The much-anticipated third record, Women in Music Pt III, from pop-rock sister trio Haim takes a deep dive into the sister’s own troubled psyches and expansive as it answers the frustratingly over answered question of “How does it feel to be a woman in music?” while maintaining a chill, confident vibe.
Meshing their conventional sound on the track “The Steps” and the glam rock sensibilities of “Up from a Dream,” with the experimental touches of glitchy electronics on track “I Know Alone” and the bright, ska-tinged opener “Los Angeles,” the multi-instrumentalist group, the album references frustrations, isolation, and depression. Where singer and guitarist Danielle vent her frustration on “The Steps” with a relentless clamber on the drum kit, she is resigned and relatable on “I Know Alone.” Where she details the all-too-familiar feeling of being stuck in an emotional slump on, “Now I’m In It”– a jittery offering that pushes with all its might at the clinging discomfort supplied by one’s own mind – she kicks off with a fighting mood on acoustic-led “I’ve Been Down,” a punk-tinged track with poignant lyrics– “taped up the windows of the house / But I ain’t dead yet”– gentle soundscapes and soft backing vocals.
For an album drawn the darkest crevices of their own experiences, WIMPIII is surprisingly comforting with its presence. The country-tinged track “Hallelujah,” for example, dedicates itself as a tribute to the strength the sisters offer each other in times of need; whether Danielle’s struggles with depression, Alana’s grief over the loss for of best friend, or Este dealing with her Type 1 Diabetes. In a similar vein of providing comfort, “Summer Girl” witnesses Danielle position herself as a beacon of hope and light – singing to “I see it in your face / I’m relief / I’m your summer girl”– to her boyfriend and the band’s frequent producer Ariel Rechtshaid while he was being treated for testicular cancer.
The record’s strongest point isn’t the deep, dark lyricism, but its ability to balance the heaviness that comes with life or death topics on tracks like “I Know Alone” with light-hearted odes to late-night texts and voicemails from potential suitors on R&B-leaning “3 AM.”Haim’s cheeky humor and spunky bite are out at full force on “Man From The Magazine,” which speaks of the intriguing impossibility of being a “female” rock star; the folksy offering with deadpan lyrics is accurate, hilarious and a perfect representation of the album itself. As the record title itself is meant to be a humorous jab at anyone still treating women in music like a novelty or rarity in 2020.
As vulnerable as it is fearless, and as soothing as it is humorous, Women in Music Pt. III is Haim’s best yet, delivering what was expected and much beyond.