The Black and White Album – The Hives

The Black and White Album

The Hives

A&M/Octone

2007

The Hives have always been pretty strange to me, but I always liked a portion of their library.  From old tracks like “AKA I.D.I.O.T.” to the obvious “Hate to Say I Told You So”, I enjoyed listening to them, no matter how strange they sounded.  So then I got The Black and White Album, and something different happened:  I enjoyed the whole album.  The Hives, always ostentatious and bizarre, had put together quite a good offering.  Tonight, with the conclusion of my week of reviews, I will review this album.

The starter is a song that had pretty big success, being commercialized like hell.  “Tick Tick Boom” starts off with something bizarre, as expected, but then the ass-kicking starts.  The Hives really live up to their ‘rock-revival’ genre here.  Everything fits properly on this track, drums, bass, vocals, and guitar.  Everything sounds as it should, and the track is hugely entertaining.

Next is “Try It Again”, and the guys continue making brilliant music here, though with a little bit of classic Hives’ flair.  Ridiculous lyrics are plainly evident, like the repeat of ‘doo-wacko’, or the lyrics ‘if same-ing isn’t working, why don’t different instead, instead, instead’.  This track also makes you want to sing along like a complete moron, which I am too happy to oblige to.

“You Got It All… Wrong” doesn’t hesitate, and by the time you realize it’s a new track, you’ve already missed plenty.  The verses are very fast paced, while the choruses slow it down slightly, at least in the realm of vocals.  About halfway through, they try to trick you, with a 2-3 second pause, to make you think the song is over.  In fact, the song has another half to go, thankfully.  Definitely a winner here.

The next track brings back some of the weirdness that makes The Hives so lovable.  “Well All Right!” has the title repeated throughout the verses in backup vocals, and the chorus’ lyrics are awesome as well.  For example, ‘people see me and they go… scuse me! WOO-HOO’.  Halfway through, there’s a little bridge that’s slow and different from the rest of the song.  The song ends on a good note, a huge WOOOOO-HOOOO!

I love the guitar for the next song, both the lead and rhythm.  The drums on “Hey Little World” during the verses are a really cool hit-hat roll that you have to listen for sometimes.  This song is on a similar plane with “Try It Again” in that it’s a fast-paced, sing-along song with a great sound, and a small amount of.

“A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors” is a complete change of pace.  First of all, it’s instrumental.  Secondly, it’s hugely slowed down from anything else so far on the album.  It’s a nice interlude that really does give you the feeling that you’re walking through the hallways of a huge mansion.  Not necessarily what I expect from The Hives, but damn do they do a great job here.

“Won’t Be Long” is one of my favorite songs from these guys, period.  More fast-paced stuff here, and the chorus is just a complete rockout.  The vocals are completely outrageous sounding, but that’s what makes it so fantastic.  Seriously, this track is huge to me, and I’ll leave it to you to listen.

“T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.” is up next and it slows things down, with a cool sound.  It’s really The Hives being ridiculous (whoda thunk it?) and bragging, being completely cocky (hehe cocks).  They say they rule the world, and similar things.  The bassline is really what sells this song to me.  It’s really fantastic, and a nice contrast to the high picking guitar riff.  The track as a whole is really a fun listen, as long as you take everything they say with a grain of salt.  And if you have ever listened to The Hives before, then you know that you have to do that.

“Return the Favour” is awesome for two reasons to me.  First, the fact that it’s another kickass, fast-paced, fun to sing along to track.  Second, they use the UK English spelling of ‘favour’.  That’s awesome.  Also awesome is everything about this song.  Much like “Won’t Be Long”, it’s one of my favorites from these guys again.

“Giddy Up!” is really hit or miss for me.  Sometimes, I’ll skip it because it is annoying, sometimes, I’ll listen to it a few times before moving on.  Either way, the guitar here is really something different than they do on the rest of the album, and it’s repetitive, but interesting enough that it keeps you occupied.  But yeah, I’m torn on this song, so I’ll let you create your own opinion on it.

The next track is (and god damn I’m really overusing this phrase) another faster, sing-along track.  “Square One Here I Come” has a lyrical style that I really like.  I don’t know what to call it exactly, other than sequential.  Basically, the second half of one line is the first half of the next one.  For example, ‘nobody knew shit cause nobody knows nothin, nobody knows nothin and that’s just it’.  This is a really fun listen, and again, one of my favorites from them as a band in total.

“You Dress Up for Armageddon” has a really simple beat, but it’s hella catchy.  Also, the vocals. I can’t understand what the exact words are part of the time, and the background vocals repeat ‘damn them all’ sometimes.  Honestly, if The Hives did an entire album like this, I’d be happy.

Alright, now this next song, when I first heard it, I did not believe it was The Hives at first.  I honestly thought that it was Modest Mouse.  The track sounds a lot like something Isaac Brock would come up with.  They even have the creepy laughter in the background.  I’m not sure if that’s what they were going for, but either way, they hit it dead on with “Puppet on a String”.  I really like this song because I (unironically) like Modest Mouse, and that’s really all I can say about it.

And then we arrive at the final song on the album.  This is my favorite song that The Hives have ever done, and from there you can extrapolate that it’s the best song on the album©.  “Bigger Hole to Fill” has a great sound.  The verses contradict common phrases that people use, and the chorus really sends it home.  This is a huge track for a closer, and definitely worth the wait to get to.  Then again, the journey along the way kicks tons of ass as well.

So there we have The Black and White Album by The Hives.  Definitely one of my favorite albums, and really good from start to finish.  I strongly urge you to give this a listen, whether you’ve previously liked The Hives or not.  This really could be the selling point you need on them.

Official Site

Buy This Album

Last.fm Page

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: