Alive through Sound: Moss by Maya Hawke

By: JoAnn Snavely

On Sep 23, 2022 Maya Hawke–the Stranger Things and Do Revenge star released her sophomore album, Moss. The daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke has been taking the entertainment industry by storm with both her fantastic acting and beautifully talented musical skills. Her career began as a model until her on-screen debut in 2017 when she played Jo March in the mini-series remake of Little Women. Since then, she’s acted in many iconic roles like her roles in Stranger Things, Do Revenge, Fear Street Part One: 1994, and many more. Her musical career took off from there. She released her first song “To Love a Boy / Stay Open” in 2019 and then released her debut album, Blush, in 2020.

Hawke began her sophomore album’s release with the drop of “Thérèse” in June of 2022. From there, she dropped two additional singles leading up to the album’s eventual release. This album is exceptionally distinctive since the entirety of the album was created drumless; this makes the acoustic aspects of the album take the forefront and adds to the album’s beauty. This is definitely arecord for the fall asit embodies warmth throughout. Whether it’s from Hawke’s profound lyricism or her soothing vocalism, one thing is clear–she has a fresh talent that’s getting ready to dominate the indie scene. 

The album was co-produced by Benjamin Lazar Davis, and they also received help from Christian Lee Hutchson and Johnathan Low. They have combined musical credits for musical projects by Taylor Swift, Gracie Abrams, and Phoebe Bridgers. One thing each of those musicians has in common is that they are the females leading the indie scene, and they all share that similar soprano tone that is ever-so-comforting. This dream team that came together to create this album couldn’t have been a more perfect pairing. 

This album features a collaboration with Will Graefe in their song Crazy Kid. Graefe is another independent musician who released his debut album North America in 2017. This collaborative piece is done so exquisitely with the balance between the two musicians that was developed. Instead of Graefe receiving a chorus and then harmonizing here and there, we received a back-and-forth that almost felt playful. This formed the song into so much more than a song by Maya Hawke featuring Will Graefe, but into a duet shared between the two. This entire album has no skips from start to finish, but here are some of the songs that stick out the most to me on the album:

“Thérèse”

“Thérèse” was the first song released in the album’s promo and is the 8th track in this 13-track masterpiece. This song is based on the ‘Thérèse dreaming’ (1938) painting by Balthus that can be seen in the MET. This entire song tells the story of this painting, and she does it in a way that is so elegant yet alluring simultaneously. This painting was controversial at the time of its release because of its depiction of an 11-year-old girl being so open and vulnerable that it was taboo. The concept that this entire song is based on the painting is such an amazing story and is told stunningly. 

“Driver”

The 12th track on this album, “Driver,” is a piece about the singer’s parents. Hawke’s parents divorced in 2005. This song is one that anyone who grew up with divorced parents can relate to, demonstrating her yearning to have them back together, to have that picture-perfect family seen in the movies. Hawke puts this feeling into words that make this song earth-shattering when listened to from the perspective of someone who grew up with divorced parents. Hawke describes these feelings when she says 

And oh, I can watch it in the movies

I don’t wanna see it that crafted and clear.”

Although her second studio album, this album is such a breath of fresh air with a brand-new feel that I, and many others, have been craving. Hawke is a new name climbing up the indie scene. This release came just in time for fall, making me want to break out my sweaters and light a candle to welcome the season. 

Alive Through Sound

This was the second installment of the Alive through Sound series at the Herald; check out  the last piece in the series: ‘Alive Through Sound: Briston Maroney and Medium Build’ that’s all about the live experience on Briston Maroney’s All Aboard Tour.

Check Out The Album:

Spotify Link

Apple Music Link

Buy It On Vinyl!

CD

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