Written by Leo Baldi
Haim are back exactly 10 years after their first ever show. The three sisters have published their sophomore, Something To Tell You, the pop-rock follow-up to their 2013 acclaimed debut, Days Are Gone, which catapulted them into the pop stratosphere.
Something to Tell You opens with the first single released a while ago, Want You Back, a fun and summery tune that delivers what every Haim fan expects from the sisters. Which is both a good thing and a shame. As a fan of their debut, I have to admit that Want You Back left me a little disappointed. I thought that the song offered nothing new to their already polished and well produced sound. I guess if you aren’t already familiar with their previous album you will probably love everything about this one, but apart from a few gems, like You Never Knew and Nothing’s Wrong, STTY falls a bit flat.
The second track in the album is Nothing’s Wrong and it’s a bit more country pop, which combined with the ultra crisp synths definitely delivers a lot of fun and originality. The two tracks that follow it, though, are completely forgettable. Little of Your Love is somewhat listenable, but Ready For You sounds like any ordinary pop tune on the radio right now.
The title track is very enjoyable and gives us that peculiar, Michael Jackson-esque, staccato vocal style that we all loved so much from Days Are Gone. By this point I’m thinking that the production is very polished, a bit too much for my taste because now I’m having The 1975 from last year deja vu. Thankfully, You Never Knew saves the mood: this song is probably the one I like the most. It manages to be somewhat retro and signature Haim without resulting in being too repetitive or overstated like Want You Back. The bass in the song is an absolute standout from all the sounds in STTY.
Kept Me Crying keeps the retro soft-rock atmosphere up, but the one thing that I can’t seem to understand is: why didn’t they take Nothing’s Wrong, You Never Knew and Kept Me Crying and went with that exquisite sound instead of repeating themselves? Found It In Silence and Walking Away are the counterparts to Little Of Your Love and Ready For You, completely forgettable. Especially Walking Away, a great single with a great hook, perhaps, but it sounds like the usual pop song. Which, again, some might like, but it doesn’t do it for me, even if the second part of the track is definitely better than the first 30 seconds.
Right Now follows next and is a needed standout. The lyrics (which up to now haven’t really been too expressive or interesting) the instrumentation, its minimalistic flavour, they all work together into the development of a gradual epic end definitely worth all the crescendo. This song’s hook sticks in your head in all the good ways and definitely manages to give some overall flavour to an otherwise quite bland work. Night So Long closes the album in a pretty way but that’s all there is to it.
My final thoughts on Something To Tell You is that it’s a good work, very well produced and you can definitely tell that it’s been recorded perfectly, but that’s pretty much all. The lyrics and the soul behind the songs seem to be overshadowed by the self-proclaimed importance of the production and therefore feel shallow. This album feels like eating a gorgeous meal, cooked perfectly, but the chef forgot to put any salt on it. It leaves the listener wondering if this is all the sisters have to offer. And the only problem I have with Haim repeating themselves is not their sound, which I like, but it’s the fact that they show, with this album, the scope of their reach. And even if it’s still a decent album, I wish it wasn’t this short-sighted.