Danielle, a member of the band HAIM, had this to say about writing the new song “The Steps”: “We wanted to write something we could really perform — something up-tempo that felt like a karate kick to the face” (via Entertainment Weekly). Anyone who has heard the song can probably attest that if this was, in fact, HAIM’s aim, the band certainly succeeded. “The Steps” feels like joyful pop, sounds reminiscent of the best of the Indigo Girls, features a few guitar riffs that hearken back to Beatles-era rock and roll, and yet, it’s a sound that is somehow all their own.
And being “all their own” is something this trio of sisters is proud of. “It kind of just felt like therapy to scream the line, ‘You don’t understand me!'” band member Alana told Entertainment Weekly. “I remember when we were writing it, we would just scream ‘You don’t understand me!’ and see how it felt.” But what exactly do the rest of the lyrics mean?
What the song is about
The title of the song “The Steps” is also a lyric that repeats several times throughout the piece of music, and the listener comes to understand that the vocalist is expressing progress she is making in her life (via Song Meanings and Facts). She sings about “making money for myself” and “taking the steps” to improve her own situation and work toward her dreams.
And yet, while the listener understands the singer is proud of the ways in which she is moving forward, it sounds as though there is a person, perhaps a romantic partner, who is trying to hold her back in some way or simply isn’t understanding her purpose or drive behind these “steps” she is taking. So the progress in her own life is creating strife in the relationship with this person.
This is a struggle many of us can relate to, and perhaps that’s why it was so therapeutic for the sisters to scream, “You don’t understand me!” It’s very theraputic for listeners to belt out in their car, too!
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