By Ben King
HAIM, comprised of the sister trio Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, have had quite the year. After delaying their third full length for a number of months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the record would eventually release on June 26, 2020, to widespread critical acclaim. The album would go on to be nominated for album of the year at the 2021 Grammy awards, as well as their song, The Steps, being nominated for best rock performance. The band even produced not one, but two collaborations with the biggest star on the planet, Taylor Swift. Women In Music Pt. III, is a triumphant collection of tracks that pulse with a familiarity of warmth and spirit.
After touring wrapped up for their previous record, the band was hit with a multitude of personal issues, which included the death of Alana’s friend, Este’s struggles with type 1 diabetes, and the cancer diagnosis of Danielle’s partner. Thus, Women In Music Pt. III was born. The record was a catharsis for the undertaking each member of the band endured, which resulted in an intimate, thoughtful collection of songs. The album is classified as pop-rock, but jazz, R&B, blues, folk, and funk can be found throughout.
Women In Music Pt. III doesn’t hold back. On songs like Man From The Magazine the sisters detail the sexist questions and misogynistic treatment they deal with from journalists, and on FUBT the lyrics portray an abusive relationship accompanied by the killer riffs of an electric guitar. Honesty and vulnerability are wrapped around the tracks subtly but confidently, which flow beautifully from one track to the next. HAIM is able to lead the listener through the detailed inner workings of a very complex life (or lives). This level of nuance allows for the music to truly shine through, as the lyrics evoke emotions of empathy and understanding.
One of the highlights from the album would have to be the Gasoline remix with Taylor Swift. The track takes you on a blissful 3:18 journey, with backdrops of California sunsets and wayside gas stations flittering in the back of your head. Swift’s added vocals and adlibs pack a much-needed punch to the dreamy track, with the lyrics touching upon Danielle’s depression. “I get sad, you know I get sad/And I can’t look past what I’m sad about.” What makes Women In Music Pt. III so impactful are intimate statements like this, which many can relate to.
The Steps is a fiery, bombastic track that encapsulates the entire tone of the album. The lyrics paint a picture of a couple trying to amend their deteriorating relationship, with one partner completely checked out. With pounding drums, clashing symbols and searing guitars, the song brings your frustration from simmering to boiling over the pot. Grievances and resentments are laid bare, but there’s also steady determination to make the relationship work. These parallels are able to coexist gracefully, which is the common theme throughout the record.
Women In Music Pt. III strikes a delicate balance between voicing your frustration while also not coming across acrimoniously. The record is a mix of animosity, bitterness, dissatisfaction, as well as love, compassion, and tenderness. The eclectic mix of tracks across a wide chasm of genres is what makes this album worth listening to — and worth listening it is.