T here’s something about seeing a band live that can’t be recreated. When I saw HAIM in May of 2014, it was my first show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, and second concert period. When I first walked out onto the floor, the intimacy of the place was a completely counter to my expectations. It was the kind of environment made for a band like HAIM: rugs lined the walls, and there was that pre-show hum I grew to love. The HAIM that played for those next couple hours was so much better than the HAIM I heard on the record. Don’t get me wrong, I loved their debut, Days Are Gone, but seeing them live puts you in a different world. While it’s a great, unique record, it isn’t known for its intimate, soul-searching lyrics; but with the emotion of the room, those distant lyrics took on a new meaning. In an interview with Rolling Stone, lead singer and middle sister Danielle Haim said, “If I’m feeling some type of way and we start to write, I don’t fully understand my feelings until the song’s done and out in the world.” Maybe she found out how she felt about those songs earlier in the tour, but it felt like it happened that night.
If this is a safe space (and I’d like to believe that it is), then I want to say I wasn’t a huge fan of their second record. Something to Tell You had some strong songs, but it felt like they were running it back rather than moving forward. Days Are Gone was a great debut, but Something to Tell You didn’t push the needle forward. Rather than diving into the instrumentation and emotion of their concerts, they opted for poppy, processed beats and simple guitar lines. Even though it has high points, I thought Something to Tell You went in the wrong direction. With their third album, though, HAIM have redirected their focus.