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HomeCultureAlbum Overview: Maya Hawke, 'Moss'

Album Overview: Maya Hawke, ‘Moss’


When Maya Hawke wrote about all types of affection on her debut album Blush, she had a method of tangling it up in metaphor. “You possibly can’t scare me away,” she sang on ‘River Like You’, “I’ve tamed the moss upon the rocks/ And molded the pink clay.” The music stood out in a set about rising up that was by turns wistful and eccentric, taking us by her early life with diaristic lyrics that had been generally instantly plucked from these years in her life. Hawke revisits that metaphor on its follow-up, Moss, an album that displays on the identical time period with the readability of maturity and distance, which all the time feels higher than it’d truly be. “Within the appearing world, you typically get forged to play 14 at 16, 16 at 20 – what’s cool about that’s you already know much more about what it means to be 14 if you’re 16,” Hawke mentioned in a current interview. “So I’ve been taking that ethos and utilizing it in my music.” The outcome is an excellent file that showcases her progress, honing in a specific model of indie people whereas protecting in keeping with Hawke’s poetic but affecting songwriting.

Each sonically and structurally, Moss is extra targeted and cohesive than its predecessor, which used its number of sounds as extra of a playground to discover Hawke’s musical sensibilities. It started as a collaboration with Okkervil River’s Benjamin Lazar Davis, who’s attuned to the rhythmic move and emotional subtleties of Hawke’s poetry and helps carry it to life. Because the songs bloomed right into a full-length’s value, they enlisted guitarist Will Graefe in addition to Phoebe Bridgers collaborators Christian Lee Hutson and Marshall Vore; Graefe additionally supplies further vocals on a couple of tracks, and Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy even makes an look on ‘Backup Plan’. Jonathan Low, who blended Taylor Swift’s folklore, additionally blended Moss, which clearly goals to sound like a cross between that album and Punisher. Moderately than making an attempt to reverse-engineer what a trendy indie album feels like in 2022, although, Hawke and her collaborators use this palette to evoke the hushed intimacy and playfulness that run by her songwriting, every adornment making it really feel like a deliberate growth from her stripped-back debut.

For one factor, there are well-written and melodically resonant songs that wouldn’t really feel misplaced in both of Swift’s 2020 releases. The pre-chorus of ‘South Elroy’ provides a glimpse of that Swiftian magic, however not sufficient to distract from the music’s personal character; ‘Loopy Child’ comes extremely near the Bon Iver duets however doesn’t really feel like cosplay. Moss is at its finest when it zeroes in on the distinctive idiosyncrasies and self-aware allure of Hawke’s songwriting. On ‘South Elroy’, she contrasts the sunshine, delicate tone of the music with strains like, “After we fought and we fucked and we fought/ I all the time took your facet.” ‘Candy Tooth’ has an nearly sing-song high quality, however the joyful sentiment at its floor – “I’m grateful for every thing you place me by/ It’s the one purpose now I’m any good to speak to,” she sings, more likely to her mom – is undercut by ambiguous, dreamlike photographs of decay and loneliness.

What marks Hawke’s lyricism is partly this knack for the surreal, and Moss is shot by with a sort of giddy creativeness that’s pleasant to observe. ‘Thérèse’ takes inspiration from Balthus’ 1983 portray Thérèse Dreaming and drifts right into a hazy meditation on private autonomy and public notion; like essentially the most compelling songs on the album, it looks like a mild if barely unsure dance. The story of ‘Bloomed into Blue’ is draped in alliteration, however Hawke cleverly saves essentially the most piercing line for final: “I’ve beliefs in my mind, I’m a bottomless sea.” There’s a darkness edging by the album that not often scans as easy melancholy, and the wealthy preparations present greater than an ornamental flourish. An electrical guitar bleeds by ‘Luna Moth’, a music about inflicting ache that blurs the road between reminiscence and fantasy; on ‘Sticky Little Phrases’, a bitter realization is accompanied by the rise of bass harmonics that create an uneasy impact.

Hawke juxtaposes these fluttery, stressed moments with stark vulnerability and resolve. “I do know you bleed glitter and have a coronary heart of stone/ However all I really need is an actor of my very own,” she admits on ‘Hiatus’, which notably shies away from utilizing an excessive amount of figurative language. Equally, ‘Driver’ avoids alluding to the singer’s life within the highlight by veiled references – what makes it putting isn’t that you already know precisely who she’s referring to when she imagines her mother and father “loosely necking at the back of a taxi cab,” however the best way she then traces her ideas into the story. “Now I’ll inform you a secret,” she leans in at one level, although she’s clearly other than whoever she’s speaking to. “A secret that everybody already is aware of/ You remind me of my father/ Your angle/ Your matted garments.” Earlier than you already know it, she takes us again to that well-known proverb – “a rolling stone gathers no moss” – and also you surprise if freedom, this fixed motion, results in extra happiness than alienation. Both method, Hawke doesn’t let the confusion restrain her. “Oh my god, I gotta gradual it down one way or the other,” she reminds herself on the finish of ‘South Elroy’, discovering magnificence within the stillness.

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