Hailee Steinfeld & Grey
These days, it's not surprising when a young actor or actress decides to pursue a singing career. Or when a singer decides to pursue an acting career, for that matter. If anything, it's arguably more surprising when they don't.
Enter Hailee Steinfeld, the latest young starlet to make the leap from one platform to another.
Film fans may be familiar with Steinfeld from her fairly long list of film credits for a 19-year-old woman. She's best known for her Academy Award-nominated performance as Mattie Ross in the 2010 film True Grit. But she's also had roles in Pitch Perfect 2, The Homesman, Ender's Game, 3 Days to Kill and Begin Again, among others.
Now Steinfeld's torn a page out of the Disney handbook, teaming up with brothers Kyle and Michael Trewartha, better known as Grey, to release the sultry, suggestive digital single "Starving."
Hungry Like the Wolf
Hailee's hungry on "Starving." But, as you might have guessed, it's not for food. It's for the appetites her man awakens in her when they're in close proximity.
"I didn't know I was starving 'til I tasted you," Steinfeld sings in the song's chorus. "Don't need no butterflies when you give me the whole d--n zoo/By the way, right away, you do things to my body/I didn't know that I was starving 'til I tasted you."
She also says her guy knows exactly what he's doing to her, suggesting perhaps he's the more experienced partner here: "You know just what to say/Things that scare me/ … You know just how to make/My heart beat faster."
Steinfeld suspects that he might be trouble: "I should just walk away/But I can't move my feet/ … Emotional disaster/Bring on disaster." But she just can't say no to the hunger he promises to satiate, no matter what the cost might eventually be.
"I Was So Much Younger Yesterday"
But there's also a haunting lyric sandwiched in here, too. Steinfeld implies that her new man's influence is one that's "maturing" her very quickly. "I was so much younger yesterday, oh," she repeats wistfully several times. It's a nod—perhaps almost subconsciously—to the fact that surrendering fully to this relationship implicitly means a loss of innocence.
Sure, Steinfeld would likely argue that the trade-off is worth it. She tries to convince us that the ecstasies she's experiencing are so incredible that a bit of yearning for her simpler, less flesh-filled girlhood is a price worth paying.
But I wonder. I wonder how she'll feel when the newness and excitement wears off, when the incendiary relationship eventually burns itself out. Will the trade-off she's made seem so worth it then? Or will she pine more earnestly for what's been left behind in the process?
That's not just a question for her. Increasingly, our culture insists—with young female "role models" such as Steinfeld doing much of the insisting—that sex is the most satisfying experience imaginable, and that getting there as soon as possible is the only path to take.
But how many of those young fans who listen to and watch her (in a video that finds multiple shirtless men caressing and undulating suggestively near her as she shimmies in skimpy outfits) will ultimately express regret that they, too, have sacrificed too much in their headlong pursuit of sexual pleasure?
How many of them might one day say themselves, with real sorrow, "I was so much younger yesterday"?