Camille Orquera/Staff Writer
The Haim sisters —Este, Danielle, and Alana— sing of depression, pain, and sisterhood in their no-holds-barred third studio album.
“Women in Music Pt. III” was produced by Danielle Haim, her partner Ariel Rechtshaid, and frequent Vampire Weekend collaborator Rostam Batmanglij.
The album was released on Jun. 26 after its original release date on Apr. 24 was delayed due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. When protests against police brutality and the murder of George Floyd broke out across the United States earlier this month, the sisters decided to delay the album once again out of respect and solidarity with the movement.
Nearly three years since their 2017 album “Something to Tell You”, WIMPIII shows the sisters at their most vulnerable as their struggles in and outside of the music industry are put on display over the album’s 16 tracks.
Since their debut in 2012, the sisters’ sound has evolved with contemporary sounds while maintaining their folk-rock roots. Disregarding genre and the need to prove themselves, the album is the band’s strongest and most earnest work.
Opening with “Los Angeles”, Danielle sings of the complicated love/hate relationship she has with her hometown and her inability to leave it completely behind.
Songs like “I Know Alone” and “Now I’m In It” maintain a lighthearted sound and ease when addressing the low moments one faces when experiencing depression.
In interviews for the album, each sister has detailed the trauma and pain they have faced over the years and how therapy and their relationship with one another has helped them get by.
One of the album’s singles, “Hallelujah”, has all three sisters directly singing of their struggles and how having each other has helped each other get by. Este talks of her difficulties with Type 1 Diabetes; Alana sings about the loss of her best friend in 2012; Danielle sings of how lucky she is to have been blessed with her two sisters that help her out of her dark times.
Apart from the pain in their personal lives, the band addresses some of the hardships of being women in the music industry and the ways in which they have been treated by men. “Man from the Magazine” tackles this issue directly by referencing some of their experiences.
Reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, “Man from the Magazine” is the band’s rebellion against the sexism and harassment they face as artists. The song’s final line has Danielle singing , “You don’t know how it feels to be the c**t.” Danielle takes ownership of the insult and knows how it feels to be vilified for being an independent woman in a business that has often tried to break them down.
The album’s lead single and ending track, “Summer Girl”, is a bittersweet song dedicated to Danielle’s partner and the band’s producer Ariel Rechtshaid. Rechtshaid was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017 and “Summer Girl” talks of Danielle’s time by Rechtshaid’s side during the difficult days of his diagnosis and how she helped him get by. The song pairs the “doo-doo-doo-doo” from Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and a melodic saxophone as she sings of being his guiding light during his experience.
Artists often fear that getting too personal will not allow fans to connect with the subject matter. But Haim’s vulnerability and honesty certainly strikes a chord with anyone facing their own issues and hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Women in Music Pt. III” is the band’s best album and is quite frankly the perfect soundtrack to a summer most people will never forget.