Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Singer/guitarist Danielle Haim (L) and singer/bassist Este Haim of Haim perform during the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 27, 2013.Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Heartbreak, not Heartache

The Haim sisters release ‘Want You Back,’ the second track from their sophomore LP

by
Daniela Tijerina
May 04, 2017
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Singer/guitarist Danielle Haim (L) and singer/bassist Este Haim of Haim perform during the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 27, 2013.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For the second time in two weeks, Haim has given us yet another reason to bask in their girl-power glory.

Leading up the the July 7 release of their sophomore album, Something To Tell You. Haim has released a second single off the forthcoming LP, “Want You Back.” This follows the trio’s much-anticipated return with “Right Now,” which made a well-received debut last week.

However, on this single the sisters switch gears from a sorrowful but striking song about loss in love to a more upbeat track where they take the power back from what is a collective theme for the Haim sisters: heartbreak. The song from start to finish, as most of their work does, feels undeniably reminiscent of Wilson Philips and Fleetwood Mac whose music exudes both whimsy and depth. But with hardly anyone on the charts channeling these old-school riffs and rhythms, it feels new all over again.

At the core of the “Want You Back” is both regret and a plea for a vanished lover to come back. But what’s particularly impressive about “Want You Back” is the very idea that they aren’t asking to be taken back. They sing: Just know I want you back/ I’ll take the fall and the fault in us/ I’ll give you all the love I never before I left you.

In this week’s issue of Rolling Stone youngest sister Alana speaks on songwriting and tells the magazine: “I never really heard a song that said that from a woman’s perspective. Being a woman in a power position and dating someone, in my experience, is hard. You need a man who’s strong enough, to paraphrase Sheryl Crow.”

This track then arrives not just as the second preview of their second album but as a defiance of the conventions for female artists in the age of often compliant hitmakers like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift (for whom they opened during her 1989 tour.) Haim has never been the damsel in distress, the revenge seeker, or a trophy for suitors to collect. Yes, they might have “teardrops on their guitars too,” and they do have feelings after all. And yes, they too are “California Gurls.” But what makes them the anti-Swift/Perry/etc. is that they are categorically bold in ways that female artists in similar categories have kept themselves safely caged in—or maybe locked into. All that time is gone, they declare on “Want You Back.” No more fearing control.

Ironically, their friendship with Swift was also a topic of discussion in their Rolling Stone feature. No bad blood there, just the occasional trip to Hawaii together. The article also discusses their relationship with Stevie Nicks (she gave the sisters matching crescent moon necklaces), growing up in the California Valley, the birthplace of their now 11-year-old band, (“I’m never leaving the valley, dude!” affirms Este who now live only ten minutes from her parents,) and the road to “Something To Tell You” (which Danielle describes as the result of not fully understanding her “feelings until the song’s done and out in the world.”)

Now that the album is done, maybe Haim will retreat back to watching Masterchef Junior and ordering pancakes for breakfast at diners (Passover is over, of course)—or maybe, just maybe they’ll put that all on hold to tour this summer. Here’s to hoping it’s the latter.

Haim performs next week on Saturday Night Live. Watch it. Here’s a clip from their 2013 performance:

Daniela is a journalist based in Brooklyn, originally from Texas. You can follow her on Instagram if you like.

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