The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.
I was first introduced to Laufey's music in 2021 with the song "I Wish You Love", when she became well-known to the world by releasing her first EP, Typical of Me. Before this, Laufey had only just released her first song, "Street by Street," in 2020 when she was still in college.
Hearing the soft angelic tones incorporated within the bossa nova and jazz style Laufey wrote was enough for me to become invested in all the music she released afterward. The year of 2022 marked the release of her first album, Everything I Know About Love. From then on, Laufey would write even more singles like her song "From the Start" This is one of the songs in her newest album, Bewitched, which would give her more widespread popularity after the song became a TikTok trend. Laufey has stated many times that she likes writing jazz music in an effort to increase its popularity in the U.S. by appealing to the people of Generation "Z." Failing to be romantic and hardship are the main focal themes of Laufey, and all of the songs and lyrics in Bewitched beautifully represent this. I listened to all the songs in the album right when it was released at midnight on Spotify, and let me say it was a real treat.
A Promise of Serendipity Amongst the Lovesick
Almost all songs in the album have a sense of magic, much akin to many other Laufey tracks. The swooning strings of her acoustic guitar and the sighing backing vocals mixed in with Laufey's iconic soft and deep crooning jazz voice represent failed relationships in a magical and optimistic light in her songs. Regarding her songs, you have those such as “Lovesick,” my favorite song in the album. Unlike most of the tracks in the album, it has a sort of grandeur to it, with the violin strings and drum beats giving it a feel of orchestral vastness in the chorus section, with Laufey's soft booming voice accompanying. It gives a desperate feel to the tone which represents the pain Laufey feels because of being lovesick. You then have songs like ,"From The Start" a more traditional bossa nova song from Laufey. The song starts with percussion that could make anyone tap their feet, followed by brass chimes with lyrics telling how Laufey feels awkward around the person she loves. Finally, you have her songs where soft jazz pop is more focal, like in "Promise," which has lyrics that represent Laufey's inability to get over her ex and thinking she's the reason he left. The song reveals her caving into temptation and reaching out to him.
With all this in mind, I love how Laufey doesn't focus on the same aspects of romanticism. In fact, her song "Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self" discusses how Laufey writes encouraging letters to her younger self to support the self that was discouraged in middle school for many reasons revealed in the lyrics. It’s a song of self-love. "Dreamer,” arguably my second favorite track of the album, delves more into Laufey's introverted side and how she's jaded by aidless chatter. You do have songs that heavily rely on romance, such as "California in Me" which is simply about a boy who leaves Los Angeles and, therefore, his romance with Laufey, which is all detailed by her. This song is accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra, which lends to the orchestral vibe of the song that gave me that sad-song-in-a-Disney-movie feel, further proving that a sense of magic is imbued into these songs. "Bewitched," the title track, talks about Laufey being entranced by someone's presence and being overwhelmed with emotions for the first time and how the situation all plays out. Throughout the lyrics of her music, Laufey used lots of vivid imagery, sort of like other contemporary artists. In "While You Were Sleeping,” she mentions a light pink bouquet, and in "Haunted," rose perfume is discussed, all in a way to visually detail the romantic imagery which the sweet voice of Laufey only heightens. Not only that, but "Haunted" has a beautiful swelling of chords that Laufey often sings in her songs, giving it a beautifully haunting feeling.
In the middle of the album, “Nocturne (Interlude)” appears, which is a spellbinding and beautifully crafted mini-piano concerto showing her roots as an instrumentalist. "Second Best," "Must be Love," and "Serendipity" all imbue themes of feeling in romantic relationships. In "Second Best," Laufey mentions how she sees herself as only second best for a guy. In "Must Be Love," she reveals how time feels slow and shows her moments of anxiety, describing how these must be feelings of being in love. As the title suggests, "Serendipity" talks about the idea of fate in a relationship. These songs, like many of her others, show how she masters singing arpeggios and implements tiny vocal and instrumental riffs in her music. The final track of the album not yet mentioned is the solo cover track "Misty,” originally written by Errol Garner and sung by many famous jazz artists. This song does a great job of showing Laufey's deeper register. Other songs do as well, but it is more noticeable in this one. Overall, the whole album encapsulates sort of a story cut up into songs talking about different aspects of love, the good and bad, which I really enjoy.
An Album Timely Today
Much like Laufey's albums, she gears her songs to a typical audience of helpless romantics, and this album is full of that. Her beautiful voice, combined with the background elements and masterfully written lyrics, helps to move along a sort of cohesive plot. Laufey has always wanted to make jazz appeal to a younger audience, and not only do I think she succeeded with this album, but she will go down as one of the most influential artists ever when the time comes. She only started a career as an artist three years ago and has grown as one so much. Honestly, there wasn't much I didn't like about the album. Sure, maybe there might be too many love ballads for you, but other than that, I suggest anyone try to listen to her music. She really will bewitch you through an emotional journey.
Contact Cameron Tyo with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.