Haim Traverse the Relationship Spectrum on Sophomore Album ‘Something to Tell You’
When Danielle, Este and Alana Haim’s 2013 debut “Days Are Gone” found its way to the forefront of everyone’s personal rotation, it was the architecture behind each carefully crafted slice of pop paradise that made the group stand out. Now, the ladies are almost four years older and four years wiser — they’ve opened for Taylor Swift and spent time with Stevie Nicks at her home. Boy do they still know how to build a pop song, but on Haim’s sophomore effort “Something To Tell You,” the ladies approach their music with a new kind of maturity, traversing the relationship spectrum from lust to heartbreak and back again.
When the Haim sisters spent the day with Stevie Nicks at her mansion, no one would have guessed the Fleetwood Mac singer would make such a resounding impression on Haim’s songwriting. In hindsight it seems so obvious. Nicks is the queen of emotionally charged heartbreak anthems, and “Something To Tell You” has enough of those to score your next five breakups. Whether it’s the desperate clamoring for a second chance on “Want You Back” or the anguish that courses through “You Never Knew,” the album delves into that rocky patch in relationships at which few arrive voluntarily. Haim captures the panic of watching a once healthy relationship disintegrate into disinterest on the full-bodied “Nothing’s Wrong,” with an outraged chorus asking a lover “How could you tell me nothing’s wrong? / … It was good, but now it’s gone.” Haim haven’t really been that impressive on a lyrical front — instead winning fans over with their hook-heavy productions — but this track yanks at the heart strings of anyone who has watched the passion fizzle out of their relationship, one day turning to find a lover dispassionately facing the wall with nothing left to say.
Musically, “Something To Tell You” retains all the qualities that made “Days Are Gone” so endearing: the shimmery production elements, the hypnotic rhythms that drive one to start clapping along. But the new album also feels like the sisters found a time machine and took it to the late 1970s and early 1980s, spawning tunes like the aforementioned “Nothing’s Wrong” that wouldn’t feel so out of place there, with a chorus so emboldened by its outrage it’s hard to resist shouting along. “Right Now” takes the subtlety of soft rock and layers it on top of a soundscape that transforms, reaching a sonic plateau before dipping back down into a valley.
One of the group’s more refreshing cuts is the surprisingly cinematic sounds of “Found It In Silence,” a big production with an edge of immediacy thanks to the strings that drive the groove along. Conversely, the minimalistic “Walking Away” stands out thanks to how modern it feels. It’s easy to imagine current pop heavyweights like Ariana Grande showing up at a Haim concert to belt this one out with the sisters. Now, wouldn’t that be something?
It’s always a delight to hear how an artist has matured from release to release, and Haim is no exception. “Something To Tell You” still packs those larger-than-life hooks that compel audiences to stomp and yell until they can’t, but this album does a better job expressing itself through old sounds made new again. Like its predecessor, “Something To Tell You” is an 11-track pop masterclass with every piece in its proper place. The architects of pop did it again, and they intend to keep doing it, improving on the blueprint as they go.
“Something To Tell You” is available July 7 on Apple Music.