Sisters HAIM vaunted into the big-time as a major celebrity favorite, from Taylor Swift to Saturday Night Live, on the back of two appealing but ultimately only appealing records, 2013’s Days Are Gone (QRO review) and 2017’s Something To Tell You (QRO review). They seemed to be ‘more famous than good,’ picture-perfect for magazine covers and engaging personalities. But with Women in Music Pt. III, they’ve made an excellent and diverse record, seeing them live up to their potential.
HAIM’s Laurel Canyon-esque seventies pop had always been nice to listen to, if a little thin, but on Women it’s given full weight. The emotional pop of “The Steps” and the sly “Don’t Wanna” are HAIM doing what they’ve done, but at its best. Meanwhile, “Man From the Magazine” is a cutting take on the music industry’s patriarchy and misogyny that feels completely earned.
Yet Music doesn’t just stick to just better versions of what HAIM has done before, but also expands into synth-pop. Yes, songs like the light disco booty call commentary “3am” don’t quite match up to HAIM’s ‘70s wheelhouse, and Music’s alternating of the two styles on the track list creates some dissonance. But this is a band that’s not just getting better, but also getting broader.
With the three early, original stand-alone singles “Now I’m In It”, “Hallelujah”, and “Summer Girl” added on as bonus tracks, Women in Music Pt. III is extended at sixteen tracks, but doesn’t feel that way. It helps that those three songs are three of the record’s finest, “Now” HAIM’s best synthed pop, “Hallelujah” might not be Leonard Cohen but is still touching, and “Summer Girl” the kind of enjoyable relax you love from HAIM. It’s wonderful to see a popular, fashionable act living up to all their attention & acclaim.