Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Haim – Want You Back

But seriously, what the hell has Ariel Rechtshaid been doing the past few years? Pottery? Daria fanfiction? Calculus II?


Katherine St Asaph: I would have bet actual money that Haim’s lead sophomore-album single would be produced with Max Martin or at least sound it — I guess I could’ve mentioned the “Needed You” coda here for a pity dollar back. But no, this is standard Ariel Rechtshaid — it’s weird how quickly he went from ubiquity to nothing, enough that I suspect there’s a story there — and standard Haim. Namely, it’s standard in that every Haim song I have ever heard (“My Song 5” being the outlier) sounded anodyne until the soft-rock feelings finally steeped enough. This one, though, might take a while.

Alfred Soto: A band as dependent on studio massaging as these three should never release a track that sounds like a demo three-quarters made flesh.

David Sheffieck: It took me until the second listen to even realize this has an (alleged) chorus, and if not for a vague memory of massed vocals I’d be doubting it again now. A sketch in search of a song.

Will Adams: The formula remains the same, sonically — shimmering ’90s lite-rock complete with close harmonies and electronic squiggles — and it remains just as effective. Lyrically, though, “Want You Back” is a slight departure from the self-assured independence of Days Are Gone. The shift doesn’t stick until the final act, when Alana is left to sing the chorus on her own, then repeats the line in a high cry. For a band whose image is heavily steeped in California cool, it’s a refreshing moment of vulnerability.

William John: Part of the delight of Days Are Gone lay in Danielle Haim’s unconventional vocal timing. It often seemed as though she was playing cat and mouse with her band’s arrangements, deftly repeating quirks that occasionally resembled hiccups, and, again and again, stumbling her way towards a gloriously euphoric hook. On “Want You Back” we revisit the stammering briefly — witness the breathless end to each refrain. But more curious is the conspicuous stillness — a lightness, a new sense of space, between arrangement and vocal. The juxtaposition is initially striking, but I find myself yearning for a guitar solo toward the final chorus, for something ferocious and chaotic to pierce the tranquility.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Have you ever wondered what Daniel Lanois and DJ Snake teaming up to prop up a Wilson-Phillips campfire singalong at the end of a Hallmark Channel film about togetherness and finding courage in trusting your friends could sound like? Haim have that musical thread nobody asked for set and ready to fray and look gross by the end.

Thomas Inskeep: I mean, it’s fine, but it sounds like a retread from their first album. And the production on the choruses is too clattery.

Sonia Yang: From Danielle’s plaintive lead lines to the assertive bass groove, this feels very much like coming home. Part of me wonders if this is an obvious ploy to appeal to their old fanbase after the four-year lull between albums, or just a genuine return to what Haim is comfortable with. I don’t care — it’s achingly transparent all the same. The best part is when all three sisters are singing, especially the overlapping lines in the prechorus. If they want me back, they’ve got me.

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One Response to “Haim – Want You Back”

  1. Makes you wonder why it took them 4 years to come back

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