There seems to be a comeback of eighties-ish pop synth rock in the past couple years. It may not dominate the mainstream, but it’s close, lurking all phosphorescent, moody, upbeat. Even the soundtrack from the bloody film Drive featured moody, poppy, synthy vibes. Gotye and his incredibly popular song from last year, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” flooded the airwaves incessantly and now there’s the terrific Blood Orange and suddenly very popular Haim (amongst many others).
Haim’s whole album Days are Gone is tight from start to finish. It’s pop, its unique, nearly R and B, and it’s fun. And it’s also a girl-power-three-sisters-trio. My favorite song on the album, one I’ve been listening to incessantly over the past couple weeks is, “Don’t Save Me.” It’s perhaps their second or third most popular song, next to “Falling” and “The Wire.” The basic premise of the song is, as per the song title, “Baby, Don’t Save Me,” but there’s a caveat. “If,” and it seems a big If, “If Your Love Isn’t Strong.” So, “Don’t save me now (if you’re love isn’t strong).
From the first couple of listens of the song you hear the much larger cry of “Don’t Save Me” as opposed to the quieter, parenthetical “If.” The cry of “Don’t Save Me” seems to be a fist of feminism in the face of the old idea that women need a man to come along and “save” them It’s a concept familiar to most of us, while views on the subject differ tremendously. But the lyrics seems to proclaim, highlighted by rocky guitars and echoing drums that, I do not need to be saved. I’m quite fine with how I am thank you very much.
However, it’s not like the Haim sisters or perhaps just main singer Danielle (lead singer) are completely opposed to being saved. After all, the reverse negative of the statement “Don’t save me, if you’re love isn’t strong.” Is “Save me, if you’re love is strong.” She sings later,
“If I have to beg for your love
(again, and again and again)
Tell me, tell me
Oh will it ever be enough?
Will it ever be enough? Is anything ever enough? No. But she/they just want love like we all want love. But we want love that is meaningful and strong, not rooted in some since of patriarchy or ancient male: strong, woman: weak sort of archetypes.
The song’s meaning could be interpreted either way gender-wise or perhaps even be gender-less. The whole idea of “saving” someone has a tendency to be rooted in condescension and in the grips of one’s own ego. If you started dating someone and told them straight up, no ice, that you wanted to “save” them, a second date would be a distant chance.
So if you say you’re gonna save someone, you better mean it. Enough messing around.