Wednesday, 16 December 2009

13: The Hives - Hate To Say I Told You So

What's not to like about The Hives? A lead singer called Howlin' Pelle Almqvist? A guitarist who goes by the name Vigilante, and a bassist called Dr Destruction? Trademark matching black and white suits? The self-confidence to release what amounted to a 'debut' album, and calling it 'Your New Favourite Band'? Hyper-energetic live performances of straight-down-the-line, good ol' fashioned rock and roll? These guys are great, there's no denying.

Hailing from Sweden, The Hives burst onto the scene in the wake of the success of The Strokes and The White Stripes, and proceeded to (metaphorically) unzip their trousers and expose themselves to the world.

'Hate To Say I Told You So' was the breakthrough single, and it sounds as refreshing now as it did back in 2002, when it narrowly missed out on the UK Top 20. The Hives' didn't overthink their brand of rock - rhyming "wanna" and "gonna" isn't exactly Lesson One from the Morrissey/Dylan school of songwriting. But in its simplicity, it worked. Part of the reason for that is that downright dirty, great big rock'n'roll riff, one of the finest of this or any decade. It's not rocket science, but it didn't need to be. The Hives believe in fun, and with this first hit, they made their intentions perfectly clear. That they seem to enjoy so much doing what they do, merely heightened the enjoyment for the rest of us.

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