Beyoncé v. Haim: The 2014 Bush v. Gore…
Anthony Easton: I was wrong about Haim. This is really enjoyable, and the vocals are fantastic. I just need to think of it as some kind of crate digging find from the mid-1990s, and then I can avoid the folderol, and just groove on something that hits my Wilson Phillips/Melissa Etheridge spots.
Alfred Soto: It’s a tribute to how singular Haim sounded in 2013 that they survived critics’ citing imprecise eighties referents, including yours truly. Even if I said the keyboard sparkles and insistent guitar curlicues reminded me of Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac (the album’s replaced Tusk as generational touchstone), it doesn’t account for the hushed intensity of the sisters’ voices in the chorus. By never rising above a churn they maintain the tension. Live, however, this track reminds me of nobody.
Katherine St Asaph: Haim are the @tofu_product of bands: in their soft-rock omnivorousness, they evoke whatever you grew up with. (Me, I was born in the ’80s, so of course my references are both named Jennifer: Lopez, on “Waiting for Tonight,” and Paige, in general.) The reason it works is the genuine love, in the production, for the genre: the gentle synth-pad like the glow of highway streetlamps, the faintly tinny twinkle heralding the “wildest times.” It’s your emotional life on JACK-FM, and Haim makes that sound genuinely moving. Haim’s also an album-oriented band, and there’s a place for this in the album story cycle: the wistful regret after noping out of the perfectly good relationship of “The Wire,” the sadness for which the prickliness of “Don’t Save Me” is a shield. The feelings are relatable and could come from anyone; to make relatable feelings into great singles requires more. Greatness, you could say.
Edward Okulicz: Critics fall over themselves to tie these guys to their own well-regarded cultural touchstones, but on this song, what I’m most reminded of is Debbie Gibson and everything that was maligned then and sounds dated now about busy late-’80s pop (over)production. Without a drop of irony, Haim revel in the frothiness, from the bass to the grinning pastiche in the video. The chorus’s “visions of our love remind me” might be a reuse of the same trick as “if your love isn’t strong” but this time the aloofness is gone, the want jumps out of the speakers, and the effect on the heart is completely different. But the melody is just as bright.
Juana Giaimo: I don’t mean to say that if it wasn’t for its music video “If I Could Change Your Mind” would lack all interest, but compared to the mighty “Falling” or the joyful “The Wire,” this single needed something to complement it and the Haim sisters dancing in a very ’80s setting was the perfect choice. Their choreography highlights the beats of music — like when they’re clapping in the bridge, and even in its nostalgic tone when they appear as hypnotizing shadows. But overall, it shows that they can definitely bewitch you with their always charming personalities.
Will Adams: Days Are Gone is a powerful statement of independence. Danielle, Este, and Alana tell you not to save them, that you’re gonna be okay after this breakup anyway, and that they’ll run away if you call their name, because those days are gone. “If I Could Change Your Mind” is a rare moment where they plead with their subject. It’s almost jarring to get this glimpse into another side of Haim. Almost, because the infectious guitar lines and tightly packed rhythm section are still there, pleading with you to dance.
Jonathan Bradley: As with “The Wire,” Haim marks its intent with the opening lyric: “No, please don’t cry.” This is a song that shudders like it were sobbing; reverberating drums and a stop-start bassline give unexpected weight to an arrangement so lissome. “If I Could Change Your Mind” also makes use of another Haim trick, directing its entire focus at a single emotional spot until the intensity is so strong it flickers into flame; here, the concern is the false possibility inherent in the titular “if.” An ever-present sparkling helps the whole thing hang together, while the “lying eyes” lyric is there because pop songs like this one should throw around phrases like that.
Scott Mildenhall: Music and meaning are rarely matched so well. An initial shattered gloom gradually gives way to gaps: the music stops, vacancy filled only by futile urgency. It’s gone, with only a vivid, almost filmic flashback of “visions of our love” on which to dwell and stoke the feelings still unquelled. It’s light on detail, but presentation doesn’t need much to make far more.
David Sheffieck: The hook’s not their strongest, but Haim maintain their status as the preeminent band for anyone who wants to experience the sounds of the ’70s as a bunch of foggy memories and instrumental signifiers thrown into a blender and pulsed until they’re the musical equivalent of a kale smoothie.
Brad Shoup: I just heard the news about DJ Rashad a couple hours ago, so I’ve been binging on footwork and juke playlists. There’s Rashad’s workouts, sure. I also came across DJ Nate’s “Call Me When You’re Sober,” which turns an old Evanescence fave into a baroque sob in a dark-ass room. And now I’ve come back to “If I Could Change Your Mind,” with its twitchy guitar/bass/drum rhythms and passed-down phrases rendered with gorgeous melodic care. It’s certainly not a juke approximate, but someone could take a sledgehammer to this and not break much. It’s certainly ready for the floor.