Women shining in music
24 February 2021-
The Haim sisters, otherwise known as the soon-to-be classic band HAIM, released a new and excellent album last year. They are now back with an Extended edition, featuring Taylor Swift no less...
In many ways, we are late to that party that was thrown to celebrate the increasingly notable achievements of girl band HAIM. Not only have these three sisters been at it for nearly 15 years now, but they released their latest and extremely well received third album way back when in August of 2020. We say ‘way back when’ here because, the way things are going in music in particular and the world in general, 6 months now feels like forever. And the Haim sisters understood that, so they just graced us with a new and improved “Extended edition” of their masterpiece, complete with a Taylor Swift appearance.
To be fair, they didn’t need that to be listened to (except, apparently, by this reviewer). As it happens, Haim have been producing excellent, sophisticated and overwhelmingly lauded pop rock tunes for years. They have long been fan favorites of publications like Pitchfork, which tends to have a knack for finding the next indie goddess(es). They have also performed on SNL twice. And they have been very near the top of the charts several times. Finally, their third album, the aptly named Women in Music Pt. III, has been featured in many top 10 / year-end lists a couple of months ago. With very good reason: it is a highly cohesive, beautifully crafted, subtle piece of work.
To the point that it is somewhat shocking if you have been stuck listening to the more mainstream, Tiktok-esque tunes as of late. Starting with the amazingly produced “Los Angeles”, whose hushed drums and overall melancholic vibe quite directly reminds us of a young Carly Simon — albeit with a 24-track (or two). Then you get to hear what a proper guitar riff sounds like once it has been reinvented by the softer-leaning Haim sisters on “Up from a dream”: both saturated and subtle. After that, a detour takes you to the RnB stylings of “3 am”, which an Anthony Hamilton wouldn’t shy away from (the new Thundercat edition is even more enjoyable). You even get a bonus “Hallelujah” from the young women, a song title very few would even dare use at this point, but which they manage to integrate into a beautiful piece of folkish pop the likes of which we haven’t heard in a while.
And then there’s “Gasoline”, the Taylor Swift-featuring newest hit from the album in its extended iteration, an answer of sorts to HAIM’s appearance on the superstar’s latest effort, Evermore. A picture perfect piece of pop Americana, it may not be the most accomplished piece of music on there, yet it is likely the most infectious. In the end, you get it all from HAIM: contemplative sophistication, harmonic pop, post-rock… and, above all, a remarkable sense of style. If the ladies come up with a Diamond edition next the way rappers do these days, we’ll have no choice but listen to all of it all over again. Such is life.