Reviews

Haim Serves Hot Commentary in “Man from the Magazine” Music Video

California sister trio Haim have released their official music video for “Man from the Magazine,” and it takes place at one of the most famous delis on the West Coast. Yep! The video — directed by Paul Thomas Anderson — showcases Danielle working behind the counter of the renowned Canter’s Deli in sunny Los Angeles, California.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the sisters’ latest work, “Man From the Magazine” is a track featured on their latest album Women In Music Pt. III, which dropped in June. The album offers a deeply personal account of real-life issues faced by sisters Este, Alana and Danielle with health, loved ones, and work. This particular song shares some of their worst experiences with sexism in the music industry.

The video opens with Danielle front and center with an extensive collection of salami. As her first customer starts to rattle off his order, she begins singing. “Man from the magazine, what did you say?” she asks. “Do you make the same faces in bed?” The ethereal vocals and speaking parts are edited together in competition with each other, with male customers dully listing their extensive orders as Danielle insists, “I don’t want to hear ‘it is what it is, it was what it was.'”

Danielle doesn’t stop moving for the duration of the two minute video, working through the discomfort, much like women in the music industry do when faced with sexism. “Man from the music shop, I drove too far / For you to hand me that starter guitar,” she sings. “‘Hey, girl, why don’t you play a few bars?’ / Oh, what’s left to prove?” She deftly weighs, packs and hands off orders in a way that makes it clear she’s familiar with the task. Like the quick story-telling, there’s no time to dispute the assumptions made about her in the short encounters.

The harsh contrast of the simple folk sound and daily shop bustle make the video feel more personal; you’re experiencing the discrimination in Haim’s collective stories while they’re being told. Satisfied with their ordering, the customers stand at the counter and watch as Danielle impassively measures pastrami and pickles.

Not only does the concept of the video provide a compelling analogy for how belittling the experiences in question felt for the members of Haim, but it also provides a glimpse at what most women in the service industry experience every day. The deli setting, both familiar and nondescript, could be found anywhere. The simplicity of the video itself allows the viewer to recall similar forms of hostility in their day-to-day life, creating a parallel that unites an entire gender in a fight to be seen as equals despite stereotypical roles perpetuated by sexism.

Women In Music Pt. III opens a direct connection to Este, Alana and Danielle Haim as individuals behind their diverse, introspective music. The lifting of the curtain is extended into the intimate yet commonplace experience featured in the music video for “Man from the Magazine.” Together with Anderson, Haim has perfectly portrayed the slow-simmering frustration felt by women in not only the music industry but any workplace typically defined by gender.

Photo Credit: UMG, SME (on behalf of Polydor Records)

[wordads]