Maya’s Moss


Stranger Things actor Maya Hawke released her sophomore album on September 23rd, 2022. The 13-track album is titled Moss and follows Hawke’s previous album Blush, both of which fall under the alternative/indie category. Maya Hawke was born in New York and studied acting at Juilliard for a year before accepting her first role as Jo March in Little Women


Moss’ lead single “Thérèse” is a soft song inspired by the painting Thérèse Dreaming by the artist Balthus. The song’s chorus repeats the lyrics “It’s tactless, it’s a test, it’s just Thérèse, it’s just Thérèse”, and Hawke explained that in her head, Thérèse is herself, unsettling to strangers, but beautiful to those who know her. The lyrics of the song describe the story of a painting which features a girl sitting carelessly, maybe asleep, or maybe just daydreaming, a blood stain visible on her undergarments. The painting received immense criticism and, in 2017, was almost taken down from where it hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The musician explains that just like how Thérèse did not belong to those who viewed her, Maya Hawke does not belong to us. 

Moss takes us on a journey of Hawke’s “meditation on rebirth and acceptance”, according to Mom & Pop (Hawke’s label), and is sung softly and seemingly with ease, giving listeners a feeling of wistfulness and calm. Hawke cited Taylor Swift’s Folklore as a main inspiration for the album, and the songs subtly reflect this. The secondary singles, “Sweet Tooth” and “Luna Moth” are melancholy and loving. “Sweet Tooth” touches on the pains of having a sweet heart, always giving in and coming around; “Luna Moth” takes on a sad tone, Hawke crooning “I don’t need anyone to hurt me, I can do that myself” and describing her guilt, wishing she could be “anyone else”. 


The 13 tracks are delicately written, describing everything from a suicide attempt turned mermaid transformation (track 13: “Mermaid Bar”), to a character who has a heart of stone and bleeds glitter (track 3: “Hiatus”). While the songs sound relatively similar, each featuring a soft tune and Hawke’s delicate voice, the songs are written intricately, reflecting Maya’s mind, making each song feel as though the listener is unlocking a different part of the musician’s heart. This album takes listeners to a new and wistful place, and each track feels like a new location, another place to float.