teeth Dreams. It was clear the band had veered a bit from the sound and angst that graced its superb debut Almost Killed Me, which turned 11 today, March 16. The group would go on to record the concept effort Separation Sunday in 2005 and the fan-favorite album Boys and Girls in America in 2006. None contained the explosiveness the first had.

Few could have predicted that an act like The Hold Steady would make it 11 years. When they burst onto the scene, vocalist Craig Finn was the first red flag to potential fans. He is not the classic frontman type -- his portly stature and Buddy Holly eyewear did not exactly captivate anyone. His nasally, Bob Dylan, spoken-word delivery required some getting use to as well. But he had a way with words, especially on Almost Killed Me.

The influences on the record were immediately evident: The Replacements, Bruce Springsteen, Hüsker Dü. Finn, much like Springsteen, created a world filled with characters, only his protagonists were soaked in beer and helplessness. They were young kids growing up in a world that only made sense with some help from the bartender and the jukebox. It is a tale as old as time, too, and the band made that perfectly evident on the opener "Positive Jam," where Finn recounts how the youth of previous generations got through it.

"We got shiftless in the '50s, holding hands and going steady / Twisting into dark parts of the large midwestern cities," he sings.

In the 11 years since Almost Killed Me, Finn's characters have grown up and there is less talk of all the things that almost did kill them. But they make for mighty fine memories.

Here are five of the best cuts from The Hold Steady's Almost Killed Me.

5. "Positive Jam" (Track 1)

The band wasted no time introducing listeners to the Hold Steady sound. They were not afraid to spend more than half of a song clocking in at 3:20 on rock 'n' roll history lessons. There is a darkness to "Positive Jam" that almost erases any ounce of positivity shining through. It is still one of the band's most hypnotic tunes.

4. "Certain Songs" (Track 5)

Not too many bands can make you feel sentimental while glorifying Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" all at once.

"Certain songs they get so scratched into our souls," Finn sings.

It is an easy message surrounded by the dive bar scene that informs most of the album. There is nothing quite like playing those tunes that make you feel young again.

3. "Hostile, Mass." (Track 7)

This is one of guitarist Tad Kubler's shining moments on the album, of which there are many. His guitar work following the saxophone solo -- yes, saxophone solo -- is spectacular. The entire track is just one big party. It sounds like most people would not make it in Hostile.

2. "Barfruit Blues" (Track 3)

Props to bassist Galen Polivka for attacking this tune with so much punch. "Barfruit Blues" also showcases Finn's clever and humorous writing chops.

"She said, 'It's good to see you back in a bar band, baby' / I said, 'It's great to see you still in the bars,'" he sings.

It also serves as a thank-you to all the band's supporters.

1. "Killer Parties" (Track 10)

What a gorgeous song. The band typically ends shows, even nowadays, with this heartbreaker. Polivka stabs away at the melody with his bass while Kubler makes his mark all over. Bobby Drake's drumming has the perfect amount of syncopation, and the intro is a pivotal part of this tune because it really pulls you in. Finn brings it all home with some of his best lyrics and vocal work to date.