HAIM have returned with a gentle, Lou Reed-inspired single and its Paul Thomas Anderson-directed accompanying video titled “Summer Girl.” The band recently debuted the track live, teasing an official release to come.
Danielle Haim shared in a statement that she began the song when she found out her partner had cancer and wanted to lift his spirits: “I was on tour and felt like I was trying to send positive energy his way almost telepathically. Whenever I would come home in between shows I wanted to be his sunshine—his summer when he was feeling dark. His hope when he was feeling hopeless.”
The telepathic compassion is all over the heartbreaking and vulnerable single, which ebbs and flows with soft percussion, a languid, funky bass and a lilting saxophone riff dreamt up by Rostam Batmanglij. Danielle’s breathy vocals are almost whispered over the unembellished, barebones instrumental: “Under the freeway overpasses / The tears behind your dark sunglasses / The fears inside your heart’s deepest gashes / Walk beside me.”
Danielle noted on Twitter that she and Rostam chose to lean into the song’s vague resemblance to Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” as they were reworking the original demo: “We were kinda joking about how the ‘doot doot doot’ part reminded us of ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and then he put this stand-up bass part on top of the electric bass part and it sounded amazing! The palette was there—v inspired by Lou. And we kept it that way.”
The single arrives with a visual finding the Haim sisters stripping layers of clothes off as they are chased by a wayward saxophonist through downtown Los Angeles.
“Summer Girl” is the band’s first studio single since releasing their sophomore album Something To Tell You in 2017. You can listen to the new single below, along with HAIM’s 2012 Daytrotter Session.