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 Please explain HAIM to me
Author: breno 
Date:   07-10-17 14:37

Another HAIM album is out, and every media outlet in the world - both mainstream and more self-consciously hip - seem to once again be falling all over themselves to exclaim how wonderful and very, very special the sisters are.

I wasn't sold on the first album, but I dutifully checked out the second. Once again, I hear nothing but updated Wilson Phillips and Donna Lewis. I still hear none of the much ballyhooed second coming of Fleetwood Mac that everyone insists they are.

Now, I don't really have anything against Wilson Phillips and Donna Lewis. As mainstream pop went, they were perfectly adequate and were inoffensive enough during their reigns in the pop top 40 a quarter century ago. But a lot of HAIM's supporters seem to have a problem with them, as any mention of those influences are trotted out way less often than Fleetwood Mac, which over the last couple of decades has become a reference that's acceptable for journalists to make and still maintain their hipster cred. Wilson Phillips? Still not so much.

Mostly though, I don't hear HAIM doing anything particularly interesting or inventive with that old pop formula to justify the hosannas everyone insists on firing at them with a catapult. They're perfectly adequate and inoffensive, but not much more to my ears.

I will stick with my earlier theory, that people are so starved for anything in the top 40 these days that seems to be created by actual humans and not a Swedish computer program, that they will overpraise someone like HAIM in the hopes of spawning more music by actual humans.

But if there's anyone around here who hears more than I do in HAIM, please enlighten me. I'm open to liking them, but so far have not seen much reason why I should care much one way or the other.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   07-10-17 15:20

I like what I hear but it's pretty generic. I thought "The Wire" was good... and Donna Lewis, man, she was alright! (Much better than Wilson Phillips). But I think Haim are attractive to look at, and play their instruments, and write their own songs - which makes them the closest thing we have in 2017 to ABBA or Fleetwood Mac.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: mats84 
Date:   07-10-17 16:14


It's that fitting a little niche thing that they do - they do what they do well enough and in a way that is blatantly unoffensive and also lacking anybody else around doing the exact same thing better. So they win...........for now I guess.

They present a good unified front too, they can talk about the "pop" element of their sound so they make good copy and they have that self-aware thing, but nobody as far as I can truly see "loves" the band, they just really like the idea of the band.

"The Wire" to me was a great single though, I haven't heard anything else approaching that kind of savvy push and pull from them.




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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   07-11-17 03:37

but if you were a teenage girl...



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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-11-17 07:17

...and you saw your peers playing instruments and writing songs....

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: breno 
Date:   07-11-17 10:23

It's not teenage girl fans that mystify me. It's people like Under the Radar giving them cover stories and acting like they're some sort of cutting edge in music that puzzles me.

Which again, I guess pop music with commercial potential that doesn't seem to be cooked up by Swedes working in a Radio Disney lab may indeed be cutting edge these days. Hell, I suppose it may even be the modern definition of punk, it's such a radical notion.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   07-11-17 11:04

UTR, like all outlets, has to broaden their base.




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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: breno 
Date:   07-11-17 11:27

Eh, I wouldn't consider that an exact analogy. The Bangles started out as a respected band in a vaunted underground scene that eventually went in a more pop direction, and they did so under the guiding hand of probably the closest thing to a universally respected artist the era had - being given a pop makeover by Prince still had a bit of an edge to it. Haim started out as Wilson Phillips soundalikes and have stayed that way.

Though, I guess from a different perspective, the bands the Paisley Underground were emulating had mostly been top 40 bands in an earlier era (though they did throw never-ommercial sounds into the mix, like the Velvets.) Maybe pop music has morphed so far into pure product at this point that Wilson Phillips are to 2017 what the Blues Magoos were to 1984.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   07-11-17 12:53

Yes, but you have the critical background for that exegesis.

I otherwise paired HAIM with Spice Girls, which clearly wasn't fair. But Go-Gos isn't apt, as far as magazine-cover-all-female-play-their-instruments.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   07-11-17 13:02

The cutting-edge angle is relative to their OWN peers:
Lorde
Halsey
Katy Perry
TLC
SZA


The one I can't figure out is Ed Sheeran. Okay, inoffensive pap. But 10x platinum??

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: breno 
Date:   07-11-17 15:26

I quite honestly do not know if I've ever heard an Ed Sheeran song. I'm sure I have, but I didn't know it when I did.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: nosepail 
Date:   07-11-17 16:09

It's 3 hot intelligent sisters with guitars. What's there to understand?



Post Edited (07-11-17 16:14)

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Delvin 
Date:   07-12-17 10:09

> I wasn't sold on the first album, but I dutifully checked out the second. Once again,
> I hear nothing but updated Wilson Phillips and Donna Lewis. I still hear none of the
> much ballyhooed second coming of Fleetwood Mac that everyone insists they are.

In the Squeeze review that appeared in one of the print editions of the TP Record Guide, the reviewer described the frequent comparisons between Difford/Tilbrook's songwriting acumen and that of Lennon/McCartney: "That's as much a sign of their talent as it is of how little craftsmanship there is in modern pop music. What has seemed like brilliance on Squeeze's records has often been mere glibness. When the competition's weak, it's hard to spot the difference." (That quote is from memory, so I may not have it word for word.)

I don't recall hearing any of Haim's music. If I did, it went right over my head, as most modern pop music does. But the comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, Donna Lewis and especially Wilson Phillips are enough to send me elsewhere in the H bin.



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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: zoo 
Date:   07-12-17 12:31

I've never knowingly heard a song by HAIM. So, I just went to Spotify and played the first song on the new album. After 60 seconds, I stopped. I have no desire to listen to more of that song or any other in their catalog. I'm not one that feels ever artist out there deserves a chance to win me over. I simply don't have the time. I heard enough to know that it's not my cup of tea. Not saying it was incompetent or poor quality, just not something I want to hear ever again as long as I live.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Delvin 
Date:   07-12-17 14:01

I just went to Amazon and checked out the 30-second samples of each song on Haim's new album. The Wilson Phillips comparison is the most apt, IMO. Like Zoo said, it's not incompetent or shabby, just not my cup of tea. I don't see any need to investigate further ... but I don't feel compelled to run the band down either.



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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   07-12-17 16:36

To me, "The Wire" is the track to hear them at their best.

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: STEVE 
Date:   07-13-17 22:57

i'm gonna stay up late and listen to HAIM on youtube. bfn

but not too late. I made through the first six tracks of 'Something to Tell You" only the bands second album in ten years.

i like the music but i don't like the words.



Post Edited (07-14-17 00:50)

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 Re: Please explain HAIM to me
Author: Delvin 
Date:   07-18-17 15:20

> To me, "The Wire" is the track to hear them at their best.

Okay, I took Zwirn's suggestion, and listened to that song. Time to move on.

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