Pop is not dead: HAIM Days Are Gone album review
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 15:10
Album: Days Are Gone
Label: Columbia Records
Release: Sept. 30, 2013
HAIM has smashed onto the music scene with quite some force.
The three sisters have come a long way from the perfect-for-a-film-soundtrack, sweet, tween-pop sound of the Valli Girls. But they’ve ditched the denim miniskirts and fishermen hats for leather jackets and a pile load of edge.
Fans waited 18 months to hear a first album, and Days Are Gone has hit all the right notes – literally and metaphorically.
While listening to Days Are Gone, you may think you’ve taken a ride back to the '80s with Marty and Doc in the DeLorean DMC-12. There are one-string, disco-sounding guitar strums, mechanized percussions and ballads adorned with gleaming synths.
HAIM isn’t the only band bringing ’80s influence into the 21st century. Undercurrents of the decade can be heard across the pop board. Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” or Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” both emulate classic ’80s sounds.
HAIM has made the sound transcendent. Days Are Gone doesn’t sound ’80s inspired; it sounds as if it is the ’80s.
The third track, “The Wire,” is a significant change of pace from the rest of the album – it gives the listener a taste of The Eagles. But it doesn’t distract at all. It’s refreshing and it shows off the girls’ versatility like no other track. While Danielle takes a back seat in the song, Este and Alana get the chance to show they are far from backing-vocal wallflowers.
The best thing about this album is the song writing.
“Let Me Go” is the belter on Days Are Gone. The strong, punchy break-up song screams independence rather than heartbreak or sorrow. It’s deeper than the rest and the beats are harder, but this track knows its place on the album and doesn’t forget it. The track keeps an undercurrent of dance pop and the album flows in its diversity.
“My Song 5” is the album’s experiment. It’s bold in its entirety, and it works.
The song’s hip-hop undercurrents remind the listener this album hasn’t been dusted off from the ’80s, but is indeed modern, new and exciting. The track is also backed with dub-step effects and the occasional sounds of what appears to be an elephant’s trumpet. It’s daring and poses a great risk of jarring the album, but it doesn’t. “My Song 5” keeps close enough ties to its previous tracks to prevent this from happening.
The songs are refreshingly compact. None of the tracks are longer than 4 minutes, 17 seconds, which is pretty tight alongside the likes of Justin Timberlake’s seven minutes-and-counting recent releases. HAIM let nothing slip. Everything is accounted for and all musical elements are linked together one way or another.
This is a great pop album that embraces and reverberates all the goodness of pop. It cuts out the mistakes and it banishes the preconception of pop as ‘cheesy.’ HAIM has pulled off a stunning first album, showcasing its talent for rhythm, composition and stunning vocals. A lot of people have been raving about HAIM and it’s no wonder – if this first album is anything to go by, these girls are going to be big players in the music game.