Music Review: mxmtoon

Taking a look at the rapid-growing Chinese American singer.


Nicole Busch

Mxmtoon enjoying herself in her hometown of Oakland, CA.

by Xavier Medina, Assistant Editor

Art comes in many forms and the music industry is one of the biggest ways people express themselves. With people like mxmtoon in the mix, music is given many new looks and remains one of the biggest industries on the planet. While it may not be that popular, the genre of lo-fi is receiving more listeners on a daily basis. 


Mxmtoon, who sometimes goes by Maia, is a Chinese American Singer/Songwriter from Oakland, CA and enjoys making music about life experiences Maia’s had and a way to express what she really feels. Maia released her debut album The Masquerade on Sept. 17, 2019. It includes a total of 20 tracks, half of which are the regular song and the other half are acoustic versions. 


The title, The Masquerade, relates to what Maia calls the “mask” she has to put on to hide what she’s really feeling. “When I first started making music it felt like an escape from my day-to-day life, where I’d have to put on a mask to hide what I was really feeling,” states Maia when talking about the title.


Nicole Busch
Mxmtoon, featured here, is on the rise when it comes to Lo-fi Pop.

When it comes to writing music, Maia states, “Writing songs was a way to express all the things I couldn’t talk about in face-to-face interactions, and share them with a community of people who maybe also needed to put up a façade to get through the day.”


Songs that bring out the track’s unique sound are prom dress, high and dry, and seasonal depression, which also happen to be some of her most streamed songs, prom dress being the most streamed and high and dry being the least streamed. 


Prom dress is a ukulele rich song about Maia’s experience in her senior year of high school, the same time period the song was written. The song is quite upbeat and has a happy sounding tone to it, but the lyrics detail the experience an introvert might go through during the prom season of high school. According to GeniusLyrics, Maia explains how she missed out on many of the “quintessential” high school experiences in the first verse and pre-chorus. When the chorus begins, the first line “I’m sitting here, crying in my prom dress” 


Ryan Yee
Official artwork for the single Prom Dress designed by Maia.

Maia explains was written partially in truth but is also based on a tweet she made during the prom season of 2018. Her thoughts related to the line are, “I just thought there was something about the image of being upset in an outfit that stood for such a “happy” iconic moment of high school.” 


High and dry details an experience Maia had with a toxic and deceptive person, in which she intends to take a stance and stand up for herself. With lines like “Called me a friend and played pretend, but you’ve got it all backwards,” and “you’ll see, that there’s little reward in stinging me like a bee,” she expresses how fake the person has been to her and that it will all backfire on them if they continue to be hateful with the line “Karmas got you high and dry.” With appeals to the audience, Maia shares another life experience in the form of a song that many people can relate to as well as making it enjoyable to listen to. 


Cover art for the single version of high and dry designed by Maia herself. Ryan Yee

With the song Seasonal Depression, Maia wanted to encapsulate the perfect doom and gloom song with the sound of a sunny feeling you would find in the perfect summer movie. “Seasonal depression’ was born to fill this gap I found in music, and create something wonderful. I adore that a song written so gloom and doom can sound like the sunniest musical number of a summer movie. My hope with the song is to provide affirmation to those who find facing certain days beyond difficult, but to simultaneously uplift them from their stormy thoughts. Music can provide comedy, validation, and insight, and I feel strongly “seasonal depression” hits all three wonderfully.” Maia states according to BroadwayWorld Music. Lyrics that take the form of the feeling one might experience in a state of seasonal depression are sung throughout the song, such as “When the sun peeks out, I sit outside, To bask in my tiny bit of a light, To warm the cold that I feel inside.” 


Ryan Yee
Official artwork for the single Seasonal Depression designed by Maia.

Personally, I enjoyed the music she has released and I believe she brings something new to the music genre as a whole.  I highly recommend you check out her music and give it a listen for yourself. With many of her songs gaining popularity day in and day out, Maia’s career is looking to be very successful. All of her music can be found on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube Music.