"Hate" was released in 2002, and produced by Dave Fridmann, the man behind the Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips albums. His gorgeous production adds alot to this album...as it has the same sort of magic you hear on The Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin. One of the undeniable traits of "Hate" is various lyrical references to The Beatles....especially in "All You Need Is Hate" and "Child Killers". Anyway, let's go through the tracks!
01 The Light Before We Land
Wow. Now there's an opener, so immediately gorgeous, it would've been an amazing closer. It has this heavy slightly distorted drum beat in the intro, with soaring folky strings. Typical Fridmann stuff. The choirs are simply amazing in this song. The verses are a bit more quiet, leaning on a waltzing 3/4 drums and melancholic guitars. Once Emma sings "with sight and sound becoming fragile", her voice is surrounded by light choirs and echoing guitars...while subtlely going into the marvelous chorus. I love it when she sings: "And when I feel light, I can feel once again". It's just perfect. But the best part of the song has yet to come. When Emma sings "Before we left euphoria, convince us we are free, remind us how we used to feel, before when life was real", the song become like a lullaby of sorts...and after those lyrics beatiful Disney-esque vocals surround Emma's voice...before going back in the chorus. Cheesey but amazing. The song ends as epicly as it started.
02 All You Need Is Hate
The albums' obvious singalong. The intro wll immediately remind you of albums like Mercury Revs "All Is Dream"....great stuff. The song does have a strong Beatle-esque vibe, especially the way the chorus is sung. When Alun sings "Hate Is All You Need"...is the same as "Love Is All You Need" by The Beatles' classic "All You Need Is Love". The song shift effortlessly from pop to epic musical contortions...a strange contrast, with those depressing lyrics over the musics jumpy mood.
03 Woke From Dreaming
This song is just incredible...starts with a hauntingly volatile piano melody. Strings come in, and Emma's voice sounds much darker than in "The Light Before We Land". The intro is spine shivering, with the childs' choir singing demonically over the piano. In the second verse....a strange light beat comes in, it's almost industrial-like...it fits well. I love the part where the guitars go slightly heavier, and the childs' choirs sings over it...but gets drowned out...until the drums stop, and the song finally has a moment that resembles a bit of hope and joy. Lovely strings...the melody seems to be dangling between happiness and sadness, as if it doesn't know where to go. The song is just amazing from start to finish.
04 The Drowning Years
A very depressing song. Starts with strings, with Aluns voice and subtle guitar. The melody isn't very original..but The Delgados know to use cheeseyness in an acceptable way. Like I said, it's a depresser, with lyrics like "Life isn't precious and life isn't sacred, sometimes release only comes when you need death". The chorus is beautiful, very arranged with a folky edge. After the second chorus, the song gets a bit heavier...almost a wall of melodies. The song gets very depressing when Alun keeps singing "I'm still not sure if the right and the wrong side is one"...and his voice gets more distorted each time he sings it. Ouch.
05 Coming In From The Cold
Finally a more light hearted tune. This track is really nice, more straight up, but not boring at all. I like the lyrics alot. It has a slight electronic beat, when the song makes the transition from verse to chorus. It's a great road song. I love it when Emma's vocals immediately follow ias she sings "Everybody's waiting for the big suprise" after the second chorus...with just her voice and her guitar. It ends with a bouncing electronic beat and Flaming Lips-esque out of tune guitar work. Good pop song.
06 Child Killers
Another dark manic track, despite the lullabyish vibraphone intro. I like the pizzicato strings. Aluns voice almost sound as if he's about to break. This song has a reference to John Lennons "Imagine" if you listen closely. This song just screams hopelessness. I love it when the strings build up a bit and Emma provides backing vocals. "Maybe soon we'll find peace in the other world" is pretty much the voice of one who gives up. I like it when the song becomes tranquil again after the more arranged second chorus...and tiptoes along. Instead of a 3/4 beat...the song is now carried by a straight up slow 4/4 beat...and very slight euphoric melodies. A big depresser...but in an album called Hate, you can expect a few of these.
Starts with very lush echoing vocals by Emma. As she starts to sing and some with her guitar, the echo vocals serve as background melody. Another slow song. I like the way the drums intensify before choruses. De use of backing vocals work really well here. It's not a standout track...but it's pretty decent. Typical Delgados.
08 All Rise
Starts with modest folky strings that build up slightly until Alun starts to sing. ANOTHER slow melancholic depresser. The chorus is simply huge and epic, and the transition between verse and chorus doesn't really build up. There is a very introvert part in the song, very fragile...but after a brief pause the chorus comes in.
09 Never Look At The Sun
The intro of this song is based around Emma's vocals and moody guitars...after a brief pause it goes into a typical Delgados chorus, slow intense swinging beat, soaring strings, while the guitars are more of a secondary melody. A large part of the song is still very quiet though. I love the string arrangements just before the climax...it's almost got a middle eastern vibe.
10 If This Is The Plan
Starts with strings, but kablams into slow 3/4 drums, and Aluns voice singing. During the verses Alun pauses for a moment, before continuing while the guitar melody blends in with the strings for a harp-like effect. I like the the guitar arrangements right before the chorus. This song has a more upbeat and hopeful mood than the previous four tracks, wich makes it a pretty good powerul album closer.
"Hate" is a really good album...all the songs are just gorgeous in their own way and have a real universal feel. The only thing what keeps it from being a classic is that the second half of the album doesn't live up to the brlliiant first half. The album loses it's pace after the first five songs, and there's a bit of an overload on slow depressing songs which makes listening sometimes seem like dragging through mud. But songs like "The Light Before We Land" and "Woke From Dreaming" make this a worthy purchase. But if you like bands such as The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, XTC and Belle & Sebastian...this is can't miss material. The Delgados are hugely underrated, and prolly always will be.