So far, Maya Hawke has been living an incredible year. Back in May, we saw her return as the fan-favorite Robin Buckley in season four of Netflix’s most popular series, Stranger Things. Two weeks ago, the teen comedy Do Revenge, directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and costarring Hawke and Camila Mendes, hit the streaming service, and it instantly became a hot topic on social media. Last but not least, Maya released her sophomore album, Moss, last Friday. The record includes the previously released singles “Thérèse” and “Sweet Tooth.”
In an interview with NME, Hawke stated that she wrote the majority of Moss from her high school self’s point of view. Furthermore, she explained that the album features “songs I wish I’d written when I was 15. In the acting world, you often get cast to play 14 at 16, 16 at 20. What’s cool about that is you know a lot more about what it means to be 14 when you’re 16, so I’ve been taking that ethos and using it in my music.”
Maya starts Moss with “Backup Plan,” a peaceful love ballad that sets the tone for the rest of the album. In it, Hawke sings “I wanna be anything you’ve lost that you might be looking for,” declaring her feelings to her potential lover. “Backup Plan” is definitely a strong start to the album, and it welcomes the listener into a fascinating journey.
Throughout Moss, Maya’s great storytelling shines. The musician paints vivid pictures for the listeners with every lyric. In tracks like “Bloomed Into Blue” and “Mermaid Bar,” Hawke’s use of magical imagery shows her passion for writing and makes her talent bloom right in front of us.
Maya revealed that her main inspiration for this record was Taylor Swift’s Folklore. The musician explained that she wanted the album to feel smooth. “The idea that you can both run to it and also fall asleep to it on an airplane is how I feel about Folklore and what’s so amazing about that record. I wanted it to feel like it could be part of a dream.” She definitely achieved it.
One of the best songs in Moss is also the one that feels the most personal. In “Driver,” the musician reflects on her parents’ divorce. Hollywood stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman met on the set of 1997’s Gattaca, and they had two children together, Maya and Levon.
In the song, Maya admits that she likes to imagine what her parents were like when they were dating. She sings, “loosely necking in the back of a taxi cab / I’d give everything I’ll ever have to see them happy / Kissing just like that.” Hawke also acknowledges that she can “watch it in the movies,” but that’s not quite what she wants. Maya specifies that she doesn’t “wanna see it that crafted and clear / Wanna be the pervert driver / Gazing at them through a tilted mirror.”
To finish the record off, Hawke tells the story of a character who attempts suicide by jumping off a bridge but instead transforms into a mermaid. “Mermaid Bar” is the perfect ending for Moss as it feels like an invitation from Maya for the audience to stay around and listen to her music. For first-time Maya Hawke listeners, the lyrics “come to hear our song / come if you’re in awful, bad trouble / come if you’re certain you don’t belong” are a warm welcome to the fanbase.
All in all, Moss is a great follow-up to Maya’s debut album Blush, and it proves that Hawke is not only a talented actor but also a gifted musician and writer who’ll accomplish more great things. You can listen to “Driver” and stream Moss below.
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