Maya Hawke Drops New Single “Thérèse” Off Forthcoming Album ‘Moss’

Stranger Things actor and singer-songwriter Maya Hawke released the first single from her forthcoming album, Moss, due out September 23. The single, “Thérèse,” has everything, from dreamy strings to heavy guitar solos and beyond that, the new song is an ekphrastic poem. 

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An ekphrastic poem is poetry about visual art, something that Hawke masters in her introspective new single about a 1938 oil painting by French artist Balthasar Klossowski (otherwise known as Balthus), titled Thérèse Dreaming. The painting is of Thérèse Blanchard, a twelve-year-old girl at the time, sitting in a chair, stretching, with her cat drinking milk beside her. The paintnig hangs at The Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and is considered a highly controversial painting due to the sexual and vulnerable nature of the young girl. 

Hawke creates something deeper than the physical painting, however, because in Thérèse she sees herself. The 23-year-old’s soft vocals are about the relatability of growing up in the public’s eye. Get her down, take her off the wall,” Hawke sings about the young girl in the painting, and even more so, of herself. To Hawke, she is just as much “just Thérèse” as she is just Maya. 

The uneven whispers in the chorus take a concept that feels haunting and makes it natural. The track’s imagery, from a stained dress to a kitten in the corner, has you observing both the painting and the musician. Hawke objectifies herself before anyone else can, reclaiming herself as she sings, Thérèse does not belong to you.

Hawke’s single is just like a painting: ephemeral. One looks at a painting for as long as they listen to a song, which is not long at all. Yet, the rarity in Hawke’s vocals tells us that those fleeting moments often have a lingering aftertaste. 

Perhaps the most beautiful part of “Thérèse” is Hawke’s ability to release the track to the world while making it solely for herself. The actress vulnerably sings, I guess Thérèse was just for me, a quiet I keep on keeping. Hawke reminds us that there is nothing wrong with having something intimate for yourself. “Thérèse” may have been released to us, but it is a song for Hawke.

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

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