Haim - Days Are Gone
Record Label: Polydor Records
Release Date: September 30, 2013
Music hits. It just does. When and where and how and why are irrelevant when a piece of music integrates itself unapologetically into your life. As Internet music listeners, we have never been more in control of that which hits our eardrums. But every now and then we have no choice, for the better. We are nothing but helpless recipients of amazing, substantial tunes that won't, nay, can't remove themselves from our lives. Haim's Days Are Gone, obviously, is one of those records. 11 tracks of stick-to-the-roof-of-your-eardrums music that sounds all at once immediate and laid-back. New and completely, irrevocably connected to all of the greatest girl-groups, rock groups and great tunes of the last 30 years. It's music made in 2013, but that couldn't mean less to the wonderful ladies of Haim.
There are singles here that will do the work for me. "Forever" and "Falling" begin the album and create an aura of sexy smartness that will bring in even the most sexist music listener. (Some of the vocals are so deep you'll be wondering if this is really an all-girl group.) But Days Are Gone is a relentless pop treat that borrows from just about every genre you'd want a pop/r&b/indie record to borrow from. Everyone says Fleetwood Mac, my brother said Janet Jackson, I say Purity Ring and maybe Florence and the Machine. Days Are Gone is one of those rare records where each song sounds like it could come from a different band, but where you find strands of cohesiveness with startling ease.
The three sisters of Haim have an impressive knowledge of the best pop music, and what they don't know, they farm out to some of the best and brightest (James Ford, Ariel Rechtshaid, Jessie Ware). And it's these ingenious minds who give Days Are Gone both an of-the-moment and timeless feel. Songs like the propulsive, assertive "Let Me Go" and dreamy closer "Running If You Call My Name" exist as easily now as they could 20 years ago. Music too often, like bad architecture, makes you think of a fleeting moment, one that could only exist now. But the best, most important music adheres less to a timeline and more to a human truth. The simplistic nature of lyrics like, "All my life I wasn't trying to get on the highway / I was wondering which way to go" are universal, endearing and wonderfully nonacademic.
Haim may have had a strange ride to this point in their (hopefully) iPod commercial-starring superstardom, but Days Are Gone couldn't be more straightforward. (Even a song called "Go Slow" becomes instantly infectious.) They are a band of diligent music fans creating homages to some of this country's most important musical milestones. So when these girls sing, "Forever I try to make it right," it must feel good to know that they've instantly achieved their goal.
LOVE this album as well. Had actually never heard of them (so out of the music loop these days) until I saw someone mention them on the "who do you want to see on SNL" thread and then I saw them featured on itunes. Worth the $8 for sure.