Music Review: Haim – “Days Are Gone”

haim

This post originally appeared on Bed Crumbs.

Haim isn’t exactly new. Their debut album Days Are Gone has been out since late 2013, and before that, they released a single in 2012 that garnered a fair amount of hype. But the trio of sisters are up for Best New Artist at the Grammy’s next Sunday, and rightfully so.

To many, Days Are Gone sounds like a throwback album. The retro influences are strong, from 70s soft rock to 1980s pop radio hits. It’s a blend of lush layers and harmonies, upbeat synthesizers, and hooky guitar riffs. But with lyrics emblematic of 20-something millennials and melodies that are easy to sing and dance along with, Haim effortlessly appeals to their peers.

It is this combination of old and new that makes Days Are Gone a unique and commanding album. Three part harmonies between the sisters often compared to Fleetwood Mac or the Eagles flow into electronic dubstep driven songs like “My Song 5,” reminding you that this is a 21st century album. It’s a noteworthy blend of sound: not so overly influenced that it’s hackneyed, not so overly trendy that it’s redundant.

The overarching tone of Days Are Gone is decidedly breezy, cool, and confident beyond Haim’s years. It’s easy to forget that Este, Danielle, and Alana are just 29, 26, and 24 years old, respectively. Easier still is it to not know that this album was long in the making — the majority of these songs were written when they were even younger.

This is how they seamlessly gain both their peers and their elders as fans. Not only does the music ring both familiar and contemporary, but their lyrics do, as well. Themes like independence and personal identity are of-the-moment and relatable for young listeners while nostalgic for older ones.

Young love and relationships are the focus of many of their lyrics, but each song exudes the confidence that relationships aren’t everything. This cool-girl vibe does not go unnoticed; the nods to independence are empowering to women young and old.

“Don’t Save Me” and “If I Could Change Your Mind,” and “Forever” speak of young relationships that fizzle out as the couple grows up and apart. “The Wire,” the single that became a summer radio hit last year, is a benevolent break up song set to classic rock guitar riffs.

Days are Gone’s biggest strength is its universal relevance. It’s an album you can play with your parents, the chosen music for a house party. It’s an album to listen to solo, reflecting on the details, and an album to blast in your car as you sing along.

Este Haim recently tweeted confirmation that the group is back in the studio working on their highly anticipated sophomore album. With such a solid, cohesive debut, it will be interesting to see what they do next.

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