Song Commentary

Love Hate

Written by
Becky Baxter / Conal O’Donoghue / Shauna McGarrity / John McNulty

A song about a love-hate relationship; a song about leaving someone; a song about dysfunctional relationships.

This is another product of the “kitchen sessions” and a fine example of the band’s creative process (if you could call it that!). Conal was hanging out with the Riff Trolls (aka the management) in the front room and watching the football. John passed on to Shauna an idea he had for a verse bass line and she started to merge it with an idea of her own for a chorus bass line. Shauna proposed the provisional title of “Love Hate” based on an idea that had been running around her head for a few weeks and a melody she created for the chorus and Becky, with the aid of the other two, started putting together ideas for the lyrics. Over the next half hour or so, the three of them refined and developed the idea, but kept hitting the wall in the chorus: the run-up of notes in the scale just didn’t fit and the song wasn’t working.

Eventually, they called Conal away from the match, took him through the rough version of the song, explained the problem in the chorus and told him they needed an arrangement. Conal simply picked up his trusty Faith acoustic, said “what, you mean like this?” and straight off the bat played the arrangement that is still found in the song today. “Love Hate” was born: a song about a love-hate relationship, a song about leaving someone and a song about dysfunctional relationships.

Not surprisingly for a song that started with the bass line, Shauna’s bass features prominently throughout the song. The opening is simply a solid blues jam held together by a palpable bass riff and featuring Conal’s fills and trills on lead guitar. Then, the mood changes and Shauna kicks into a new bass line just before Becky’s vocal, hinting at pain, defiance and a touch of uncertainty, begins. The chorus arrangement almost brings things to a full stop before the bass line takes over again for round two. We are then treated to a guitar solo of contrasting delicacy and almost daintiness before it kicks into  more familiar heavy blues and slightly distorted territory. Finally, a false ending leads into a blues power riff for the final verse and chorus.

The diverse elements of the song are blended expertly to mirror and depict the conflicting emotions arising from a dysfunctional relationship: both love and hate simultaneously. For the truly technically-minded, an interesting feature of the song is that the instrumental part changes key to reflect the song’s theme: from A major (representing love) to A Minor (representing hate). It’s a song about a love-hate relationship, a song about leaving someone and a song about dysfunctional relationships.


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