“Moss” is Maya Hawke’s ode to indie folk


Courtesy of Mom + Pop Music

Maya Hawke has become a figure in the indie folk music scene, with her latest album, “Moss,” drawing upon personal pain through memorable lyricism and soothing instrumentals.

Joey Gonzalez, Life Editor

Known for her role in “Stranger Things” and the recent Netflix success “Do Revenge,” Maya Hawke has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, and she has continually garnered herself new and inventive roles. But, her talents don’t end on the big or small screen, as she recently introduced herself into the world of indie folk music. After listening to her new album, “Moss,” it is clear why Hawke is such a powerhouse, as her talent and personableness are on full display throughout.

Indie folk, as a genre, provides a continually under-appreciated trove of endearing and heartbreaking musical talent. It can make you feel like you want to go camping or drop everything to travel across the country in a van. The genre is also known for its ability to tell stories, with a vibe akin to sitting around a campfire and listening to the artist in the moment. It is able to capture and elicit such raw emotions—whether its gut-wrenching heartbreak or tear-jerking joy—that viscerally draw the listener in. Indie artists often use simplistic folk instruments—mostly acoustic—as well, distancing themselves from the technologically dominated music industry. While indie folk artists aren’t limited to folk instruments, the sound they create often helps listeners retreat from the noises of everyday life, allowing them access to something much more simple and comforting. Hawke’s “Moss” certainly conveys these feelings through her narrative-like lyrics and simple acoustic tunes. In “Moss,” she encapsulates the genre, with the album referencing her past as an industry child. With its personal nature, “Moss” is a distinct step up from her debut album “Blush,” which came out in 2020.

Throughout the album, Hawke is able to portray her vulnerability, showing how she longs for love and struggles with being the child of celebrities. In “Driver,” the simple acoustic tune puts focus on the lyrics of the song, as Hawke sings a melancholy letter to her parents’ love. Her parents, Uma Therman and Ethan Hawke, met on the set of “Gattaca,” and the film portrays a romanticized version of their love. “Driver” rejects the notion of that “crafted and clear” love, instead wishing she were the driver of a taxi so that she could see it for herself. She wishes to be a viewer in her parents’ love but through a real lens, not just one that has been edited and chopped down to something commercial. The song ”Backup Plan” repeats a simple list of lost items, where Hawke wants to “be anything you’ve lost that you might be lookin’ for.” It is about becoming the missing piece in another person’s puzzle and completing them. She uses the metaphor of becoming the items that a significant other needs to conduct their daily tasks, whether she’s a charger or a winter coat in summer storage. This theme is conveyed through such simple lyrics; with the repetition of missing items and acoustic backing, the song feels more wholesome and endearing than its predecessor. Yet, her signature voice permeates the pain of having to transform and give herself up to someone to become what someone else wants them to be. 

Despite being newly introduced to the music industry, Hawke produces the perfect combination of lyricism and tone to convey the themes of each song. She encapsulates the modern indie folk genre in a way that builds on her past pain and carries the listener with her. It isn’t just a depressing acoustic ode to her pain either. She is able to convey her message and the notions of sadness without creating an entirely depressing song. 

“Moss” truly conveys Hawke’s past in such a creative way that you almost forget that you’re listening to someone’s pain. So even if indie folk isn’t your genre, or if you’re just a fan of Hawke’s acting and want more, I recommend popping your headphones on and queuing up “Moss” this fall.