The show Stranger Things on Netflix has birthed an entire troup of musicians with six of the main cast members having music careers. While the most popular songs come from Finn Wolfhard’s Calpurnia and Joe Keery’s Djo, actress Maya Hawke is quickly rising in the ranks with her newest album MOSS.
In 2020 her debut album Blush introduced her into the music scene with a folk-rock sound, drawing inspiration from female artists like Fiona Apple and Joni Mitchell. Now as she finds a muse in Taylor Swift and her album Folklore, Hawke has improved upon her past music and created a clearer voice for herself.
With airy vocals, Hawke sets up the album theme with “Backup Plan,” blending reality and fiction into her own dream world just like in the movie sphere she was raised in by famous parents Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. “Bloomed Into Blue” continues this as she reads out a scene description like spoken poetry.
The next song, “Hiatus,” places an emphasis on intimate acoustic guitar as Hawke sings about wanting a relationship with an actor like her parents. To make the song even more raw, it ends with a clip of her speaking and asking to hear the recording. “Sweet Tooth” then switches out of indie and into a little bit of her old folk sound.
Will Graefe features on the next track “Crazy Kid,” which is the least unique of the album and loses a bit of the charm as it becomes too repetitive. However, “Luna Moth” changes quickly back into poetry singing, only weakened by Hawke’s slightly unsteady vocals.
The two best songs on the album come next with “South Elroy” giving a lively tone in Hawke’s otherwise melancholic theme and “Thérèse” telling such a captivating story that it’s solo release created excitement around the album before its drop. These both show listeners Hawke’s vocal personality that is unfortunately lacking in some of the other songs.
“Sticky Little Words” is not as strong, but it succeeds in not falling back into the light song-poetry of the first few tracks. While “Over” does have more dynamic instrumentals, the theme of the song is repeating words which is easy for the listener to be ‘over’ before the end.
One thing “Over” has, however, is clear vocals, which “Restless Moon” cannot boast, as Hawke’s voice becomes shaky. The ending tracks “Driver” and “Mermaid Bar” are pleasant and simple, finishing the album with more self-reflection on her childhood. They both feature an acoustic guitar and are a nice conclusion to the journey through Hawke’s dream world.
With a unique sound and innovative songs, Maya Hawke is slowly establishing a place for herself in the indie genre. Her voice, however, needs improvement with some songs having a clear tone and others taking shaky hits as she tries to make her voice too light. There is a dazzling quality to her music though that has great potential and sets up success for her next album.
Photo credits from: https://genius.com/albums/Maya-hawke/Moss