Haim’s music always seems to drop at exactly the right moment. At least, from my perspective. When their last album, Something to Tell You, arrived in July 2017, I had just been dumped (literally that same exact day) and was only a few days away from a laparoscopic surgery, which wound up causing me an extended bout of depression. As I started to heal both body and mind in the months following, I’d play songs like “You Never Knew” and “Kept Me Crying” on repeat while dancing around my apartment balcony. Swaying my body to the beat of their poppy hits reminded me that I was not only alive and thriving, but that I too was a cool Jewish girl.
Nearly a year later, when I saw the sister trio play a concert in May 2018 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, it felt like more than just a Haim show. For me, watching Danielle bang on the drums, Este make her wild facial expressions while playing the bass, and Alana look assured while jamming out on the keyboard — can we also talk about their coordinated dances and drum routines?? — more than this, it was a celebration of the strength and courage I had built up in the months since they’d debuted their latest album. And also all the moments I’d turned to their melodic voices to help me get through some really hard days.
That night, I couldn’t help but feel even more connected to my favorite band, and wish they’d adopt me into their rocker chic family. After all, I think I have fairly comparable taste in clothing and I can sort of play a few chords on the ukulele.
Naturally, I was delighted when Haim announced a few months ago that they’d (finally!) be releasing new music. Over the summer, they debuted a jazzy upbeat hit aptly titled “Summer Girl” with a music video in which the girls walk the streets of Los Angeles and take off layer upon layer of clothing. The single seemed like the perfect metaphor for the freedom one feels when you shed layers of yourself — after all, the girls have been in the public eye since 2013 so naturally they’re evolving — and surrender to a period of self-reinvention.
Then, two weeks ago, the band posted on Instagram that they’d soon be dropping a new song called “Now I’m In It” with an image of Danielle looking into the rearview mirror of a car. In the photo, Danielle, queen of long, brown locks, impeccably cool style, and the sister who’s always seemed a bit more buttoned up than Alana and Este, surprisingly looks like she’s in distress. Holding a pair of sunglasses with her eye makeup smeared as if she’s been crying, her eyes stare blankly into… nothingness. There’s barely any color or life in her face, which is something I’ve been seeing reflected in myself in my own mirror lately, too.
After that, two days before the drop, the band shared another image of Danielle going through a car wash paired with a heartfelt caption that hit me hard. “now i’m in it is about going through it,” she wrote. “a depression. not leaving the house type of shit.” She went on to call it a “dark hole,” explaining that the new song speaks to the chaos of these experiences, which her and her sisters have all gone through in the past.
The post continued, “after being constantly on the go the past couple years, i didn’t wanna stop and deal with some shit…it seemed like stopping and dealing with these emotions would be letting everyone down. but every time I’ve been depressed- it takes me accepting that I need help, to start to get out of it.”
Considering I’ve been going through another bout of my own depression, probably the darkest since the one I experienced in 2017, I found some of myself in that post and immediately felt a touch of lightness. When your favorite musicians admit they too have been through some gut-wrenching emotions, it’s not unusual for one to feel a little bit more human.
Ultimately, when the video for the song was released last week, there were so many moments that echoed my own current feelings: Danielle sitting at a bar alone looking hopeless (I can’t tell you all the times I’ve been in places surrounded by people and felt a deep sense of loneliness); Danielle working a job as a waitress looking dejected and spilling coffee (there’s been plenty of times I’ve dropped things, spilled things, or fucked things up at my jobs while in the midst of depression); Danielle shopping away her worries at a thrift store (hello, I do this too!).
“I’m alone in my head,” she sings, while the sisters come to her rescue, carrying her on a black stretcher and taking her to the aforementioned car wash. There, as she goes through the wash (i.e. her depression) the sisters standby, watching and waiting patiently. And when she gets out, they wipe away her makeup, help her get changed into different clothes, and fix her hair. Through the visuals and lyrics, they figuratively hold her hand as she moves out of the darkness, just as my friends have done and will do for me while I navigate this heavier period of life.
After that, the three sisters reunite as the power trio we all know and love, again wearing hip outfits and confidently walking the streets of Los Angeles. Arriving at a bar where they converse with people and take shots of alcohol, Danielle, who looks more spirited, peers directly into the camera, as if saying: I made it, I got through it.
This song and its corresponding music video couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Right now, I’m still very much “in it” and going through my own sort of car wash situation, but I know I can make it through to the other side, just as Danielle did.
Now that’s a powerful pop song.