For those of you who are unfortunately in the dark, let me bring you into the light. There is a musical band that exists named Haim, and they are the best group in the world today. The trio is made up of three sisters from California, Este, Danielle, and Alana, and these chicks kick some serious ass. Their debut album, Days Are Gone, is about two weeks away from release, and yet, somehow, they have already solidified themselves as an important, relevant, and exciting musical act. They’ve not only won the honorable title of BBC’s Sound of 2013, but they’ve supported everyone from Florence + The Machine to Mumford & Sons, and have landed solo slots at pretty much every major festival, including Glastonbury. To cut right to the point, if you don’t know Haim, I am here to help. I’m not sure anyone would actually need to have outlined points (JUST LISTEN) to appreciate this amazing band, but just in case you would like a little more convincing, here are 10 reasons why Haim is actually the best band in the world today (in no particular order.)
01. “Forever” Is One Of The Best Pop Songs Of The Last Decade (Plus)
The title track from Haim’s debut EP, as well as their first single, “Forever” will seriously blow your mind. Released just last year, this track is so much more than your typical pop song; it’s an opus. Somehow, someway, these three girls managed to pull inspiration from 60s folk, 70s classic rock, 80s pop, and 90s R&B and come up with a formula that works… and it doesn’t just works, it revolutionizes. Now when I say “pop song,” I want to make sure you’re not running away from it as if it were Britney Spears or Justin Bieber. I mean “pop song” in the same way the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac or Prince made pop songs. “Forever” is an alternative slice of heaven, and it’d be criminal not to indulge in it! This is the song that launched them into the position they are today, so it is absolutely where you need to start! LISTEN.
02. Este’s Bass-Face
Not only is Este Haim an INCREDIBLE bassist, but her soon-to-be-if-not-already-iconic “bass-face” makes her a real treat to watch play. What may feel a little uncomfortable at times actually ends up being an awesome trademark that is backed up entirely by talent. She puts her all into her instrument, and we get to reap the benefits! Este doesn’t just hold down the bass, her parts are crucial and significant, and that’s not always an easy accomplishment to pull off. Often times it’s just about little nuances, but they make a world of difference in the songs.
And this video of “Forever” really sums her up:
03. Danielle Can Shred Like A Pro…
Danielle Haim acts as the de facto leader of the band, positioned center in their concerts and handling a majority of the lead vocals, despite being rather quiet compared to her outspoken and boisterous sisters. Her skills as a guitarist, though, are absolutely out of this world. Just to put things in perspective, she toured with The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas on his solo tour. She lacks pretty much any/all pretension in her delivery, and never goes overboard to show off or out-do the song; it’s always appropriate and impacting. When she gets wailing, though, just watch out. Check out this great performance of “The Wire,” which brilliantly showcases just what her little touches of enormous perfection can bring to the table.
04. …And Her Voice is INCREDIBLE
So not only is she a guitar virtuoso, but Danielle is an outstanding vocalist to boot. Now, she’s no Whitney Houston, but that’s not her schtick; she’s got a true rock and roll voice that calls upon everyone from Michael Jackson to Chrissie Hynde to Kate Bush. Between little MJ-esque hiccups, fragile upper register pants, and powerful deep alto belts, there is so much richness and depth to Danielle’s pipes that it’s no wonder why she really handles most of the lead vocal duties. This video of a live radio session recording of “Don’t Save Me” is just going to blow you away.
05. Alana Is The Ultimate Renaissance (Wo)man
While Este is the clear bassist and Danielle handles lead guitar and vocals, Alana “Baby” Haim’s role is a little less defined. In one song you’ll see her rocking the rhythm guitar part, in another she’s on the keys, and in another she’ll be holding down the fort on vocal duties. In most songs, you’ll see her on multiple instruments over the course of the piece. When it comes down to it, she is an enormous asset to the band, almost like that missing puzzle piece that makes the whole that much greater than the sum of its parts. Just look at how she fits in on “Better Off.”
06. THEY. ALL. PLAY. DRUMS.
That’s right… all three of them play drums… and well. In addition to all of their incredible musicianship, they can wack the skins like no one else, and more often than not, they all go for it at the same time. It’s really a sight to be seen. It’s no wonder they usually end their shows with “Let Me Go,” which climaxes in a multi-Haim drum extravaganza that is not to be missed. I recommend this entire video, but specifically from 4:07 onwards.
07. They Can Jam Like Pros
Basically, their bounds are limitless when it comes to their musical ability. When it all comes together, it’s completely mind-blowing. It’s not so much that they play their instruments well, it’s that they’re smart with them. The three of them (and their drummer Dash Hutton) can create a sound so big, you’d think there’s 10 of them on stage! What has become a climactic live-staple, their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” is their ultimate jam session. Here’s just one example:
08. They Are Real Artists Playing Real Music
It’s about time a group like Haim came along. There is absolutely no excess or arrogance in the music they make; they just go out there and make it. While this is something that feels like common sense, it’s a shame that a group that just picks up their instruments and plays their faces off needs to be acknowledged as an anomaly. At least a diamond in the rough exists. Their songs feel authentic and unprocessed; they’re the “Whole Foods” of music, if you will. On top of that, though, they just shut up and play! The girls don’t act like they’re the greatest musicians or pop stars on the planet, even through all of the attention and praise they’re getting, and even though they’re far superior musicians to most out there. The music comes first, and that’s what makes them so wildly endearing. Check out this live recording of “Honey And I.”
09. They Know How To Write The Perfect Song
So yes, they’re entertaining and they are brilliant musicians, but let’s not forget that they are amazing songwriters, too. Their style, as exemplified above, is rooted in a number of places, but what comes out actually feels original. However, it also feels comfortable. They have a knack for playing what we want to hear, but before we know we want to hear it! So far, their singles have been juggernauts in a sea of yawn-inducing pop numbers. They’re certainly an alternative band, but what they bring to the table is so incredibly easy to get into. Take “Falling,” for example.
10. They Take Themselves Seriously Enough To Not Take Themselves Seriously At All
At the end of the day, these three sisters are just that… sisters! They just so happen to be sisters that know how to make stunning music together. As with any family, you can imagine what it must be like to be involved in a creative process with your siblings, but these girls genuinely look like they’re having fun and taking it all in! They clearly care so much about the music they’re making that they’ve become completely ok with throwing caution to the wind and enjoying their craft. It’s rare to see a group this good feel so comfortable finding the fun in what they do come before the ego and pretension. It honestly makes their output that much better. Take a look at this interview for more insight. Alana sums it up best, “I think we’re weird… but I’m down! I’m always down to get weird.”