Haim - Women In Music Pt III. Review
Haim’s magnum opus has arrived. They’ve been an active trio since 2012, and after a few promising, and somewhat lackluster releases, it now feels their journey and vision is in a glorious phase. Here we have a mature, raw, vulnerable work, that brings together a wide range of influences into a bursting unified sound.
The main singles of the album, ‘The Steps’ and ‘Don’t Wanna’ are great, classic Haim Rock/Country/Pop fusion. But things start to get proper thrilling with ‘I Know Alone’. Skippy electronic drum rhythms and synths literally make this a Garage bop. The novel fusions continue in almost every track. ‘Another Try’ brings a Reggae/Dub taste, then the Thundercat collaboration ‘3 AM’ with Funk vibes. And still, all throughout, the Country/Rock influences remain strong. Beautiful performances serenade us in ‘Leaning On You’, and ‘Gasoline’ where Taylor Swift makes a surprise appearance.
There is a clear thematic message here too. In ‘Man From The Magazine’, they sing about awkward, uncomfortable encounters with rude press, and assumptively sexist guitar shop attendees. “It feels very universal to any woman who plays music about going into a guitar store or a music shop and immediately either being asked, ‘Oh, do you want to start to play guitar?’ or ‘Are you looking for a guitar for your boyfriend?’ And you’re like, ‘What the fuck?’ It’s the worst feeling.” Danielle Haim commented when speaking on the song.
Another standout moment for me though, has got to be ‘All That Ever Mattered’. A well produced, fat mix of heavy drums and fun guitars draws you in at the start. And then the chorus hits… wow! We hear these abused vocal screams, distorted out of any sonic refrain, punch through the mix. I was genuinely shocked when I heard it. It’s a bold, confident sound that you really don’t expect. And that’s what sets this apart from the sisters’ previous work. It’s bold, it’s confident. A wild, unbridled, ‘this is me, take it or leave it’ record. An empowering and inspiring body of work.
“The whole mantra of this record is about being fearless and not holding yourself back. I feel like there are so many times when there’s that voice in your head going. ‘Be scared, be scared, stop, stop, stop,’ and with this record, we’ve shut that thing off so if one of us is like that, I have two sisters who say, ‘Keep going’.” - Alana Haim