By Ron Powers
It’s been 7 years since the Hives have geared up for a major album release. Now they’re back and better than ever with a jaw dropping single called “I’m Alive.”
A picture of triumphant resurrection is painted with “I’m Alive”. It’s the kind of song that makes you feel more resilient and capable. There’s a grit and toughness to it that embodies the advice Winston Churchill once gave: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
After a few minor and major chords followed by a rolling drum fill, the song erupts with iconic Hives guitars, and a chilling scream from singer Pelle Almqvist. In the background we hear bells ringing out, alerting bands everywhere that school is back in session.
Listening to this song gives you the feeling that the last seven years have not been easy for the Hives. Throughout the song, singer Pelle expresses sentiments of being down, dead, or buried. On the first verse we hear the lines:
“The light in the tunnel
Was an oncoming train
I was under the rubble
But I’m back again”
These opening lines and all that follow are delivered by steady knowing hands. “I’m Alive” comes with all the attitude and style the Hives are loved for. It also displays a new level of excellence that shows why many feel The Hives are one of the best, if not the best, bands in the business.
On a technical level the production and musical arrangement of “I’m Alive” is some of the most impressive work I’ve heard from the Swedish punk rock band. It has everything you’d want in a proper banger, but at the same time there’s an epic and even inspiring tone to it. All this while maintaining that unmistakable Hives swagger and attitude.
The song structure of “I’m Alive” is unconventional. As a rule, today’s popular music standard calls for a chorus to make its first appearance at the 30 to 60 second mark. But the first chorus for “I’m Alive” doesn’t kick in until the 1:33 mark. This lag in introducing the chorus would bog down a lesser song. But the two verses and pre choruses that precede the chorus of “I’m Alive” are so good you don’t even notice. And if you weren’t sold already, you would be by the time the chorus does finally comes in. Trust me. Listen to the song and find out for yourself.
Something else I love about this song and the Hives in general is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. They push out huge amounts of power, but they do it in a way that isn’t self-aggrandizing. There’s a lightness and fun in the midst of all the hard-hitting punk rock. To me this is what puts them in a class of their own. I can’t think of a single band besides the Hives that deliver such a well-balanced and potent emotional cocktail.
In a sea of fools-gold musicians, it’s a welcome relief when the real thing shows up.
If you’d like to know more about the Hives or listen to their music, you can find them on most social media platforms as well as streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.