It’s officially not summer anymore (AKA fall), which means I am immediately panicking and clutching my summer playlists and albums to my neck. What better way to pay tribute to a mostly wretched summer 2020 than by ranking the tracks on HAIM’s latest album, Women in Music Pt. III?
A record sonically dripping in summer, WIMPIII has the range to explore the underbelly of life, like Danielle’s boyfriend’s cancer diagnosis, Este’s Type I diabetes and the untimely death of Alana’s close friend. The sisters deliver their classic pop-rock sound on WIMPII, but there are plenty of other genres sprinkled in, making it a chameleon project unafraid to excavate each sister’s personal trauma in the name of crafting good music.
Without further ado, here is my definitive track-by-track ranking of this album.
16. THE STEPS || Proof that Obama doesn’t have taste; he picked ‘The Steps’ for his 2020 summer playlist, and this unfortunately is my least favorite track on the album.
15. I’VE BEEN DOWN || “I think that we need to come together” is a nice rallying cry, albeit soft-sang. If you think this is sad songwriting dressed up in casual summer pop-rock tunes, you’re absolutely right.
14. MAN FROM THE MAGAZINE || I didn’t realize that Danielle is saying “You don’t know how it feels… to be the cunt” until I watched their live performance (afterwards, on YouTube) at L.A.’s Canter Deli from June.
13. DON’T WANNA || A foil song to ‘FUBT,’ ‘Don’t Wanna’ is about a fraught relationship that HAIM doesn’t want to give up on.
12. UP FROM A DREAM || The verses in this song are fueled by a very engaging bassline and about a minute-and-a-half in, the track really escalates wonderfully. It’s groggy (muted vocals) yet whimsical (seagull noises in the background) and erratic (warped guitar noises), just like every weird-yet-engaging dream.
11. FUBT || It’s fucked up, but it’s true. This album shows how HAIM can evoke cliches without actually being cliche; the track feels completely authentic, an ode to shitty love that might even be lose-lose but one that you stick with no matter what. Unconditionally, even (no Katy Perry).
10. LOS ANGELES || Tasteful saxophone in pop music… few can do it! ‘Los Angeles’ is a perfect intro to the album. “New York is cold… I tried the winter there once… nope!” From this track, we learn that HAIM would certainly never make it in Chicago if they couldn’t handle New York’s winter.
9. ANOTHER TRY || The closest we will get to funk on this album, I find myself absolutely chilling beachside when listening to this song. In this daydream, I am also drinking a cold beverage; brilliant! ‘Another Try’ is also my mantra when I’m being ghosted.
8. GASOLINE || This slow-roller is cute. My favorite part is at the start of verse two, where they sing, “I get SAD! You know I get saaaaa-AAAAD! And I can’t look past what I’m, sad about.” I mean, fuck, well, yeah.
7. I KNOW ALONE || The drum thumps that pull us into the chorus are hard not to nod your head to, and this song encapsulates a late summer stagnation we’re all too familiar with now in quarantine.
6. LEANING ON YOU || This song does make me teary-eyed a bit (no Katy Perry!) and the sisters’ voices blend so well. “It takes all that I got, not to fuck this up,” they sing softly. “So won’t you let me know, if I’m not alone.” It’s quite vulnerable and I think we would all let out a deep sigh of relief if we could admit to our loved ones when we are feeling (healthily) needy.
5. NOW I’M IN IT (BONUS TRACK) || On my first pass at this album, this was my immediate favorite. This is the poppiest poppity pop song on the record, and it was used in a promo for season two of the beloved show PEN15, which immediately filled me with joy when I saw it. It’s the kind of song I will blast in the car and pretend I am a teen protagonist in an early 2000’s movie who just got dumped by my shitty boyfriend but then my girls are with me and we’re like ‘fuck him’ and then we have a dance montage as the movie ends and the credits fade in. God, what a moment THAT would be!
4. ALL THAT EVER MATTERED || HAIM screaming on a track is instant gold. On the chorus, no less? Platinum. Diamond! This is HAIM’s way of picking up a man by the scruff of his henley long-sleeved shirt and throttling him, yelling “I LOVE YOU, BITCH!” And you will find me screaming right along!
3. SUMMER GIRL (BONUS TRACK) || Really not a favorite at first, this song slowly rose over my 100+ album listens to where it is now. It feels special, and after finding out it was written about Danielle’s boyfriend’s cancer diagnosis, it becomes much heavier and much more impactful. It poses as a charming song about a summer fling while it tells a story of supporting a loved one through cancer. That just about makes me choke up.
2. HALLELUJAH (BONUS TRACK) || Okay now I’m REALLY crying. HAIM was not fucking around with these bonus tracks; that’s for damn certain. The harmonies in this are peak HAIM-as-Dixie-Chicks. When I listen to ‘Hallelujah’ I am immediately transported into some meadow up in the mountains by the ocean in California and I am letting the tears flow about something devastating in my life… I think Miley tried to achieve that teleportational power on ‘Malibu’ and she did not succeed, unfortunately!
1. 3 AM || I am so proud that I share an album favorite with Vulture’s Hunter Harris. 3 AM is the mother I never had, the sister everybody would want, the friend that everybody deserves… I don’t think there will be a time in my life where this song comes on and I pause or skip it. This is my forever song. “You and I don’t have to meet… but it’s fun to think we could.” Oh my god!!!! But also stop calling me at 3 AM!!!! AHHH this song is perfect! Bye.