Moss by Maya Hawke album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions



Maya Hawke

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss but Maya Hawke is calling bullshit on this old adage. “Do you want to be a rolling stone?, Hawke recently said, “Movement is cool, but moss is fucking beautiful” and she proves this with her new album Moss, it is fucking beautiful. As Hawke is famous for her starring roles in television and movies, modelling campaigns and famous parents, there are going to be many that will write her musical endeavour off as a mere vanity project.

Let these people believe what they want because it’s going to be entirely their own fault if they miss out on the stunning warmth that Hawke crafts through her songs. Moss, out September 23rd via Mom + Pop, is a beautiful document of a young person trying to understand themselves in an unstable time. Themes of communication and trying to communicate. Sexuality and the complicated feelings that come out of discovering what that looks like to you and wanting to share yours with others. Family, friends, any relationship. It all blends together and sees Hawke exploring, digging through it all, through the complexity of growing up today, in an attempt to understand what it is she needs to take from each of these situations to bloom as the person she wants to be.

From the moment the album begins, the sound of it straddles this line between comfortingly bittersweet and an aching, pit of your stomach intensity that doesn’t let up through the proceedings. Hawke’s voice floats through it all, a reedy soprano that can be as gentle as it can be evocative. “Hiatus” sees Hawke’s grasp on taking everyday observations and making them into something poetic. The gentle guitar and organ humming softly, pulsating through the track while she sings about an idyllic romance, “I say I love Shepard/I want to hear you say “me to”/Say I’m free tomorrow/I wanna hear “what should we do?”/I want a gym routine self obsessed/hardly dressed teen dream/who cares about sunscreen/And loves to make me Wilhelmina scream.” She has an innate ability to pull you into her thoughts and make them relatable to your own experience in this regard. The bouncy bop of “Sweet Tooth” takes things up a notch with its sweet groove and hook laden guitar lines. Even with the heightened feel, the song doesn’t feel out of place on the album in the slightest. Album highlight “South Elroy” takes everything that Hawke has communicated about previously and ties it into a perfectly poetic few minutes. Musically, the tension of the keys pushing up against the guitar while the drums pulse through it all. An uneven relationship where our protagonist keeps up with and yet takes the brunt of the misery. Hawks tells the tale, “I’ve been under since the end of summer/When your flutter by took all the color out of my eyes/Used up all my vibrance on South Elroy drive/When we fought and we fucked and we fought/I always took your side” and she makes you feel it.

Hawke worked with longtime Phoebe Bridgers collaborators Marshall Vore and Christian Lee Hutson on the album and even with this pedigree, this is all her own. Moss is a confidently made piece of work that doesn’t hold back on any vulnerability. With the various mediums in which Maya Hawke is able to communicate her art through, it’s lucky for us that music is one of them. It’s rare to hear something so personal and so relatable. It’s true that we are all going through somewhat the same experiences. Whether it’s watching a rainstorm falling while listening to a record in Jackson, Michigan or making said record in Hollywood, California, the songs featured on Moss help connect and that’s the most beautiful thing there is.

Order Moss by Mays Hawke HERE


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