Crate Digging Weekly: “Women in Music Pt. III” is an empowering album

“[WIMPIII] harkens back to the women of rock that came before HAIM with feelings of modern-day melancholy imbued into it,” says Web Editor Marcy Wilder.


Album cover courtesy of Polydor Records.

Marcy Wilder, Web Editor

HAIM’s “Women in Music Pt. III” is a beautiful album. This album comes after Alana Haim’s best friend passing away, Este Haim’s struggle with Type-1 diabetes, and Danielle Haim’s partner’s cancer diagnosis, and all of those struggles are infused to make a timeless piece of art.

WIMPIII was released on June 26 after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was nominated for a Grammy for album of the year. I found this album incredibly addicting to listen to. It harkens back to the women of rock that came before HAIM with feelings of modern-day melancholy imbued into it.

The second song in the album, “The Steps” is an empowering song for women in unfulfilling relationships. A song about a plea to an indifferent lover could have been depressing to listen to, but instead, HAIM gave themselves the power to stand up for themselves, and have awesome guitar and drum solos. The lyrics reflect on how in heterosexual relationships men usually want to be the authority figure, and how today women can have and want more equal footing. This is expressed through the lyrics, “And every day I wake up and I make money for myself / And though we share a bed, you know that I don’t need your help.” D. Haim said in an interview with Apple Music that “Just playing [the song] feels empowering.” Listening to it feels the same way.

“I Know Alone” is a song that was made even better by the circumstances it was released in. While it was written before the stay-at-home orders of the pandemic, the song was enhanced by those orders. Inspired by Joni Mitchell, the song is about the loneliness that comes with depression and the world still expecting you to “shine,” as the song puts it. The music video for this song has all three sisters standing separately, and one of the moves is choreographed to look like a monotonous scroll to a phone. The chorus of “’Cause nights turn into days / That turn to grey / Keep turning over” really hit home the feeling of weeks going by in a blur during the summer of 2020 for me.

“Gasoline” is a very sexy song. Then, HAIM had to go and make it even better with the inclusion of Taylor Swift in the extended edition of WIMPIII. The collaboration was theorized about after HAIM was featured on Swift’s latest album, and when it was released on Feb. 18 it completely enhanced the vibe of the original song. The song’s bridge is beautiful to listen to, and the song’s lyrics let the women take the lead in the relationship with them having the “keys.”

“3 AM” is a song about a 3 a.m. booty call. A. Haim said, “I think you can hear the amount of joy and laughs we had making this song,” and you absolutely can. The song starts with a phone call from a guy, and then the chorus responds appropriately with “Have I lost my mind?” After the album was released, the song was re-released as a duet and remix with Thundercat. Thundercat’s vocals and bass lines enhance the song. None of the lyrics change from each version but are performed with a completely different intonation that changes the entire energy of the song.

“Man from the Magazine” is a response to all of the sexist questions HAIM and other female artists have received from male journalists. The lyric “Do you make the same faces in bed?” is an actual question E. Haim received about the faces she makes while playing her instruments. Sexism is rampant in the music industry, as exposed recently with the documentary “Framing Brittany Spears” and the situations with Ke$ha, Swift, and many many other women artists. The lyrics hammer the frustration home with “You don’t know how it feels, you expect me to deal with it / ‘Til I’m perfectly numb” and “You don’t know how it feels / To be the cunt.”

The first song released from the album, “Summer Girl” both feels and sounds like a breath of fresh air. The music video, beautifully directed by Paul Thomas Anderson who’s been nominated for 8 Oscars, has the three sisters walking (a common theme in the music videos Anderson directs for them) and removing their winter clothes as the color palette of the video shifts from cool blues to warm reds, oranges, and yellows. The saxophone featured in the song enhances the warm summer feel, as well as the homage to the song “Walk on the Wild Side.” The bridge ends with the lyric, “Feel my unconditional love,” and it is the perfect end to the album.

Every single song in WIMPIII is a joy to listen to, and the composition of the different instruments in the backing tracks keep pulling me back for relisten after relisten. I’m not sure if I will ever find a perfect album, but this one is pretty close.

Marcy Wilder is the web editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @MarcyJWilder.