I have a new obsession. Like a serious, addiction-level, if-it-weren’t-completely-harmless-I’d-need-an-intervention obsession: I cannot stop listening to Haim.
“Can’t stop listening to what?” I hear you ask. To Haim – a trio of long-haired sisters from LA, who form the eponymous band (Haim is their last name). They released their debut album, Days Are Gone, at the end of September, and I have literally been listening to it non-stop on repeat since I first heard it in the middle of October. And let me tell you, these girls can jam.
I hesitate to call them a “new” band as they’ve been playing music together since they were kids, but they’ve caught fire over the past year, culminating with their album debut a couple months ago, and they are certainly new to me. They have a familiar, retro pop rock sound that makes you feel like they’ve been around for ages. Of course, that implies that they are derivative and unoriginal, which is totally NOT the case. They take influences from all sorts of music and produce a sound that is refreshing, totally listenable and supes catchy (yes, supes, not super).
I stumbled across them a month or so ago through a random article about their style. That led me to listen to some of their tunes. It turns out I had heard one of their singles, “Falling”, and could already sing along (see above re: catchy). That led me to discover “The Wire”, which is ridiculously sing-a-longable:
Weeks later, I’ve been down the rabbit hole that is YouTube and emerged with an intense love of their sound and their vibe. I’ve watched their videos over and over; stumbled across numerous live performances; and watched them interviewed on various TV shows, radio programs and at various festivals over the summer. Like seriously, I’ve gotten kind of carried away.
On one level, I’m obsessed with them because they are totally cool. They are clearly good friends as well as being sisters. I really believe them when they say there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing than hanging out and making music together. On top of all that, they really come across as refreshingly un-jaded and fun.
The eldest, Este (bass, vocals, percussion) is bawdy and outspoken; the most talkative on stage and extremely expressive as she plays. Her “bass face” is referred to often in articles and interviews. The youngest, Alana (keyboards, guitar, percussion, vocals) is hyper, chatty and funny. She dances, shimmies and head-bangs while on stage, and she has a deep love of Percy Pigs – the greatest UK gummy treat – which automatically makes her awesome.
The most fascinating to me, though, is the middle sister, Danielle. She completely shreds on lead guitar; she is the lead vocalist on the majority of their songs; and she plays all the drums on their recorded tracks. But she has the least onstage banter and is always the quietest in interviews. While performing, she is intense and magnetic, but she comes across as super introverted everywhere else, which I find strangely completely cool. All three seem like they’d be great fun to hang out with.
On another level, I’m obsessed with them because I totally dig their music and their talent. This is rather weird for me since I am not usually a music obsessive. I enjoy music, of course. I love to dance and to sing at the top of my lungs in a car or at karaoke, but my tastes tend towards cheesy pop. I don’t have the musical knowledge to really, truly appreciate the intricacies and rhythms of good music. I generally just care if it’s fun to sing along with and dance to. And I don’t get worked up about seeing a group or artist perform live. I’m happy to hear my favorite song on the radio/watch a performance on TV – no reason to pay lots of money for a concert.
But that’s totally NOT how I feel about Haim. Even I can recognize that these girls have mad skills vocally and instrumentally (not to mention the fact that they write their own songs). And while I love their recorded sound and am happy listening to their album over and over again, their live shows are a totally different beast. Their performances have amazing energy; their sound is more rock-ish than pop-ish in person (or at least this is what I gather from watching the YouTube videos); and they seem to have a total blast on stage. Basically, I’d LOVE to see them live. I just need to introduce my friends to them so they can get equally excited and accompany me to one of their shows.
So with that in mind, I leave you with my favorite of their songs and one of their earliest singles – “Forever”. I find myself singing this as I walk down the street, and (ultimate compliment) I would totally sing this at karaoke if I ever find a place that has it as an available track. Enjoy. And then download their album. It’s awesome.