Maya Hawke – “To Love a Boy” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“To Love a Boy” is a soul-stirring journey into the depths of love and self-discovery. The song explores the complex emotions of wanting to experience love as deeply and unreservedly as one might love something as vast and mysterious as the ocean. It’s about the struggle to open up emotionally, to be vulnerable after experiencing heartbreak or disappointment. The song is about the concept of love itself and the challenges that come with it. Hawke delves into the fear of being emotionally exposed, the longing for a connection that matches the intensity of her love for the ocean, and the realization that such a love might be unattainable.

Ever wondered why the ocean is such a powerful metaphor in songs? “To Love a Boy” uses this imagery to explore something deeply personal. Keep reading to discover how Maya Hawke translates the tumultuous waves of emotion into lyrics that resonate with anyone who’s ever dared to love.


“To Love a Boy” Lyrics Meaning

The lines, “I want to love a boy the way I love the ocean,” set a tone of longing – a desire to experience love as vast and profound as the sea. This analogy to the ocean suggests a love that is deep, all-consuming, and filled with mystery.

As we move through the lyrics, Hawke confronts her fears and vulnerabilities. “Wish I was not afraid of all I have that’s broken” speaks to the trepidation of entering new relationships with the baggage of past hurts. It’s a universal feeling, the fear that our broken parts might somehow make us unworthy of love.

“I know I must behave to contain all my emotion” – here, Hawke touches on the societal pressures to conform, to hide our true feelings in fear of being seen as too intense or emotional. This line is a powerful statement about the constraints we often place on ourselves, dampening our true desires to fit into expected norms.

The chorus repeats the theme of yearning to love a boy as she loves the ocean. This repetition emphasizes her deep-seated desire for a fearless and boundless love. However, the lines “I have a feeling, a terrible fear encroaching / That I’ll never love a boy the way I love the ocean” reveal an underlying fear that such a love might be unattainable, a dream too far out of reach.

The latter part of the song introduces a more introspective element. “I ask why it’s better to speak than it is to die” could be interpreted as Hawke questioning the value of vulnerability. Why risk the pain of opening up if it leads to more hurt? Yet, she acknowledges that taking the risk, and embracing laughter and truth, is better than living a lie.

The song closes with a reflection of her own naivety and the harsh realization that no one can fulfill the immense longing she holds. “I was born yesterday, and I’m still wet, still soaking / And I want to love a boy the way I love the ocean” – these lines are a poignant acknowledgment of her own innocence and the ongoing journey to find love that meets the depth of her emotions.

The Story Behind “To Love a Boy”

At the time of writing this song, Hawke was emerging as a young artist, exploring her own identity and place in the world. The song is a snapshot of a young artist grappling with the universal themes of love, vulnerability, and self-discovery.

Hawke’s lyrics are a candid admission of her fears and desires. They reflect a yearning for a connection that transcends the ordinary, a love as deep and unfathomable as the ocean. This desire for extraordinary love speaks to her artistic temperament, always seeking the profound in the mundane.

The song also hints at a personal struggle with vulnerability. Hawke’s admission of feeling like she was “born yesterday,” still wet and soaking, is a metaphor for her inexperience and openness to the world. It suggests a sense of rawness and honesty that is rare in contemporary music.