mxmtoon is releasing her new album rising on May 20th, it’s a triumphant return and shows a new, more dynamic and highly danceable side of the 21-year-old artist. It’s hard to believe only four years have passed since Maia’s self-made songs and videos began shaping a new sort of star through mxmtoon. But at least two of those years have, of course, passed like decades, each packed with enough worry and woe and loss and hope to catalyze aging at large. And so it goes with rising, mxmtoon’s bold and compelling and wise second album, a 12-song set that looks at the hardest lessons of these recent dark days and opts to surge forward through triumphs of pop-and-disco confessionalism.
Now she is back with another song titled “victim of nostalgia” a song which examines time and how quickly it moves without us even realizing until it’s too late. mxmtoon tells us “A lot of us have fallen victim to that feeling that time moves too quickly. I feel like I blinked one afternoon and suddenly found myself fully cemented in adulthood, wildly unprepared to take on the future and desperately wishing I could go back in time. “victim of nostalgia” is about missing the blind optimism and warmth that’s so much easier to experience when you’re younger. Wanting to escape back into a time when your worries weren’t so pervasive. Looking into the future can be daunting, and I know I’ve personally really struggled with how fast years can feel in the grand scheme of things. I hope one day it’ll feel easier to accept the passage of time, but for now I definitely find myself as a victim of nostalgia.”
In late 2019, Maia had just finished her first full tour as mxmtoon, and she felt inspired by the prospects of her career and life to come — two new EPs in the making, more shows, a planned move to join her brother in New York. But as the pandemic took hold, she returned to her parents’ home, working to return to her old writing habits in that guest bedroom-turned-makeshift studio. She felt stuck, however, so suspended in time and place she barely wrote anything at all during 2020. What’s more, she lost a cherished grandfather to leukemia, rushing to see him one last time in Florida, and then a beloved grandmother. That’s to say nothing of elections and protests, nationalist revanchism and bigoted violence, enough to beleaguer or age anyone.
Much of rising unfurls from that same premise — mxmtoon’s hallmarked vulnerability buttressed by a newfound musical effervescence and might. These are the songs, as Maia puts it, that she wished existed when she struggled as a teen. They are instruction manuals for surviving, written for young people looking for themselves, but coded as magnetic pop. “growing pains” asks thorny questions about whether we actually improve as we age (or if that’s just what we tell ourselves to feel better) above guitars that shimmer like a sunrise and drums that lift off like rockets. “dance (end of the world)” acknowledges the apocalyptic tenor of our times but finds at least 150 seconds of Gloria Gaynor-style salvation in holding someone (yourself included) close and just moving. “learning to love you” reckons with the exhausting demands of our breathless interconnectedness and funnels the dizziness into a pop sunshower, its namesake chorus rendered as a gleeful collective credo. “frown” gets absolutely funky with absolute existential despair, a pressure-relief valve for the beset mind.
Photo Courtesy: Lissyelle Laricchia