Unlearn This Hatred

Nothing But A Fool < Unlearn This Hatred > The Game

Don’t get me wrong.

The Chemical Brothers are remarkable and hugely important; contributing more than a few tracks into my pool of must-haves. Their collaborations and productions more often than not are equally awesome, and with respect to New Order you’d have to agree that Here To Stay and Singularity are right up there in the band’s canon of greats, for which I’m in awe of Tom Rowlands. Having said that I can’t quite connect with Unlearn This Hatred to the same degree, and in fact I find it mediocre* for a range of reasons.

Because… “Heartache” (repeat)
Because… “I’m your automatic lover…” – what? And I thought Bernard was your Jetstream lover anyway!
Because… That quirky intro loop with the brash sounding synth quickly becomes irritating.
Because… The snare sound used throughout is really dry and abrupt.
Because… There is very little bottom end in the mix until the brief instrumental break at ~3:00. I’ve whined before about the tendency towards mid-range in the Chems-productions; yes it gives the track a certain frantic-quality – perfect for when you need a ‘hands in the air like you just don’t care’ build-up – but if you compare it with New Order’s own ear for sonic balance and production (a-la Plastic etc) then they remain the masters and all others the apprentices.

There’s still a few gems in the pan, such as the overall sentiment of unlearning hatred, the harmony effect used over the “make a sign” chorus vocal lines, the melodic reverbed bell riff in the intro, the aforementioned instrumental break, and the way the track ends.

So it was these elements that I looked for in the companion Extended Mix; hoping that they would be emphasised to offer a more satisfying experience, but I found this version – of all those on Complete Music – the least re-interpreted from its original, which was  disappointing. I’m only left with a few notable differences, including the stretched intro at ~0:30, no bass drum in the first verse, the (quite effective) drop-down to a frantic snare roll at the “healing” end of the first chorus, the instrumental-only chorus section at ~3:53, and the guitar-minimalised “heartache” reprise at the end. I’m particularly disappointed they chose not to make more use of the bass sequence variation around ~3:10; something that should have been really stretched out in an extended re-build, or even used throughout as an alternative new backbone to the song. I think an Extended Mix 2 could have been considered. Can someone please get hold of the multi’s and have a crack at it 🙂

The album wavers a bit here, but given how remarkable Music Complete is overall I’m sanguine about it. Unlearn This Hatred still gets a pass mark.

* …as a full album track. In my opinion Music Complete would have been tighter by leaving Unlearn This Hatred off, with the song better utilised as a B-side to the Singularity single release.

Rating: xxxoo

Available on: Music Complete
Extended Mix available on: Complete Music

9 thoughts on “Unlearn This Hatred

  1. I figured this might be where the stellar reviews may start to wobble – I like the track a little more than you – possibly 3.5 or 4 stars. I don’t like the ‘heartache’ intro either (especially when extended!) but always thought the ‘automatic lover’ was more a nod to Dee D Jackson than Mehstream.

    Thanks as always for the insightful review… another reason to hope for more band output, as Superheated looms all to close…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think your review’s on the money, although in a good mood I might go 3.5 stars. It’s got an arresting high-energy riff (would sound ‘banging’ if you were off your face in a club), but beyond that it’s one-dimensional, and the lyrics are clunky in the extreme. It sounds like it’s already a remix of another (original but unreleased) song, and has lost a little in the transition.

    One of the genius bits of this album is that NO show they don’t really need Hooky. There are a few songs where it sounds like he might still be there (e.g Restless, Stray Dog), a few where the bass is prominent but develops into a different dimension (Singularity, POTHL, NBAF), and just a few where the absence of a prominent Hooky-like bass seems to strip some essential element out of the song (this one, and to greater or lesser extent the next two IMHO). Not saying that Hooky’s bass alone makes a great song, but as is, this just sounds a bit too clinical and needs something to make it worth revisiting. I’d be interested in hearing it properly remixed though…. I actually prefer the extended version but it isn’t that different.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally one of my favourite tracks on the album and not just because it used to come up on my car stereo as “Unlearn This Hat…”

    Really like the trio of extended mixes of Academic, NBaF and this before Music Complete tails off a bit.

    Given up hope of a live performance of this, thought this was a good candidate for MiF gigs…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You hit the nail on the head Denns with ‘brash’, and ‘abrupt’, it is very staccato for me, not the best (by a long way) but not the worst track on the album, like most of New Order’s poorer songs they are far better than other bands highlight tracks.

    3.5 out of 5

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah…I wondered what it is the Chem’s were trying to do here. Early New Wave or something? There are so many great little elements in this song…I feel like if they slowed the tempo just a bit and made a smooth running but crunchy house track out of it, it could have been reallly good. I like Barney’s singing here… except for “automatic” ,… had to be wonky somewhere, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I play this one every once in a while. The whole synth brass part I’m not keen on, but the middle section from 1:27 is great. I’m a sucker for cheesy synths and the load shiny synth is a brilliant. Even the bass synth ‘wibble’ part at 2:18 is satisfying.

    I feel like the drum build up at 1:41 is trying to rip off club songs around the 2010’s where all the build ups are just the drums doubling up every 4 beats. That’s the cheesy that i’m not keen on, but on the extended mix it sounds alright with the extended drum build up.

    Overall I prefer the extended version, again agreeing with everyone that it suits a 3.5

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My least favourite track on the album and the one I’m most likely to skip. It might work in a club but it doesn’t lend itself easily for everyday listening IMO.

    Bit bland in synth sounds and sounds dated. Sounds more like a Barney solo effort than New Order as a collective entity.

    The lyrics are pretty good but vocals are w bit buried.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Probably the weakest track on the album for me. Wasn’t this the nucleus for the collaboration between Barney and Digitalism? Would like to know if anything was ever recorded.

    Liked by 1 person

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