Haim - Something To Tell You

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2017-07-07

The second Haim album, Something To Tell You, just gives one more prime example when pop music is concerned - you really have to master all the aspects of coming up with a ‘perfect’ pop song. From creating it, playing and singing, production… everything. It is probably one of the hardest things to do in modern music. It is a hard and arduous process for all involved, and can have great rewards, but also produce deep pitfalls. Something To Tell You has both.

The good stuff first. Want You Back is as close as somebody will come this year to a perfect pop song. Everything clicks - perfect melody, execution, an unobtrusive production that accentuates the fact that the sisters can both sing and play. Everything. But there comes the first problem - this song opens the album and creates almost exceeding expectations. This might have been a good marketing tool for the times when albums were still just a selling tool for the key singles it included. These days, that can hardly pass.

Nothing’s Wrong is a page torn out of the Fleetwood Mac book ‘songs we should have recorded, but didn’t’. Again, everything works as it should, the high promises continue. Little of Your Love, another good song, and you don’t even care for the fact that the girls will have to start to take the lyrics a bit more seriously if they want to make more ‘serious’ music. But maybe not. But then you start to notice that the producer Ariel Rechtshaid has a knack for adding touches of studio trickery you could call Thomas Dolby syndrome. For that reason, Ready For You could have been a good pop song with an R&B slant but Rechtshaid seems to get carried away. The title song and You Never Knew, particularly the latter,  sound like something that would perfectly fit the Ned Doheny or Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers repertoire, and I see that as a good thing.

But then things slowly start to descend. Keep Me Crying is just ok, and Found In Silence is rescued by a good string arrangement. Walking Away modern day R&B arrangement is completely unsuitable to the band, and the producer doesn’t help much, again. Seeing the sisters play live on Later With Jools Holland recently just shows why the studio version of Right Now is something that has an appropriate title - it has so much studio trickery, you want to skip it. Right now. And while Want You Back was such a perfect opener, Night So Long is almost incomprehensible what it is supposed to be.

So, what is to be said about this album? A lot of promise, one of the songs of the year,  quite a few good ones, a lot of hype, some of it deserved, some has yet to be, too much unnecessary studio trickery. In essence, a mixed bag.

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