Critical Voices: HAIM, <i>Something To Tell You</i>

Critical Voices: HAIM, Something To Tell You

By:
07/14/2017

There is an unabashed air of hurt throughout Something To Tell You. It weaves its way through each song, going deep in some places, while rising to the surface in others. But there’s another overwhelming tone: release. Release from hurt, from anger, and from heartbreak. Something To Tell You may be an album filled with pain, but the end result is relief and resolve.

Coming four years after their first album, HAIM’s new music is less-hard hitting and more stripped-down and vulnerable than their earlier work. Off-beat rhythms and signature harmonies come together to form a forceful, yet tender, collection of songs. Something To Tell You has an air of 70s folk, highly reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac (The group has covered many of their songs), as well as glimmers of 90s soft-rock (think The Cranberries). There is a definite beauty in the music’s simplicity that proves their evolution from their initial sound. This mass of emotion complements the sisters’ signature voice.

The most iconic aspect of this album, though, is heartbreak. From “Want You Back,” an upbeat song of remorse and desperation, to “Walking Away,” a quiet, anger-ridden ballad of letting go and release, all of the feelings associated with the pain of a lost love are uncovered. The standout song of Something To Tell You is “Right Now,” released in April as the initial single, which combines anger with liberation to put the whole album in perspective. Produced by Rostam Batmanglij, previously of Vampire Weekend, its intricate beats mesh with eerie background synth to form a indie-pop-rock work of art.

The inflection and tone of the three HAIM sisters’ vocals is aptly clear, and it is their unequivocal strong suit. While they all excel at their relative instruments, the combination of their voices and the unbelievably convincing emotion behind them is what drives their style. There is frustration, there is relief. This contrast brings forth a spectrum of feeling; The harmonies are occasionally hopeful and often haunted.

Something To Tell You is an anthem for heartbreak. It’s for women who have spent too long thinking over men. It’s a message of female empowerment, but it’s also a signal of acceptance for those who have not yet reached that point. HAIM is honest and trusting, sending all us ladies a message that our emotions are not our weakness.

Voice’s Choices: “Right Now,” “Want You Back”

About Author

Claire Goldberg is the Voice's Halftime Leisure assistant editor and is a government major in the College. She "says a lot of funny things," according to Emma Francois.


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