Totally Fun but not Genius
D. D. Harwood | Buffalo, NY USA | 03/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know why this album in particular has instigated this tirade from me but for some reason all the bad reviews have really pissed me off. For whatever reason I'm in the habit of reading the lowest rated reviews of albums I like first. Usually I just laugh at the ignorant fools who say stuff like, "The Velvet Underground is the most over rated band in history," and you won't find a more vigorous Velvets defender than me. But the handful of lousy reviews for this album, which I don't even give 4 stars myself, really made me mad.
First of all, I think that in 2006 it's really idiotic to dismiss a band because they sound like another band. So the Hives are obviously derivative of the MC5, the Kinks, Da Stooges, etc. and those bands did it first and better. Of course they did... THEY'RE THE F**KING MC5! But you know what? The MC5 hasn't made any new music since 1971. So any band that worships them as much as I do is cool with me. As long as they don't rip off riffs directly I'm ok with "derivative". Because if you like that old-school crummy rock it's hard to come by and you should be dying for more. Besides in this day and age it's almost impossible to NOT be derivative of something (before you jump down my throat, I know there are exceptions: Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Tom Waits - off the top of my head). As long as it's done right, with the appropriate reverence/humor, it's perfectly acceptable to wear your influences on your sleeve.
Secondly, when people complain that a 30 minute rock album is a rip off because it's too short just tells me that those idiots have absolutely no understanding of rock-n-roll at all let alone the history of the music business. You see, in the glory days before Compact Discs destroyed music 30 - 40 minutes was the most music you could cram on an LP without losing fidelity. More than that and you had to either cram the grooves so close you lost sound or you had to move it on to a second LP which was prohibitively expensive. That's part of the reason some of those first 2 lp albums are real classics, i.e. The White Album, Exile on Maine Street, Blonde On Blonde. [Actually the White Album is a bad example because it was the first album on Apple Records but you get my point.] In order to convince the label to put out two LPs you really had to have something to say. Otherwise your album got cut to fit the medium, therefore you left the weaker songs off the record. The CD's 75 minute format allowed artists to become very poor self-editors. Whatever crap they recorded got slapped on the CD. Rarely is there a 75, or even 60 minute album that is good all the way through but, now, the music buying public, in true American-Consumer fashion, has come to demand quantity over quality. "If I'm going to spend $18 on a CD I better be getting 75 minutes of music even if 45 minutes of that is pabulum I'll never listen to." (For a few years a backlash to this has been building, hence the success of iTunes.)
Anyway, my long rambling point is that - More Is Rarely Better! The Hives' 30 Minute Veni Vidi Vicious is the perfect length. No filler. No tedious solos that need to be skipped over. The longest song clocks in at 3:22; no time to get bored here. Just 12 short kick-ass examples of garage rock in almost it's purest form. I say "almost" because, despite what some reviewers here say, this album is overproduced. Personally, I really cherish that recorded-in-my-parent's-basement kind of feel to my crappy rock records; this album is obviously meant to be a little bit more radio friendly. I can't fault them for that but it's just not my thing.
Bottom line is that this is a fun record and I think that a majority of the reviews have missed this point. If you understand that when I call some music "crappy" I don't necessarily mean it derogatorily or if you appreciate Lenny Kaye's Nuggets Collection or if you have a collection of cherished 45s you bought at local rock shows then I trust this album will make you smile. No, it's not as good as the MC5 or the Stooges or what ever high water marks you want set for Rock... But what is? If you can't get over that I can only suggest your life would be much happier if you get off that pretentious pole you've got lodged in your rectum."
Hil | Durango, Colorado | 03/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i love the Hives. This album is so fast and loud and not like anything else around today, i don't understand how you could not like it. Sure Howlin' Pelle is a bit hard to understand, but he's so high energy and amazing! if you like music, you definetly need to own this CD"