mxmtoon releases debut album


Angela Lim, Staff Reporter

Nineteen-year-old singer/songwriter mxmtoon, also known as Maia, released her debut album entitled “the masquerade” on September 17, 2019. Known for her mellow tunes, this Oakland-based artist calls the ten tracks (excluding the acoustic versions of each one) in her album as “rhyming diary entries,” wherein her most personal thoughts and feelings are delivered to the hearts of listeners.

Creating music has become a creative and therapeutic outlet for her; she talks about how her lyrics represented the things she couldn’t open up about in front of other people, and so, she shares her songs with those who tend to hide behind a facade in hopes to give them solace. Providing an insight on the general feel of the album, four tracks selected from “the masquerade” follow.

On May 30, 2019, a music video of a song that took the internet (specifically TikTok) by storm was released. “prom dress” reveals the unfortunate reality of high school experiences. The lyrics are reflective of the regrets and expectations that have fallen short of what the persona had initially thought of as ideal.

Staying true to her minimalistic, ukulele-incorporated sound, this track gradually builds with more background vocals and elements of percussion added in its succeeding sections while still maintaining a dreamy atmosphere all throughout. There is enough variation in its texture to keep listeners hooked.

Another track on the album, “seasonal depression” has an interesting contrast between its sullen lyrics and energetic instrumentation. The song is calm at first, accompanied by a lone ukulele, followed by brass and some piano, then grows louder with drums and cymbals that may catch some off-guard, the intensity mimicking a change in mood or season with the “rain coming down.” As “seasonal depression” thins out towards the end, mxmtoon comforts her listeners by addressing this as something everyone can experience, acknowledging the difficulty of day-to-day struggles by singing,
“We’re all just trying to get by
Sometimes, it’s hard to wake on up
It takes more than loads of coffee in your cup”

“high and dry” is dominated by the usual staple instrument of her songs, the ukulele. It talks about a final encounter with a friend who is toxic, “throwing empty threats” at the persona. After realizing that this person has still not changed (despite being given the chance to), she finally musters up enough courage to assert herself and “not let this one by.” Overall, this song is simple but meaningful; it’s something that is easy to listen and sing along to, as well as learn due to its straightforward chord progression.

Lastly, “blame game” is a song that is in a swinging compound meter, going back and forth like its lyrics. A slow, spacious track, it gives emphasis on Maia’s heavenly layers of vocals. It’s about a weakening relationship between two people due to unreciprocated time and effort. Throughout it all, the persona decides who is to blame for its outcome— either her lover who has shown indifference or herself who has fallen for them anyway. The song has a bitter ending, saying
“I put my heart into us, and I was the one to crack it in two.”

mxmtoon is currently on a US and UK tour. On September 22, it was announced that all 21 North American shows of “the masquerade tour” were sold out.