Hate To Say I Told You So (2000)

The Hives

Written by Randy Fitzsimmons
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HivesThe Hives slashed through the cluttered underbrush of music in the 1990s and 2000s, using only two hell-hot guitars, rumbling bass and a minimalist drum kit as their machetes. The result is a stark, exciting landscape.

Harking back to the Kinks’ 1964 winner, “All Day And All Of The Night,” “Hate To Say I Told You So” deploys stripped-down sliding power chords and vocals that verge on angry-young-man antics, but pull back just enough to sound utterly sincere and filled with the truth of being young and scattered.

Ouch, that’s hot


Hate to say whole group hivesIt also doesn’t hurt the effort that The Hives have kept “Hate To Say” down to roughly 3:20, still about the perfect length for a hit Rock-N-Roll song.

That the likes of Missy Elliot, LCD Soundsystem’s self-indulgent mopiness and Animal Collective’s college radio station mish-mashes eclipsed The Hives in the 2000s speaks more to the communal bad taste of the public rather than any failing of the Swedish Rock band.

In fact, The Hives address the synthetic nature of their times head on in the song, making the personal universal in one stroke. (Well, a lot of strokes on their guitars and drum skins.)

Do what I want cause
I can and if I don’t

because I wanna be ignored
by the stiff and the bored
because I’m gonna
Spit and retrieve cause
I give and receive
because I wanna gonna
get through your head
what the mystery man said
because I’m gonna

Hate to say I told you so
I do believe I told you so

Hate To Say lead singer Almqvist

Lead singer Almqvist

The defiance of youth is tattooed over the whole work. “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist’s voice reeks of uncomprom- ising authenticity and a good smackerel of humor. This is real garage band Rock: shouts, unexpected dropouts that allow a Morse-code bass line and Almqvist’s vocals to weasel on through. Random screams, pure emotions, reckless abandon…the bona fides that have gone M.I.A. in so much modern pop.

Unusually, songwriter Randy Fitzsimmons is not a performer but simply composes, manages and “directs” The Hives. It’s been propounded that Fitzsimmons is a sort of collective human being made up of all The Hives’ members; or possibly guitarist Nicholas Arson in an alter ego; an alien, or some such. It makes no matter.

The Hives’ lyrics are oblique and penetrating at the same time, regardless of what’s been written in the music/gossip rags about relatively trivial matters like the Fitzsimmons mystery.

Now it’s all out and you knew
cause I wanted to
Turn my back on the rot
that’s been planning the plot
because I’m gonna
No need for me to wait
because I wanna
No need two, three and too late
because I’m gonna

Lyrically, The Hives remind a listener of Neil Young’s sporadically opaque meanderings that nevertheless touch inner nerves, as in “Tell Me Why”:

Is it hard to make
arrangements with yourself,
When you’re old enough to repay
but young enough to sell?

Hate To say single coverThe song ends in a dervish of activity, a pounding, smashing, sandpaper rough, Keith Moon-shot, over-the-mop-top jam with piles of feedback. For this magic moment, you can become a true believer again.

In an acid test for the making of blue-ribbon Rock, The Hives live rip up the speedway like very few bands in the whole history of the genre. They tear the gingerbread castle down that the puny popsters keep propping up. Hate to say I told you so.

  • When interviewed by online culture mag 3:AM, Randy Fitzsimmons was asked about his influences: “There are so many I like ranging from whatever I picked up from Shakespeare to Eddie Murphy. I like Churchill quotes. If he actually came up with them I don’t know.”
  • Funny, they don’t look Swedish. Is Sweden part of Scotland now?