Learning to enjoy buzz-rock with extra cheese.
I have two younger sisters: Samantha and Rebecca. They don’t play music. Samantha can't sing to save her life (instead, she’s got a double major in French and childhood education) and Rebecca gave up on guitar pretty fast after realizing she cared more about visual arts and fashion (instead, she’s going to be the next Anna Wintour). The bond one has with their sisters is unbreakable—I know I sound cheesy, but once you get past that age when your little sisters go from being "just" your little sisters to actually being your friends, it’s... well, it's beautiful. I always wished my sisters played music so we could have a band together, but as I said, Samantha and Rebecca are hopeless in that department. So when I first discovered Los Angeles band Haim, compromised of three sisters (all born the same years as my sisters and I), I was struck with sentiment and a sliver of jealousy.
To be honest, Haim make me feel very confused, mostly because Haim makes the type of rock 'n’ roll suited for a Tom Petty fan. They remind me of Heart or later Fleetwood Mac, but they have a spine of early 2000s pop (think Britney, Christina, and Destiny’s Child), because that’s the shit they grew up chewing on. The three girls started playing music when they were kids in Los Angeles and were in a band with their parents called Rockinhaim (seriously). After playing in industry-fabricated girl-group The Valli Girls, Danielle toured with Julian Cassblancas, Jenny Lewis, and Cee Lo Green, while Este got a degree in Ethnomusicology in half the time it takes normal people and their youngest sister Alana quit school so they could focus on their own band.
And it was a good decision, because Haim is primed to be huge. I get why. It’s fucking feel good rock 'n’ roll. It’s catchy, sing-a-long forever rock that’s so familiar and melodic that when you hear their song “Forever,” your shoulder just start grooving and you're like, “What? I don’t want this! How is this happening?” Recently, I watched a live video of Haim performing at some giant festival. All three sisters played their instruments with fervor, grace and straight-up happiness. None of them ever look miserable, so in turn, when you watch them, you start to give into the cheese and feel good. Este makes this crazy bass face where she looks like she might have mainlined a bad combo of molly and GHB, Danielle shoots out “hey”s and “na-na”s like Donna Lewis, and Alana just never stops smiling and dancing, whether she’s pounding on a drum or her guitar. Why are family bands inherently cheesy yet irresistible? Haim is—without wanting to sound sexist—bachelorette party rock; they make me want to get wasted off champagne with my girl friends and break hearts like I’m in a bad rom-com.
Basically, Haim is like the Kardashians of modern rock, except they don’t have Bruce Jenner for a stepfather and they have actual talent. Sure, some of their riffs sound like Eagles rips, and they are not branching into any new musical territories, but they're doing their bit for pop. In a world where so many pop stars rely completely on headset microphones and autotuned perfection, Haim plays like it’s 1982 and they just had a whole bag of cocaine inserted into their assholes. They are true performers. When I first heard Haim, every single part of my brain did not want to like it, because that’s the shitty punk ingrained in me saying that things that are popular can't possibly be good. That part of me is wrong. Haim is both good and fucking feel-good. I lay my cheeseball bones to rest. Now, come along and sing “The Wire” with me into a hair brush.
Mish is Noisey's Senior Women's Correspondent. She texted us specifically asking to include that. Follow her on Twitter - @myszkaway