You guys! Remember a few months ago when I told you that HAIM was the greatest thing to happen to ladyrock since Joan Jett? Well, they’ve just released another new single, and they are still amazing.
Seriously. This group of sisters is one of the most exciting bands of the year. Just listen to the shimmery excellence of “Don’t Save Me:”
And check out the official video, which dropped yesterday.
Aaaah! I’m discovering this song as I write about—I started this post when I was halfway through my first listen—and I’m basically losing the ability to be rational. But let me take a deep breath and try.
Okay, first of all: This song is about a woman wistfully realizing that she’s desperate for the way she was, when she was “hungry for what was to come.” You know… when her heart was wide open and warm, and she wasn’t protecting herself from people. She’s talking to a potential lover who says he can save her, but she says if he isn’t strong enough to restore her lost innocence, then he shouldn’t even try.
I hear an ironic challenge there. Who is strong enough to make someone what they used to be? To me, it seems like the singer knows this guy can’t be what she needs. It seems like she’s resigned to being sad, so she’s making bitter little joke about it. “See I want it all,” she says. “If you can’t hold on, then baby, don’t save me.”
That emotional stance is even more satisfying because “Don’t Save Me” is so musically captivating. At first blush, it sounds like a pleasant homage to Fleetwood Mac, with lead singer Este Haim aping Christine McVie’s smooth vocals. (I *think* Este is the lead singer. The band doesn’t have the strongest web presence.) And if we just stopped there, that would be great. Who doesn’t love Fleetwood Mac?
But the more I listen, the more I hear the personality Haim’s putting into her vocals. Like that husky growl on “baby” in the line “baby, don’t save me.” And especially that stutter she puts on the line “take me back, t-take me back to the song, how it used to go.” Those quick, percussive sounds are just so satisfying, and they prove that HAIM does more than play the music… they perform it. They’re too cool to scream for your attention, but they deserve it more than most flashy pop artists ever will.
Previously: This guy thinks Jay-Z is working with the devil, which makes me sad for him.
Mark Blankenship is about to call his best friend and tell her about this song. He tweets as @IAmBlankenship