“OMG Her Face!”: America Reacts to Haim’s SNL Performance


When the previously unpublished excerpt from Fader‘s interview with Haim made the rounds this week–the one where Este Haim shares a painful memory from high school of a teacher telling her she’d never make it on Saturday Night Live–we got a little mushy in the feelings place, because hey, Haim made it to SNL!

Danielle, Este and Alana Haim have spent the bulk of 2013 touring behind Days Are Gone before the record’s official drop in September, and “The Wire,” the catchy as all get-out single off of their official debut, has worked its way into radio programming across the country. They’re a love ’em or hate ’em band to be sure. Fans fall to pieces over their mighty live chops, unabashedly earnest appreciation for ’80s and ’90s R&B hooks no matter how cheesy and their intensely approachable lyrics. Critics write ’em off as a knock-off Wilson Phillips and a band that banks on mediocre pop tropes.

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We’re of the former camp, and when Haim made a cameo in a sketch devoted to The Outfield’s “Your Love” with keytars in hand, we were donezo–and then they played. And they were great.

First up, “The Wire.” Let’s get the “fumble” puns out of the way now, ’cause they’re easy: Danielle kind of tripped her way through the whisper-sung first verse, with Alana and Este anchoring the money-maker on their harmonies and strong vocal lines. “The Wire” serves as a great lesson in hard and soft, with shredding solos, shouts and a belted-out chorus offering up a hearty contrast to the song’s steady, hushed opening measures. Truth be told, they didn’t “fumble” when they came down to “The Wire” at all.

One of the most endearing qualities of Haim’s is that they’re not perfect, and it’s totally fine! So Danielle’s voice can get a little loopy when she’s singing in her lower register and she’s got some weird Cher/Patti Smith hybrid-thing going on when her tone delves into wonky territory. It’s the imperfect affectations on their infectious pop hits that ground them and grit them up, and it’s something they embrace–and something that worked especially well in their SNL performance of “Don’t Save Me.” At times, Danielle got caught up in her own chorus, but the track’s sunny disposition–and Danielle and Este’s great harmonies and back-and-forth–saved it, cowbells, Cher-esque “HA-A-A-A-O-o-o-o”-es and all.

Popular topics on Twitter surrounding Haim’s performance: Este’s facial expressions. Girl’s an expressive singer to be sure, but was that really the only talking point about their SNL set? Nope. Here are the rest.

First, there was some confusion as to who was playing SNL exactly, but it definitely wasn’t a ham sandwich.

Jessie Ware’s a huge Haim fan, apparently, and sent her regards from across the pond.

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When the SNL cast is gushing about their host and musical guest for the week, you know that big giant bear hug at the conclusion of the show was a legitimate love fest.

We’d be into this:

No idea what this is about:


Questlove was a fan of Este’s “facialisms” …

… and everyone else couldn’t get past them, really.

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