At the suggestion of my daughter, I’ve spent the last week or so listening to Something to Tell You, the second and latest album from the band HAIM (pronounced HY-em). Three sisters – Alana, Danielle, & Este – make up the band and derive the name from their shared last name: Haim.
During that week, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what it is about this album that keeps me from wanting to heap praises upon it. Truly, this band has a lot going for it.
The sisters’ talent is undeniable – they each play multiple instruments and are gifted singers. They’ve played together as a band since childhood and have a real chemistry. In fact, their vocal blend has been compared to that of a ’70s band you may have heard of called Fleetwood Mac (listen to “Nonthing’s Wrong” and tell me you don’t hear it) – as comparisons go, they could do a lot worse. And they know what makes a good tune.
So what is it about the songs on this album that makes me want to push the ‘next’ button? After some reflection, here’s what I’ve come up with.
First, there is not a single happy song on the album. This appears to be a break-up album, so we’ll give it a little slack for that. But ten out of eleven songs (“Little of Your Love” at least hints at the possibility of a healthy relationship) beating that love-gone-bad dead horse is a little much.
And there’s the use of electronic music. I realize that this is topic is my own dead horse, but I have softened on the practice over time. There are many artists who do electronic music well. Bon Iver and Bleachers are good examples, integrating the electronic portions seamlessly and creatively into the song. On Something to Tell You, the electronic bits seem an after-the-thought add-on.
Examples? OK. About two-thirds of the way through “Nothing’s Wrong,” is a 20 – 30 second chunk of electronics that does little except to interrupt the flow of the song. And “Little of Your Love” contains a similarly tacked-on portion to introduce the song. While these are the two most obvious, other songs include electronic tweaks that just don’t fit with the otherwise traditional instrumentals.
Finally, there’s the repetition. Granted, repetition is to be expected with popular music, but with most songs on this album, they’ve sung all the words they’re going to sing before the song is half over. Examine the last song on the album, “Night So Long.” It is soft and haunting and well-performed, but it consists of one verse – sung twice – and one repeated phrase to close the song.
So, I’ve spent most of this post fault-finding HAIM’s latest effort. But as I said at the beginning, Something to Tell You has a lot of positives and is well worth a listen. And while I won’t be spending a lot of my valuable music-listening time on Something to Tell You, I am honestly excited to see what this band will do with their future endeavors.
- Musical nomad – Rostam Batmanglij – appears on this album. Both as a performer and a producer.
- HAIM’s parents fronted a cover band called Rockinghaim, in which the sisters first began performing.
Here’s Something to Tell You on Spotify