Here’s a clip of shouty Swedish rock poseurs the Hives with “Walk Idiot Walk”, as taken from their 2004 Tyrannosaurus Hives album.
In rock music, there is something to be said for presentation. And if it’s one thing that the Hives understand, it’s presentation. With their matching outfits and their onstage personas of identically dressed arrogant rock saviours, they’ve injected some of the theatricality back into the music. And with this, I think there is something of a full-circle effect at work. The Nirvana generation of rock bands taught us that costumes and poses in rock were to be distrusted. But when new rules arise, there are new ways to break them too. The Hives show just how punk rock costuming and theatricality can be in this new paradigm
Of course, none of it would mean anything without the music itself, pulling from 60s garage rock and also from the Detroit proto-punk of the MC5 and, quite obviously, the Stooges’ “Raw Power”. The songs are riff-centric and defiantly raw, boiled down to the bare minimum, and then cranked to eleven for taste. And no song on this album outstays its welcome; they’re all under 3 minutes. As for “Walk Idiot Walk”, this for me is music to tear up the seats by.
The problem which was in place for many years is that rock music had become this heavy, burdensome beast, a lumbering thing which had forgotten that it should be fun, above all. I have to say that the Hives, and other bands with the same kindred spirit such as the Hellacopters, the White Stripes, and the Dirtbombs, have brought rock music back toward where it should be. And as a results, it hits us the fans right where it counts.
For more about the Hives, check out the Hives MySpace page.
2 thoughts on “The Hives Perform “Walk Idiot Walk””
I really liked this video and song when it first came out. It is fun, catchy and the guy looks like he is channeling Mick Jagger (is he still living?). There were a few fun videos like this one around the same time. The Darkness – I believe in a thing called love – is another one that should probably qualify as a guilt pleasure. I laughed through most of the video. It almost felt like something from Weird Al.
The lead singer – Howlin’ Pele Almqvist – is not actually channeling Mick Jagger so much as he’s channeling Iggy Pop. Still, the point is well taken – these guys are performing their material in a certain tradition of rock music – a sort of theatrical, in-your-face-, not afraid to pose, tradition which is actually pretty fun. There is a level of irony at work here, of course, or at least self-awareness. Maybe that’s why the Weird Al thing kind of applies, under a certain light.
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