Featuring pretty pastels and her low, lyrical voice, the masquerade is mxmtoon’s official debut album. mxmtoon (real name Maia) started out anonymously, recording her songs late at night after her parents had fallen asleep. She quickly amassed a large following of listeners drawn by her emotional depth and honest sentimentality.
In the masquerade, Maia’s playful use of unconventional backing instrumentals such as typing noises and the triangle gives the album a particularly refreshing and different twist from her pre-debut songs. What remains unchanged, however, is a confessional style of lyric writing and self-deprecating humour — mxmtoon’s music shows off an unaffected openness which automatically gains the trust of listeners. The self-restrained and passive persona Maia constantly portrays in her music makes its unrestrained honesty even more striking. I personally find it amazing that the artist is able to give off an illusion of intimacy like that which is shared between best friends despite never having met the listener. This reflects the sheer power of her blatant and unapologetic honesty and the way in which it is expressed.
Musically, the upbeat tune lends texture to the slow and dreamlike vocals all while retaining acoustic interest well. Tracks in the masquerade sound almost like free verse poetry in the form of music. Repetitive note sequencing forms a stable foundation for Maia’s immersive storytelling; the way she sings lightly and the conversational style of her lyrics complement the lullaby-melody, overall forming a harmonious relationship.
For instance, when Maia sings “a sheer joy so childlike” in the track dream of you, the lyric flows with the tune and creates a melodic caress that carries her feelings gently to the audience. Carefully written lyrics like these seem to float off the tip of the tongue, especially when they are conveyed in her iconic husky voice. The deceitfully upbeat music almost downplays her lyrical honesty — all in all, mxmtoon’s the masquerade is a must-hear melodic reinforcement for the passive persona who has difficulty admitting her feelings to the people around herself.