I have been really into Haim since I listened to their first EP, Forever, way back in 2012. Back then they were relatively unknown as a group, having only been making music seriously as a band for the preceding year or so. Haim is made up of 3 sisters: Este, the oldest sister who plays bass and provides backing vocals; Danielle, the middle sister who plays lead guitar and sings the lead vocals (for the most part); and Alana, the baby sister who does a little bit of everything, assisting the band by playing rhythm guitar, keyboard, or a drum machine, while also providing backing vocals. Each of the Haim had been making music their whole lives; they all participated in thier family’s classic rock cover band growing up. After Este and Danielle were apart of a group called the Valli Girls in the mid-2000s, Danielle became a touring guitarist for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, as well as Julian Casablancas’ backing band and Cee Lo Green’s backing band. This gave the sisters a foot in the door of the music industry and led to them creating their debut EP. It almost seems like these sisters were made to do this; their ability to make catchy pop rock songs that are extremely infectious and relatable is undeniable. They seem to draw from so many influences, drawing inspiration from Shania Twain to Fleetwood Mac to the Spice Girls. Everyone can find something they like in Haim’s discography. From their palpable chemistry as a group to their classic but also modern sound, Haim is the perfect pop-rock band for the 20th century.
The three Haim sisters were born the San Fernando Valley outside of LA, to Jewish immigrant parents. Although they lived in the valley, their upbringing was very modest. Both of the sisters’ parents loved to perform music; Their father, Moti, is very adept at the drums, and their mother Donna, won a singing competition on The Gong Show in the 70s. Growing up, the Haim sisters performed in their family band, which was called Rockinhaim. They would play local weddings and church events as a classic rock cover band. In 2005, Este and Danielle joined the Valli Girls, who actually had a song end up on the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants soundtrack. The direction of music the Valli girls made wasn’t what Danielle and Este wanted to do, though, so they decided to form their own band with their sister, Alana. They didn’t take the band totally seriously and it sort of dissipated, as Este was in college and the girls were also working on other projects. When she graduated high school, Danielle became a touring guitarist for Jenny Lewis, which gave her the opportunity to meet bigger and better artists. For the next couple of years, Danielle toured the world performing with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Julian Casablancas(from The Strokes), and Cee Lo Green. Ultimately, in 2012, Danielle decided she wanted to permanently pursue making music with her sisters, and Haim was officially reborn.
In 2012, Haim got signed to Polydor Records with management coming from Roc Nation, and released their debut EP Forever to critical acclaim. This project contains three tracks: ‘Don’t Save Me, ‘ ‘Falling, ‘ and ‘Forever.’ To this date, these are three of my favorite Haim songs. ‘Don’t Save Me’ is an incredibly catchy piece of folk-rock; I remember seeing an interview with Mumford and Sons where they talk about how this is the perfect pop-rock song, and I may have to agree. On this track, Danielle talks about wanting to rekindle a relationship, though she is wary that the guy may not give it all he has. On the chorus, she sings “Take me back, give it up to me. I can’t go on if you’re love isn’t strong.” ‘Falling’ and ‘Forever’ both have major 80s new wave vibes, with the electric guitar synths sounding like a mixture of something from a Depeche Mode song and something from a synth-rock band by Neon Trees or Phoenix. ‘Forever’ has a more somber tone than almost Haim songs. Take the chorus, for instance: “Forever I try to make this right. Together we suck the end’s insight. I’m tired of fighting the good fight. If you say the word, then I’ll say goodbye.”
Near the end of 2013, Haim released their debut album, Days Are Gone. As most of their music has, it received critical acclaim and is easily one of my favorite records from 2013. Days Are Gone included the songs from their debut EP, so I was already going to love it. These aren’t the only great tracks from the record, though. ‘The Wire’ was released as a single and is easily one of Haim’s biggest songs to date. Danielle really showcases her ability to shred on the guitar with this track, and the folky country-rock riff is one that will easily get stuck in anyone’s head. The other song I really dig from this record is the A$AP Ferg assisted ‘My Song 5.’ This cut is a lot more in your face and full of attitude that most of Haim’s music; over a slow beat and r&b style melody, Danielle shreds on the guitar and sings about being sick of a guy messing with her emotions and cheating on her. A$AP Ferg delivers a tough verse with the same sentiment, at one point saying: “Honey Pie, don’t front like you goody two shoes. You ain’t got no money, how’d you get those shoes?”
After extensive touring for a couple of years and taking a well-deserved break, Haim started making their second studio album. Something To Tell You was released on July 7, 2017, and received very positive reviews. It was also in my top 15 albums for 2017. This album is an extension of the classic but modern style of country folk rock that Haim was already making, with the songwriting and melodies even crisper that Days Are Gone. The first song on this album, ‘Want You Back,’ is a little more pop than rock, with the song reminding me of Cyndi Lauper. It is an interesting departure from their typical sound and shows the diversity of this group. ‘Little of Your Love’ has that classic country-rock vibe that Haim is known for; i can hear major influences from ZZ Top, Dave Matthews Band, and Sheryl Crow. My favorite song from this record is ‘Ready For You.’ This one has a little bit of Fleetwood Mac flavoring mixed with Phil Collins and modern alt rock, and it is truly a unique cut. I definitely recommend this song; well actually, I definitely recommend the whole record.
Haim has stated they have new music that is hopefully coming out this summer, and I am so ready for it. Haim combines all the best elements of classic, country, and folk rock to make a very fresh pop sound. I firmly believe whatever music they put out will be dope because they haven’t missed yet! In the meantime, you can check out Danielle Haim’s multiple contributions to the new Vampire Weekend album to hold you over. Brighten your day with some Haim, and click the Spotify link below!