Maya Hawke, is widely known for her role on the Netflix show “Stranger Things” as Robyn, the first openly queer character on the show. She is also seeing a lot of fame for her lead role in the movie Do Revenge. She lined up the release of her sophomore album, Moss, perfectly with the successful release and media of the movie. Maya creates quirky indie folk music! To go along with her original songs she’s released a handful of music videos that look like she directed them with her friends.
She co-produced the album with Benjamin Lazar Davis; it also had a little help from Christian Lee Hutson and Jonathan Low. Benjamin has toured with Lake Street Dive and is a permanent member of Okkervil River. Christian is a musician from Los Angeles, he is probably best known for being a member of The Driftwood Singers. Jonathan is a grammy award-winning engineer who has worked on several huge projects including Phoebe Bridgers’ last album Punisher and has worked with many other notable artists.
Lyrically the album is a reflection of her formative years. Like many of us, she looks at her childhood with affection but critical self-reflection. She’s said in a handful of interviews that this was partially inspired by having to play younger characters than herself. Playing these young characters has made her reflect on what it was like to be that age.
She has a sweet and wispy voice, laid over delicate instrumentals. My first thought as I began the album was that it reminds me of The Magnetic Fields. They’re a classic example of quirky indie songwriting. What I mean by this is it reminds me of the foundations of indie-folk music. I would say it is true to the genre, whereas a lot of artists have been trying to push the boundaries of this genre. I mean don’t fix it if it’s not broken.
As I expected the album is comparable to a series of diary entries. I would say her opinions of her parents and her fame shows a very mature and reserved young woman. In a way, this album gives us a look into her personal life and thoughts. I would say the album is vulnerable as well as vague, I mean she can’t give away all her secrets in the writing. Her writing style has been described as surreal, but I would say she creates abstract narratives with occasional sharp details.
Sonically the album is not acoustic but stripped back to minimal and thoughtful instrumentation. There are occasional harmonies provided by Benjamin or Christian. Overall the striped instruments match the intimacy of the lyrics. I can imagine her playing these songs at open mics in local coffee shops.
I was pleased to see that the album is receiving a lot of positive reviews and I’m excited to see what’s next for her in the indie-folk music world. Of course, she’s going to continue to grow as a wildly successful actress.
If you love indie-folk you’re going to love this album!
Take a listen to it below: