- Ryan Arnold
Album Review: Haim - 'Women in Music Pt. III'
Sisters Alana, Danielle and Este Haim are back with a brand-new album, and they're better than ever. "Women in Music Pt. III" is full of new textures, styles, synthesizers and woozy jazz with undertones of previous albums. The trio has progressed in their song-making, giving us some of their most luxurious songs.
Due to COVID-19 and the bizarre times we are now living in, the record was postponed from its initial release date of April 24 to June 26. It was well worth the wait, as it's a masterclass in songwriting.
The first track on the album, "Los Angeles," kicks off with a street melody of sounds: a baritone sax gliding through the air, chattering voices on the alley and a kick drum banging from the street corner – giving us the echoes of city life in the summer.
"The Steps" music video was released earlier this year on March 3 and was directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood," "The Master" and "Phantom Thread"). The song and music video are both aggressively fueled with fierce feminism. The song's harder rock helps energize Haim's point throughout their lyrics: "Every time I think that I've been takin' the steps/You end up mad at me for makin' a mess/I can't understand, why you don't understand me."
For "I Know Alone," Haim uses a synthesizer aspect in full force, giving us an eerie and pop-infused song. The music video, released on April 29, was filmed well in advance of quarantine; however, dropping it during that time made it feel all the more surreal. In the video, the sisters are all stationary and socially distanced about six feet from each other. Basically, Haim invented a social distancing dance choreography, and it's brilliant. The trio's movements feel zombie-like or robotic, fueling the power of the synthesizer that plays in the background. Listen to these lyrics: "Been a couple days since I’ve been out/Calling all my friends but they won’t pick up/Found another room in a different place/Sleeping through the day and I dream the same." There's a sense of Déjà vu interwoven throughout these words, as we all sit silently, slowly going crazy in quarantine.
"Up from a Dream," "Gasoline" and "3 AM" are the album's middle section and keep Haim's momentum pushing forward. Between these three songs, we are interwoven with synthesizers, soft rock and a breezy R&B mix. The tracks will energize you and keep you anxiously waiting for more.
"Don't Wanna," "Another Try," "Leaning on You" and "I've Been Down" contribute more to Haim's pop-like and soft rock feel. This section of the album has more of the melancholy vibes that fixate on our emotions, keeping us relaxed in our headphones while Haim's lyrics give off a calming effect.
"Man from the Magazine" is a quiet and relaxing song, while the next song, "All That Ever Mattered," does a complete 180° and is like a headrush of adrenaline. Screeching sounds and a fast tempo show us that Haim is still full of surprises.
The singles "Now I'm in It," "Hallelujah" and "Summer Girl" were released last year and were added to the album as bonus tracks.
In "Now I'm in It," Haim infuses the song with vibes reminiscent of the 2011 film "Drive.” The beats are pumping as Haim's curious lyrics seep into your bones. Both the upbeat song and music video are captivating, and then we get to relax in the next song "Hallelujah."
The track is a wonderful redemption of soft melodies and harmonizing vocals by the trio. "Hallelujah" will sweep you off your feet by its beautiful songwriting. The sweet guitar strings playing in the background will bring back old memories, while the sisters belt out tear-worthy vocals. Similar to a country anthem or a modern-day "Landslide," "Hallelujah" is an instant classic.
Concluding this masterful album is a masterful song – "Summer Girl." Even though summer 2020 is canceled, this song will continue to brighten your day. The track is filled with a catchy drumbeat, a soothing sax, breezy lyrics and echoes of past summertime experiences.
Overall, this album was an illuminating experience full of beautiful songwriting, catchy tunes, blended melodies and a cocktail of genres. Haim's third album switches things up, giving off melancholy vibes and a cathartic walk of life that's deeply rewarding. The blues may have you down right now, but this record paves the way to levitate your emotions into a healing experience. A masterpiece is, quite simply, what "Women in Music Pt. III" is.