April 1, Something to Tell You by HAIM
Genre: That synthpop they play at H&M
Total tracks: 11
Songs you might know:
– “Want You Back”
– “Little of Your Love”
– “Nothing’s Wrong”
– “Walking Away”
My prior relationship with this album: HAIM is one of those artists that seemed to be around for years without me actually knowing any of their music. I knew they got to go to Taylor Swift’s 4th of July parties. They seemed to be famous enough to get on semi-popular tv and radio shows. There were many a YouTube sidebars of mine where they made appearances. And yet I couldn’t name a song that they did. This maybe changed a year or two ago, but even then I’ve only really listened to their singles here and there, never a full album, though I did listen to their first album “Days Are Gone” last week. Since then HAIM has been on my “respectable, but meh” list. Nothing about their music has ever inspired or compelled me, but they at least seem like competent musicians and songwriters.
My impressions this time around: HAIM has a shctick and they stick to it. It’s that sort of soft rock/synthpop hybrid often played in retail establishments. Think Taylor Swift’s 1989 or Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion, but this strikes me as being slightly more polished and refined than 1989, but lacking Emotion’s fun bubblegum appeal. Either you like that schtick or you don’t, but I feel confident saying that Something To Tell You doesn’t really have any surprises on it. All the songs sounds like the singles. Nothing really stands out as experimental or straying from the status quo. On the bright side, that means that the album is certainly cohesive and I’m not sure any song on here deserves the label “bad.” But on the not-so-bright side, it’s not really an album that’s capable of holding my attention span for 42 minutes.
The biggest problem I have is HAIM’s bad habit of overestimating how long their songs should be. Most of these songs are rather repetitive, and granted, so are everyone’s. However HAIM will milk their choruses for more than they’re worth, and often those choruses are already fairly simplistic. Look at the single, “Little of Your Love.” This song is three and a half minutes long, and once you hit the two minute mark you are literally just listening to “Give me just a little of your love” over and over again for 90 seconds. And while all three sisters can sing, none are the kind of powerhouse vocalists it takes to make this kind of thing work. The production varies slightly, but stays rather simple.
I found myself getting stuck in these sorts of time loops rather often. A good song comes on. I say “okay, I get the point, that’s nice” only to realize I have another minute of listening to the same couple lines before moving on. It’s the kind of thing I never noticed when just listening to a song here and song there, but on a full album it took a toll on my listening experience.
Who would enjoy it? Again, this album is in that sort of 80s’ inspired soft rock/synthpop arena that many people are doing these days, and so you probably already know if it’s your cup of tea or not.