[midlife 150] #115: the hives “hate to say i told you so”

August 24, 2010

Album cover for Veni Vidi Vicious by the Hives

#115 Hate To Say I Told You So by The Hives, taken from Veni Vidi Vicious, 2000 [buy from Amazon.co.uk]

Probably the least typical Scandinavian band in terms of temperament and showmanship, Swedes The Hives caught (indeed co-created) the UK’s 2001/02 punk revival (a.k.a. NME’s New Rock Revolution) just right. And it’s this song that, for this listener at least, puts them first among equals alongside fellow ‘revolutionaries’ The Strokes, The White Stripes and the multitude of other ‘The’ bands that emerged at this time.

It’s all there: a guitar riff you wouldn’t want to meet after pub chucking-out time, sarcastic arrogance with the promise of more bad behaviour, a dirty bass and proper rock ending.

As the world’s 8th greatest live act (as compiled in 2006, when the band were arguably already long past their prime), you need to see them live to for The Hives to really Tell You So. Lead singer Pelle Almqvist‘s dual on-stage personality – a mix of James Brown’s knowing self-aggrandisement between songs, and Mick Jagger’s f**k-you strut ‘n’ gurn during – is so compelling the song almost – almost – takes second billing.

This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.

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