Maya Hawke: Moss Album Review


Maya Hawke’s success in stranger things and recent teen comedy-drama Revenge solidified her as a promising new presence in Hollywood, or at least on Netflix. But she found another foothold in low-key indie folk. Hawke’s second album, Moussesequel to his 2020 debut To blush, pits endearing, melancholy self-reflection against warm, drumless instrumentation. She narrates each song in a white-smoke soprano, looking at herself and others with eyes that are both critical and caring.

Hawke created the album’s intimate, isolated sound with production assistance from Christian Lee Hutson and Jonathan Low, whose respective previous credits include Phoebe Bridgers. Punisher and that of Taylor Swift folklore. “We made sure that every sound we used on the record was used three times,” Hawke said in a recent maintenance. The recurring musical characters foster a heartwarming, if somewhat monochromatic, sense of familiarity. The acoustic ethos of the campfire doesn’t inspire much risk-taking, but the minimalist palette provides a calming backdrop for Hawke’s ideas and brings her closer to forming an established identity as a musician. There is less uncertainty in his direction now; she doesn’t, for example, try to emulate glam-rock swagger, as on To blush“Enough animals”. In place, Mousse sticks to an indie-folk diaristic route, a style that aligns well with Hawke’s intimate storytelling.

Through Mousse, Hawke’s earnest and heartfelt lyricism interweaves the public and the private, straddling reality and fiction to reflect how she had to negotiate the two spaces of life. “All I really want is an actor of my own,” she sings on the sweet “Hiatus,” punctuating a bittersweet love story with references to director Richard Shepard and Wilhelm’s scream. . In the heartbreaking “Driver,” she shares a wide-eyed plea to see her parents kissing in the back of a cab (in real life, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke split when Maya was 5). “Oh, I can see it in the movies,” she admits, but “I don’t want to see it that clear and concise.” On the lovely “Sweet Tooth,” she sings, “I saw a movie everyone hated in an empty theater in Duluth/Swear I really loved, love is a better thing to do.” It’s the kind of deep, obvious statement that adulthood often forces us to forget, and it unfolds as smoothly as a pen she’s dropped.

This childlike introspection of the industry reveals a degree of maturity that shines through even in the simplest premises, like the understated “Luna Moth.” Using her reliable acoustic guitar, Hawke describes how she accidentally killed the titular creature. She’s sorry; she had only come to the bathroom to cry. “I don’t need nobody to hurt me / I can do it myself,” she sings, and her airy, down-to-earth speech feels like she’s finally expressed that. thought out loud. Against a softly arpeggiated guitar that conjures up images of a dewy morning, Hawke opens “Backup Plan” by listing mundane items: “Your pencils/Your dress socks/Your charger/Your bike lock.” It’s a seemingly innocuous series until she ties them up with a ribbon: “I want to be everything you’ve lost and could ever look for.” The words encapsulate the feeling of offering yourself to someone (or, perhaps more importantly, yourself), only to hope they won’t be careless with you.


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