HAIM have made the press this week for firing their agent, action taken after finding out they were paid ten times less than a male artist who played at the same festival.
The sisters’ response highlights their commitment to the self-assurance they preach. Over two successful albums the band have sustained their own niche sound and succinct look, forging a space in the industry that’s entirely their own. They don’t bend to chart trends or compromise their values, and will no doubt continue to deliver with what will hopefully be a better human being for an agent.
Here’s a roundup of seven tracks to get you through the sweaty summer commute (perhaps on the way to see them at Ally Pally this weekend if you’re lucky). And when you get there, consider asking your colleagues how much they get paid…
“Want You Back”
From its opening chords, Haim’s “Want You Back” has a nostalgic feel that makes us miss exes we’ve never even had. It has a beat for walking (read: strutting like an icon), which is typical of Haim’s music and exactly the concept of the video. In what appears to have been captured in just one shot, the sisters stroll down a deserted street in Sherman Oaks, California. In spite of its setting, the minimalist video is the antithesis of Hollywood try-hard. It’s real and unmanufactured and all the good things the band represent.
“That Don’t Impress Me Much” Cover
Nothing says stop, take a photo and filter it millennial pink more than hearing the opening chords of a Shania Twain song in the messier hours of a girls’ pre-drinks. You might have thought sing-a-longs didn’t get much better than that, but last summer Haim covered Shania’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” in a live session for Australian radio station Triple J.
Their version feels a bit more modern but manages to retain the song’s country elements. In the session Alana claims it’s hard to cover Shania – “she’s a Queen” – but they do a better job than any of our attempts in the shower. After its release Shania tweeted the band “this DOES impress me much”, which is quite a feat considering she’s not even impressed by Brad Pitt…
“Little Of Your Love”
Haim referenced ‘50s rock, a doo-wop rhythm and blues as the sound inspiration behind the song. If pop-rock isn’t a bit of you, it’s been reworked with Garage, House and EDM influences by the likes of Wookie, Jam City and BloodPop.
And if you thought line-dancing was categorically not fun, you might change your mind after watching their video. There’s a lot of the kind of unapologetically bad dancing we might do to embarrass our friends in clubs. It’s a nostalgic school disco-esque scene; picture Grease but without all the hair and everyone’s dressed in Urban Outfitters.
“Walking Away” (Mura Masa Remix)
2017 was a big year for Alex Crossan, better known as Mura Masa, who released his self-titled debut album in July. As the year came to a close he put out an electronica rework of Haim’s “Walking Away”, which garnered a huge amount of praise online.
Originally released on their 2017 Something To Tell You album, “Walking Away” has R&B influences, but with Haim’s usual emphasis on the bass (love u Este). Like the sound of his album, Mura Masa’s remix is light, interesting and dance-ready. It’s bright and versatile, so if the weather sorts itself out we’re bringing it back as a soundtrack for summer.
The first single on their 2013 debut album Days Are Gone, “Falling” is Haim’s ode to getting your hands dirty and not giving up. It’s an energetic anthem of self-assurance, the best girl-band pep talk we’ve heard since Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor”. They wrote it back when they weren’t getting many gigs and things worked out pretty well, so it should contain some pearls of wisdom.
The video for “Falling” epitomises the band’s Californian roots featuring lots of palm trees, beach hair, Daisy Dukes, a fedora. It also features some great sunglasses, which the sisters seem to have an endless rotation of.
“Night So Long”
“Night So Long” appears at the end of Haim’s Something To Tell You album and is one of their lesser-known songs. It’s shorter and a lot slower than their usual, but it’s true to their distinctive sound.
The track captures the reluctant, monotonous acceptance of putting to bed yet another failed romance, which in the age of Tinder and shameless ghosting is often all too real. With lyrics like “loneliness my only friend”, it’s suitably over-dramatic for those hangovers when the only thing to do is sit in your dressing gown, with snacks, listening to a few sad songs.
“My Song 5”
“My Song 5” is the sixth and final single from Days Are Gone. The track’s heavy, lurching beat compliments its accusatory demand: “I’ve been lied to, so what’s the truth?” It sounds angry in a way that’s palpable, an indignant response to being done wrong.
A re-recorded version of the song, featuring A$AP Ferg, was released the following year. Its video has cameos from Kesha, Grimes, Big Sean, Vanessa Bayer and Haim’s parents, which is both brilliant and bizarre.