Saturday, August 22, 2020

HAIM - Women in Music Part III

7 years ago when HAIM first rocked up on the global charts they were young, unsure, and “bad at communication”- a point relayed with a steady drum beat and vocal harmonies. Over time the sisters have grown into themselves which is reflected in their music; the lyrics from 2017’s ‘Something to Tell you’ speak of the need to communicate “but [they] don’t know why it’s so hard”. If the words in each album tell of their experiences with love and relationships, then by their third album they’re aware of what they do and do not want from a partner, even if they still “don't know what to say”. This slow growing surety in themselves and their romantic lives puts a relatable element of drama into their lyrics, whereas the lively percussion and rhythmic bass keep the tone light and positive; allowing the listener to absorb the lyrics completely. If the first two album’s hadn’t already sold you on HAIM’s artistic ability; then WIMPIII has most definitely solidified their notability as guitar playing, drum bashing, bass-facing LA girls worth listening to. 

Arguably the best song on Women in Music part III; ‘The Steps’ finds the sisters venting their frustrations with a romantic partner, “I can’t understand, why you don’t understand me”. The song defines their independence as people and artists who “don't need your help”, their limitations are set by only themselves; relaying this message alongside a crisp electric guitar line. Unlike most of their songs, the instrumental focus leans towards percussion rather than guitar, the aggressive drumming draws the ear’s attention making the lyrics entirely impossible to ignore. 

If ‘The Steps’ embodies the determined self-sufficiency the sisters feel within themselves; then the album’s previous single ‘Hallelujah’ embodies the quiet connection they share. The latter’s soft acoustical tone strategically contrasted against ‘The Steps’; with no percussion throughout the song the music is guided mostly by the sister’s voices with quiet accompaniment. The dynamic range within the album was made evident before its release by these two pieces alone, however if you were hoping for more pieces to follow the style of ‘Hallelujah’, you’d have been sorely disappointed. 

There’s no single artist or genre that HAIM have drawn inspiration from to make this album; the music changes depending on the thematic nature of each song. Their sincere honesty with their experiences in these songs (depression in ‘I Know Alone’, loss in ‘Hallelujah’, and criticism in ‘Man from the Magazine’) makes the music all the more relatable. Previous albums had a tendency to become repetitive after listening to a few songs consecutively, WIMPIII evades this mistake with its candid approach and musical flexibility. 

It would have been easy for HAIM to shift entirely into the pop rock genre and possibly gain an even larger fan-base, however they’ve stayed true to their desired tone which is as clear on their third album as it was on the first; albeit more refined. Taking the recommended time to listen to the album in its entirety will transport you to a deserted downtown LA - and have you ready to take your clothes off if you payed close attention to ‘Summer Girl’. Regardless of its the heavier contents, Women In Music part III leaves you feeling lighter and is without a doubt the best album released by HAIM so far …

- Molly Stone



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