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Album Review

There are breakup songs. Then are breakup albums.

Haim's sophomore album, Something to Tell You, is the latter. Eleven radio-friendly, pop-rock tunes—sounding for all the world like a time-capsule mash-up of Wilson Phillips and Fleetwood Mac—deal almost exclusively with that perennial pop subject: love gone bad.

And when love goes bad, well, there's only one thing to do: Sing about it. Then sing about it some more. And some more.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

On "Want You Back," Haim sings about a young woman who belatedly recognizes the issues that prevented her from committing: "I had a fear of forgiveness/ … I was too proud to say I was wrong/ … No more fearing control." The upshot? She wants a second chance: "Just know that I want you back." Similar stuff fills "Something to Tell You:" "But I never stopped or gave up/I couldn't ever let you go/ … I know you're hurt/ … Oh, I'll never say goodbye." "Nothing's Wrong" longs for honesty ("Be honest") and wonders why things are so hard ("Why do we do this to each other, baby?").

Playful, doo-woppy "Little of Your Love" is one of the few songs on the album that doesn't deal directly with a breakup. Still, even here, the song is about a woman trying to coax a pessimistic would-be beau ("You say nothing is ever as good as it seems") into giving her a chance ("My love is gonna be enough/ … Oh, I'll never let you down").

On "Ready for You," a woman who rejected a man three years before strives to convince him she's really ready for him now: "There won't be another day I let you get away/ … I promise I'll treat you right." And on "You Never Knew," yet another frustrated partner wonders if her emotional intensity was just too much for a guy who left her: "Was my love too much to take?"

"Found It in Silence" deals with someone's disappointment as she realizes that the manipulative man she thought was more honest than all the rest really isn't. A woman strives to recover her dignity by leaving another unfaithful cad on "Walking Away." Shattered trust in "Right Now" wisely keeps a someone from buying a guy's lines when he tries to sweet-talk her back into a relationship that wasn't healthy the first time around.

Objectionable Content

On "Ready for You," a young woman unwisely tells a guy about her unwise strategy—casual sex—for dealing with her last difficult romantic flameout: "So I kept it moving to another one-night stand." In "Kept Me Crying," a selfish cad keeps calling an ex for late-night sex, never mind that he's not interested in rekindling their relationship at all. Predictably, it leaves the young woman devastated: "I was your lover/I was your friend/Now I'm only just someone you call/When it's late enough to forget/I was your lover/I was your friend." Then she adds, "When you leave, I can't stop my heart hurting/Hurts to say I keep thinking you'll stay."

More subtle allusions to physical intimacy can be heard on "Want You Back" ("I said we were opposite lovers") and "Nothing Wrong" ("Sleeping back to back/You're turning away"). That song also suggests that denial is easier than telling the truth ("Just tell me nothing's wrong"). Meanwhile, "You Never Know" perhaps implies that a now broken-up couple once lived together ("I came home to see you, you weren't around.")

Exuberance for a possible new relationship gets a tad obsessive on "Ready for You": "I'll keep calling 'til your guard comes down." On "You Never Knew," a rejected woman flirts with bitter self-justification ("I guess you never knew what was good for you").

Forlorn and melodramatic album closer "Night So Long" ends the album on a particularly melancholy note: "I say goodbye to love again/In loneliness, my only friend/ … No shadow darkening the door/Until your memory is gone/The night, slow, long."

Two songs include a total of four uses of "d--n."

Summary Advisory

The most remarkable thing about Something to Tell You isn't its boilerplate lyrical take on sundered relationships. These songs sound like every breakup tune you've ever heard. They're neither particularly positive nor particularly racy. There's wisdom and wistfulness, foolishness and willfulness, all rolled together in one song after another.

No, the semi-remarkable thing here is how eerily this group of three sisters channels yesteryear's sounds. Any of these songs would have been right at home on the radio at the end of the '70s and anytime in the '80s. They're the kinds of songs that would have been blaring from car radios on humid summer nights as adolescents cruised around looking for something to do—especially those adolescents longing for love that eluded them.

Teens streaming these songs on smartphones today will hear a few problematic references to physical relationships. But emotions—the broken and battered kind, the kind that fuel regret—are really the primary focal point here, not sex.

To these three sisters' credit, they recognize some of the mistakes they've made. (Repeatedly made, it would seem.) But if this album correlates at all with their own romantic experiences, the Haim sisters have apparently excelled at traumatic drama but failed to crack the code when it comes to the grasping what's required for lasting love.

That lyrical focus could very well make Haim a favorite among perpetually lovelorn adolescents. But it won't give them much perspective on dealing healthily with their heartaches.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

PopRock

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Topped iTunes album chart.

Record Label

Polydor

Platform

Publisher

Released

July 7, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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