‘Women In Music Pt. III’ Album Cover

Whether they’ve created quarantine albums at lightning speed or dreamt up inspired collaborations over Zoom, lockdown has pushed artists to get creative from the confines of their homes. For HAIM, that meant returning to Women in Music Pt. III, the spirit-boosting third record the LA trio released in June 2020 amid strict stay-at-home orders. “Being home made us really want to collaborate, even if we couldn’t be in the same room,” bassist Este Haim tells Apple Music. “We hope everyone enjoys this little surprise we cooked up in quarantine,” adds youngest sibling Alana. That surprise is an expanded edition of the album that has affectionately become known as WIMPIII, on which HAIM embraced all their musical influences to create their most boundless record yet (“We didn’t care about genre or sticking to any sort of script; we have the most fun when nothing else is off-limits,” says Danielle). The album was also a cathartic release, as the sisters boldly navigated depression, seeking help, grief, relationships, and—on the blistering “Man From the Magazine” and the country-inspired “The Steps”—the misogyny they’ve encountered as female musicians.

Quarantine project aside, this expanded edition is also a celebration of everything Women in Music Pt. III has achieved, including a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, something Alana describes as “surreal.” Here, Taylor Swift—whose 2020 album evermore HAIM guested on—features on a reworked version of “Gasoline,” while Thundercat offers a dreamy new take on “3 AM,” WIMPIII’s tongue-in-cheek R&B moment. “We feel so lucky to be able to work with our favorite artists on these versions,” says Danielle. “We’re truly in awe of where they took the songs.” Below, the sisters walk us through every track on this special edition.

Los Angeles
Danielle Haim: “This was one of the first songs we wrote for the album. It came out of this feeling when we were growing up that Los Angeles had a bad rep. Especially in 2001 or so, when all the music was coming out of New York and all of our friends ended up going there for college. And if LA is an eyeroll, the Valley—where we come from—is a constant punchline. But I always had such pride for this city. Anyone can move here, but you’ve got to have LA pride from the jump.”

The Steps
Danielle: “With this album, we were reckoning with a lot of the emotions we were feeling within the business. This album was kind of meant to expel all of that energy and almost be like ‘Fuck it.’ This song kind of encapsulates the whole mood of the record. The album and this song are really guitar-driven [because] we just really wanted to drive that home. Unfortunately, I can already hear some macho dude being like, ‘That lick is so easy or simple.’ Sadly, that’s shit we’ve had to deal with. But I think this is the most fun song we’ve ever written. Just playing it feels empowering.”
Este Haim: “People have always tried to put us in a box, and they just don’t understand what we do. People are like, ‘You dance and don’t play instruments in your videos, how are you a band?’ It’s very frustrating.”

I Know Alone
Danielle: “We wrote this one around the same time that we wrote ‘Los Angeles,’ just in a room on GarageBand. Este came up with just that simple bassline and then we added those 808 drums in the chorus. It’s about coming out of a dark place and feeling like you don’t really want to deal with the outside world. We shout out Joni Mitchell in this song; our mom was such a huge fan of hers. I’d always go into my room and just blast Joni Mitchell super loud. ‘I Know Alone’ is very nostalgic for her.”

Up From a Dream
Danielle: “This song literally took five minutes to write, and it was written with Rostam [who co-produced the album]. It’s about waking up to a reality that you just don’t want to face. In a way, I don’t really want to explain it: It can mean so many different things to different people. This is the heaviest song we’ve ever had.”

Gasoline
Danielle: “Another really quick one that we wrote with Rostam. I love the way that the drums sound. I was literally in a cave of blankets, a fort we created with a really old Camco drum set from the ’70s, to make sure we got that dry, tight drum sound. That slowed-down ending is due to Ariel Rechtshaid [who co-produced the album]. He had this crazy EDM filter he stuck on the guitar, and I was like, ‘Yes, that’s fucking perfect.’”
Alana Haim: “I think there were parts of that song where we were feeling sexy. I remember I had gone to go get food, and when I came back Danielle had written the bridge. She was like, ‘Look what I wrote!’ And I was like, ‘Oh! Okay!’”

3 AM
Alana: “This is pretty self-explanatory—it’s about a booty call. There have been around 10 versions of this song. We started out with this beat, and we wrote the chorus super quickly. But then we couldn’t figure out what to do in the verses. We’d almost given up on it and then we were like, ‘Let’s just try one last time and see if we can get there.’ We had this idea of having it introduced by a phone call. Because it is about a booty call. And we had to audition a bunch of dudes. We basically got all of our friends that were guys to be like, ‘Hey, this is so crazy, but can you just pretend to be calling a girl at 3 am?’ We got five or six of our friends to do it, and they were so nervous and sheepish. They were the worst! I was like, ‘Do you guys even talk to girls?’ I think you can hear the amount of laughs we had making this song.”

Don’t Wanna
Alana: “Classic HAIM. We always loved this song, and it always kind of stuck its head out like, ‘Hey, remember me?’ It just sounded so good being simple. We can tinker around with a song for years, and with this one, every time we added something or changed it, it lost the feeling. This song is like a warm sweater.”

Another Try
Alana: “This is my favorite on the record. The day that we started it, I was thinking that I was going to get back together with the love of my life. We had been on and off for almost 10 years and I thought we were going to give it another try. And it turns out, the week after we finished the song, he had gotten engaged. So the song took on a whole new meaning very quickly. It’s really about the fact I’ve always been on and off with the same person, and have only really had one love of my life. It’s kind of dedicated to him. The end of the song is supposed to feel like a celebration. We wanted it to feel like a dance party. Because even though it has such a weird meaning now, the song has a hopeful message. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll figure it out.”

Leaning on You
Alana: “This is really a song about finding someone that accepts your flaws. That’s such a rare thing in this world. As sisters, we are the CEOs of our company: We have super strong personalities and really strong opinions. And finding someone that’s okay with that, you would think would be celebrated, but it’s actually not. ‘Leaning on You’ is about when you find that person that really uplifts you and finds everything that you do to be incredible and interesting and supports you. It’s a beautiful thing.”

I’ve Been Down
Danielle: “This is the last one we wrote on the album. This was super quick with stream-of-consciousness lyrics. I wanted it to sound like you were in the room, like you were right next to me. The chorus feels good to sing. It’s very therapeutic.”

Man From the Magazine
Este: “When we were first coming out, I guess it was perplexing for some people that I would make faces when I played, even though men have been doing it for years. We got asked questions about it early on, and there was this one interviewer who asked if I made the faces I made onstage in bed. My defense mechanism when stuff like that happens is just to try to make a joke out of it. So I kind of just threw it back at him and said, ‘Well, there’s only one way to find out.’ And of course, there was a chuckle and then we moved on. If someone said that to me now, I probably would’ve punched them in the face. But as women, we’re taught kind of just to always be pleasant and be polite. And I think that was my way of being polite and nice. Thank god things are changing a bit.”
Danielle: “We recorded this song in one take. The first verse is Este’s super specific story, and then, on the second verse, it feels very universal to any woman who plays music about going into a guitar store and immediately being asked, ‘Oh, do you want to start to play guitar?’ or ‘Are you looking for a guitar for your boyfriend?’ It’s the worst feeling.”

All That Ever Mattered
Alana: “This is one of the more experimental songs on the record. Whatever felt good on this track, we just put it in. It’s kind of chaotic. The production is bananas and bonkers, but it did really feel good.”

FUBT
Alana: “This song was one of the ones that was really hard to write. It’s about being in an emotionally abusive relationship, which all three of us have been in. It’s really hard to see when you’re in something like that. And the song basically explains what it feels like and just not knowing how to get out of it. You’re blind to all these insane red flags. You’re so hard on yourself about the littlest things, but your partner can do no wrong.”

Gasoline [HAIM & Taylor Swift]
Este: “‘Gasoline’ was Taylor’s favorite song on the album, and we thought her voice would be perfect on this song. She brought such an amazing energy to the track.”

3 AM [HAIM & Thundercat]
Danielle: “Thundercat has been a good friend of ours for years, and we even made an appearance in one of his music videos last year. When we mentioned to him that we wanted to make ‘3 AM’ a duet, he said he’d do it without even flinching. His bass playing on it is exactly what the track needed.”

Now I’m in It (Bonus Track)
Danielle: “This song is about feeling like you’re in something and almost feeling okay to sit in it, but also just recognizing that you’re in a dark place. I was definitely in a dark place, and it was just like I had to look at myself in the mirror and be like, ‘Yeah, this is fucked up. And you need to get your shit together and you need to look it in the face and know that you’re here and work on yourself.’ After writing this song I got a therapist, which really helped me.”

Hallelujah (Bonus Track)
Alana: “This song really did just come from wanting to express how important it is to have the love of your family. We’re very lucky that we each have two sisters as backup always. We wrote this with our friend Tobias Jesso Jr., and we all just decided to write verses separately, which is rare for us. I wrote about losing a really close friend of mine at such a young age and going through a tragedy that was unexplainable. It was one of the hardest times in my life, and it still is, but I was really lucky that I had two siblings that were really supportive during that time and really helped me get through it. And I’ve always wanted to thank my sisters because they were so integral in my healing process after going through something so tragic.”

Summer Girl (Bonus Track)
Danielle: “I’ve talked about it a lot, but this song is about my boyfriend getting cancer a couple of years ago, and it was truly the scariest thing that I have ever been through. I just couldn’t stop thinking about how he was feeling. I get spooked really easily, but I felt like I had to buck the fuck up and be this kind of strong figure for him. And that’s kind of where this song came from. Being the summer when he was just in this dark, dark place.”

Source: Apple Music

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