As we all know, the best things to emerge so far from this fiasco we call 2019 are the Popeye’s sandwich, memes featuring feral hogs and Kamala Harris waving, and Stranger Things Season 3. And being the pleasure-seeking creatures we are, when given the chance to multiply that pure joy brought on by these phenomenons, we take it. So you can imagine where my mind went when I discovered the actors behind the year’s best, most lovable TV duo are also both musicians actively releasing new music.
Last month, Joe Keery, the actor who plays Steve Harrington on Stranger Things and former guitarist in Chicago band Post Animal, released his first single under his solo project Djo, a loopy earmworm called “Roddy,” followed by another song, “Chateau (Feel Alright).” A week later, his counterpart in Stranger Things 3 Maya Hawke (the actress who plays Robin, Steve’s coworker at the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor in Starcourt Mall), released two songs of her own: “To Love a Boy” and “Stay Open.” Neither was too impressive, but still, a whole multi-colored string of lightbulbs began blinking above my head.
If Keery and Hawke already have such incredible chemistry on screen, can you imagine what their voices would sound like together? As one half of the Stranger Things Scoop Troop—aka Steve, Robin, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo, who also sings in a rock band called Work in Progress) and, eventually, Erica (Priah Ferguson)—Keery and Hawke slung ice cream and plotted to take down a team of scheming Russians who were posting up underneath the mall. In the beginning, Steve was still the wisecracking jock and Robin arrived as a smart-alecky cool-girl. Fans shipped a Robin/Steve romance, but they were rewarded with something better: (spoilers!) A two-part arc that rounded out when Robin came out, and Steve earnestly, if sheepishly, offered his support. Their endearing friendship is one of the best parts of the season.
So to Maya and Joe, my message is this: Take that platonic spark you fanned at Starcourt and apply it to another kind of art—your music. It’s a simple plea, but can you imagine the results? Hawke’s rusty alto paired with Keery’s nonchalant droning could be the recipe for a shipper’s dream—and a scheming Russian’s nightmare!
I really want to like Hawke’s new split single, but unfortunately “To Love A Boy” is a flat folk number flourished with trumpet that sounds like generic-brand Lenka (who already sounds like generic-brand Ingrid Michaelson). “Stay Open” shines a little brighter, but Hawke is going to have to reach a little higher if she wants to sound original.
Meanwhile, Keery’s musical experience is serving him well on the new Djo material, which sounds like if 2014-Mac DeMarco hopped on a treadmill while playing “Chamber of Reflection.” It’s entirely plausible that both artists have albums on the way, and Hawke’s voice would sound really lovely against Keery’s woozy synths. I’m just saying!
Of course, I could take this dream one step further and suggest a triple-Stranger Things-cast-member collab featuring Hawke, Keery and Finn Wolfhard, the lead singer in Vancouver-based indie-rock troupe Calpurnia. But Mike was never part of the Scoop Troop. When Matarazzo’s band releases new music, then we can talk.
Hawke released a new music video for “To Love A Boy” on Tuesday. Watch it below.