Maya Hawke
Blush


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
August 22nd, 2020 | 25 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: my life in my hands, a good place to start

You might better know her as Robin from the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, but it turns out that in addition to being an outstanding actress, Maya Hawke can also sing. The daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke delivers what she calls “a collection of secret messages, hidden communications with the people in my life” on Blush, which marks her first proper LP.

Blush has a quiet confidence in its stride, surrounding Hawke’s voice with very little as she does her best Norah Jones impression (the jaunty electric riffs of ‘Animal Enough’ and upbeat country swagger of ‘Crickets’ notwithstanding). The bare arrangements are a complement to her voice, which is nimble enough to meander through all of the record’s introspective verses while also retaining enough power to deliver the occasional knock out chorus. Carefully paced drumming and accentual guitars are the respective flavors of the day instrumentally; nothing here is meant to be flashy enough to detract from the words at hand.

Maya’s secret messages to the people in her life range broadly, but are centered around romance: from suppressed longing (“I'd hold you like soft water holds the sun against the sky / I know that she loves you, so I wouldn't dare to try”) to feelings of completion (“I have nothing to say about love anymore / Love is nothing, I am yours”). However, Blush is at its most illuminating when Maya sings to or about herself – an interesting notion considering that the concept of these songs are “hidden communications”. Accompanied by one of the best pure melodies on the record, Maya sings somewhat disenchantedly “I prefer my dreams of you / To anything you'd ever do” on ‘By Myself’ and it feels like a revelation. We all have goals and aspirations, but here Hawke seems afraid of never fully realizing her potential. It’s a theme she revisits on ‘Coverage’, which addresses how acting can dilute your sense of self: “Growing up a memory, becoming who I used to be / Cover me, uncover you…is that really what I'd do?” What Maya is signing about here is uncovering other characters’ identities as she further buries her own; in an interview with MTV news about this song specifically, she stated: “As an actor, you navigate and spend so much of your life and energy living in other people’s stories, living in other people’s imaginations, love affairs, and the lives of the characters that you’re playing, it can become confusing to your own sense of reality. And if you’re comfortable with your own sense of self, such as living in these dreams of fantasies, are you really ever fully alive in your own life?” So while Blush is by many measures a diary about important people in her life, it’s essential to realize that she’s one of them.

Blush explores the inner workings of Hawke’s mind – one that is weighed down by the pressure of expectations, be it relational or self-imposed. I’m immediately reminded of the opening verse from ‘Animal Enough’, in which she sings “No one is animal enough to take up the space in my mind that I don't wanna occupy”. If there’s a central motif on Blush, it’s Hawke grappling with the aspects of her own life that she either can’t or isn’t willing to confront. Her musical debut ends with one of her most muted ballads in ‘Mirth’, and at one point she emphasizes “my life in my hands, a good place to start”. It feels like the closest thing resembling a solution to her myriad questions and it is to be assertive, be proactive…to dominate the vision you have for your life rather than allowing it to be shaped by external influencers. Submersing herself in this project as an outlet for her doubts is a mighty fine way to start.



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user ratings (24)
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
August 22nd 2020


36095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love the lyrics on this one.

Digging: Nothing But Thieves - Moral Panic

Pangea
August 22nd 2020


4939 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i didn't know she makes music. i will give this a try!

Digging: Paysage d'Hiver - Steineiche

Cormano
August 22nd 2020


2287 Comments


oh dude is it finally out? took like forever

singles leading up to this were great, can't wait to check this out

Atari
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2020


26086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice one Sowing. U really are a machine lol



I really liked the singles but need to dive into the rest



SowingSeason
Moderator
August 22nd 2020


36095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol thanks Atari. It's my addiction I guess.

This album is surprisingly consistent. Only a couple songs blew me away, but every song I enjoyed. The lyrics are key.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2020


26086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Norah Jones was a good comparison. Has that retro vibe. I haven’t paid much attention to the lyrics yet but I just love how this sounds

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 22nd 2020


36095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, yeah I immediately got Norah vibes. The lyrics seem pretty standard at first but then about every 2 songs there's a wow moment. It's also entirely possible that I just read into everything way too much 🤷‍♂️

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2020


12940 Comments


-- my addiction I guess.--

I sympathize with this so much

Pangea
August 23rd 2020


4939 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is nice

NorthernSkylark
August 23rd 2020


10437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[2]

Digging: Holy Motors - Horse

Pheromone
August 23rd 2020


8653 Comments


ethan hawke of before fame's daughter makes music

a reminder of how good the before trilogy rly is

Digging: Swing Kids - Discography

wwf
August 24th 2020


6916 Comments


the first single she released was really good, gonna czech this

kmagnum1x
August 24th 2020


459 Comments


is this cover supposed to look like tom from myspace

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 25th 2020


36095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

By Myself, Coverage, Hold the Sun, Cricket, and Animal Enough are all standouts for me thus far. Hope a few more people check this, it's not groundbreaking but it's got some low key amazing lyrics.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2020


26086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is so smooth and needs more love

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2020


20469 Comments


Hmmmm will probably check

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2020


20469 Comments


If this as nostalgia-core as Stranger Things tho it's just gonna piss me off

Pangea
August 26th 2020


4939 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's not. this is just typical singer-songwriter stuff

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 26th 2020


36095 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"it's not. this is just typical singer-songwriter stuff"

*with better lyrics

Atari
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2020


26086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

better vox, better lyrics, more charm







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