I had high hopes for Maya Hawke. The “Stranger Things” actress and nepotism baby released a singer-songwriter album back in 2020, but she’s just now getting attention because of season 4 of the Netflix hit series.
There’s a reason that album didn’t get much attention before now though.
“Blush” is a cute album. I won’t deny that. It is the musical equivalent of Glossier’s cloud paint in shade puff. Basically, there isn’t a lot of substance, but it sounds very pretty.
The first track, “Generous Heart,” sets the tone for the rest of the album, boasting the best lyrics on it. This is the most complex song, with Hawke breathing “love is nothing, I am yours” throughout the chorus.
The rest of the songs blend together, creating a mush of Norah Jones-inspired background music. Few differences set the songs apart since the subject matter is almost identical for every track. “By Myself” teases some artistic lyrics with the phrase “I prefer my dreams of you to anything you’d ever do.”
I began to get annoyed after the fourth song, “Animal Enough,” which does sound like she’s having fun with the musical process. But, everything sounds the same. Every song is very formulaic: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, guitar solo, chorus. And they all go on for about 45 seconds too long.
Oddly enough, Hawke uses kids as background vocals for two songs back-to-back. “Cricket” and “Menace” are about the same feeling: growing up and changing while still holding on to the feeling of being a child. My rule of thumb is one usage of kids for background vocals per album. Both Gorillaz and Pink Floyd are great examples of it. Use kids as vocals more than once and it becomes cliche.
“Goodbye Rocketship” breaks the formula by being a little bit more interesting. The lyrics feel more relatable. They don’t draw from a romantic relationship either, making it one of the few tracks to talk about other kinds of love. It could be considered a diss track against her parents, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, but I interpret it as just a daughter complaining, as every person is allowed to.
The final track, “Mirth,” sounds like how she wrote the songs. This is the most authentic track on the album in my eyes, showcasing the process over the production.
I don’t think this album is worth analyzing too much. It is a nepotism baby album — she did it because she can and because she has access to these amazing production connections. I would recommend this as a background album. It’s perfect as a soundtrack for a game of cards with friends, studying for a big test or pretending to be a barista on a Sunday morning.
If you like singer-songwriter albums by women with breathy vocals, listen to “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones. You don’t need to listen to Maya Hawke.