“What’s it like being a woman in music?” A question Haim have been asked one too many times. Growing up in the industry has left the sisters with more than enough fuel to fire up an album titled ‘Women In Music Part III’, and the result is a bolder Haim record this time around.
Although the album rarely tackles the titular subject, it is the trio’s most daring venture, stripping away most of the glossy sheen covering their second record. Where Haim spent ‘Something To Tell You’ polishing up their bouncy 80s sound, they throw caution to the wind on ‘Women In Music Part III’, creating their most eclectic record yet.
The album’s first few offerings came as near-surprise drops, each one exploring a different side of Haim they hadn’t before. ‘Summer Girl’ is bright and airy, its ‘doot doot’ chorus and sax-y solos disguising its less joyous beginnings as a song to uplift Danielle’s partner after his cancer diagnosis. The next two singles tackled depression and grief, Danielle facing post-tour depression on ‘Now I’m In It’ – a song with all the trademarks of a ‘Haim’ song, but a place they’d never been lyrically before – and Alana grieving the loss of her best friend on ‘Hallelujah’, the band’s first proper acoustic ballad that’d do Stevie Nicks proud.
They get deep about their experiences in the music industry on ‘Man From The Magazine’, telling the blokes point blank they don’t know how it feels, made all the more intense by its stripped-back styling, while they go full rock star mode on ‘All That Ever Mattered’.
Elsewhere on the record there’s the playful ‘3am’, a funky 90s R&B track complete with record scratches and voicemails, psychedelic, reverb-heavy ‘Up From A Dream’, the Shania-tastic ‘Don’t Wanna’ (because what’s an album these days without a yeehaw moment?), there’s even some ska on ‘Another Try’.
On ‘Women In Music Part III’, Haim are unrestricted, diving into all of the genres they’d flirted with on past albums head first. Their confidence shines through as they pull more personality into their music, fully bringing that ‘fuck it’ energy from their live shows into the studio. It’s maybe missing a proper banger or two, but that’s not necessarily what this album calls for. If one thing’s for sure though, and it’s that Haim aren’t to be messed with.