It has been quite a journey to Women in Music Pt. III (WIMPIII) for HAIM. They have enjoyed commercial success and received rave reviews, but have also been snubbed and patronised along the way. WIMPIII shows the sisters are not joking. They reply to their critics by producing the best record of their career so far.
The album begins from home: ‘Los Angeles’, where everything started for the sisters. The track’s jazzy saxophone paired with the eighties pop-electro they are known for, introduce how the album is all about expression and experimentation.
HAIM’s love for Fleetwood Mac has always been prevalent, while further influences from Joni Mitchell and Lou Reed (‘Summer Girl’ alludes to ‘Walk on the Wild Side’) give a record that demonstrates variety and growth. The centre stage however, belongs to the lyrics.
The album focuses on emotions. ‘Man from a Magazine’ is aggressive and outspoken, inspired by an encounter Este had with a journalist. The lyrics cannot be more direct: “Man from the magazine, what did you say? Do you make the same faces in bed? Hey, man, what kind of question is that? What did you really want me to say back?”
‘I Know Alone’ and ‘I’ve Been Down’ refer to Danielle’s struggle with depression, mostly triggered as an aftermath of her partner’s diagnosis with cancer (producer Ariel Rechtshaid). The lyrics are confessional: “Some things never change, they never fade, it’s never over” she sings in ‘I know Alone’. The video for the single was directed remotely during lockdown and appropriately sees the sisters dancing, yet rooted in their positions, isolated from each other.
Bonus track and early single, ‘Hallelujah’, is another confessional song, about the death of Alana’s closest friend before the band left for their first tour. Being unable to grieve the loss as her career took off, Alana comes face-to-face with her grief with support from her sisters.
Despite elements of melancholy, HAIM have admitted this is the most confident they have ever felt with their music and that WIMPIII has helped them move forward. “The whole mantra of this record is about being fearless and not holding yourself back,” Alana said.
This confidence has paid off. With bold statements and nothing to hide, HAIM have delivered a record that boldly deals with life and all its aspects.