Words About Music
Haim “Days Are Gone”
The three Haim sisters (Este, Danielle, and Alana) have been playing music together for over half a decade, but it isn’t until now that they’ve decided to release their debut album, which is a fascinating blend of R&B, new wave, soft rock, and contemporary pop. They’ve been compared endlessly to Fleetwood Mac, although I also see bits and pieces of The Police, Talking Heads, and Cyndi Lauper in their music, too. But don’t let me give the impression that I really enjoy this album, because “Days Are Gone” is one of the biggest letdowns of the year, especially considering the huge amounts of buzz that songs like “Forever” and “The Wire” have received.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the Haim sisters are incredibly talented musicians and know how to incorporate tons of instruments, sounds, and structures into their tunes while still remaining catchy and somewhat smart. And this is why I understand some of the hype that has built for Haim, especially for the track “Forever,” which I especially think is a highlight. But for the most part, the singles keep the album interesting while the deep cuts end up serving as background music because they just fail to capture my attention.
In the world of pop music, Haim are one of the few artists that feel sincere, and it does excite me to see artists creating the music they want to create, especially when it falls under the pop category. Even some of the more formulaic moments feel just right. A few of these tracks feel like they belong in the end credits of a John Hughes film. But while Haim are great at hit singles, they also tend to fall into the trap that many pop artists, even the best ones, seem to fall under. They haven’t crafted an album full of songs that are worth listening to. Once “The Wire” is over all the songs start to sound the same, except for a few. The late 80s/early 90s R&B pop callback gimmick gets tired and “Days Are Gone” starts to feel longer than it really is. And with singers like Janelle Monáe crafting truly interesting and wonderful pop music, it’s hard to see why Haim continue to achieve critical acclaim. Is it just “in” to like Haim because they’re cute girls that aren’t making electronically-dependent pop music? Is liking Haim to liking Miley Cyrus what liking Immortal Technique is to liking Chief Keef?
Now I’m not calling into question the credibility of certain blogs and magazines that praise Haim, because I think certain elements of Haim’s music deserve praise. And once again, it’s all a matter of opinion. But since I see such little promise in an album that took who knows how many years to perfect, it makes me wonder if Haim will get better or fade out like most pop stars do. I guess it remains to be seen, but I do hope Haim find a way to make pop music interesting and not sound like a watered-down female Vampire Weekend. Especially when the competition is this fierce.
SCORE – 4.7
FAVORITE TRACKS – Forever, The Wire, My Song 5