As good as 2017’s Something to Tell You was, Haim’s second album did flirt with becoming a bit of a sophomore jinx for the three sisters. It was impeccably made, with some tremendous songs, but coming off the freshness of Days Are Gone, it felt like the band was starting to spin its tires creatively. That’ll happen when you spend a lifetime building towards your first record and suddenly you’re faced with the challenge of matching that success in a year. You see it happen time and again: the follow-up to the acclaimed debut just doesn’t quite match up, and then the artist is faced with the challenge of resetting or staying the course. Thankfully Haim took the latter route on album number three, which turned out to be a resounding creative success.
The characteristics that make Haim such a fun and unique band are there on Women in Music Pt. III – rock effortlessly bridging with pop and R&B, those rich three-part harmonies – but Danielle, Este, and Alana expand their sound significantly. It’s more stylistically varied, but at the same time the sisters bring cohesion to it all, which is no small feat. Hip hop beats infuse tracks like “Los Angeles”, their distinct style reaches a new level of ingenuity on “I Know Alone”, and the lo-if quickie “Man From the Magazine” is a scathing critique on misogyny in the music industry. “Don’t Wanna” is so effortless in its songwriting and arrangement that it feels lifted from the Fleetwood Mac songbook. And speaking of Fleetwood Mac, “Up From a Dream” and the flat-out gorgeous “The Steps”, which is one of the absolute best songs of the year, bear an uncanny resemblance to Lindsey Buckingham’s meticulously crafted material from Tusk. Capped off by their three stupendous singles from 2019 – “Now I’m in It”, “Hallelujah”, and “Summer Girl” – Women in Music Pt. III is a triumph for the sisters. We all knew they had it in them, and they delivered.