If you’d like to know what encompasses Laufey as a whole, listen to what I was told one day while driving with her on the radio.
The comment made by my own mother wasn't too far off, that’s pretty much the environment Laufey sets with her music. A fairy tale. This wonderland atmosphere is very present in her new album “Bewitched.” Four singles led up to the album’s release on Sept. 8. The 14-track project is a delight. It takes us through love in the 21st century through the perspective of an empowered feminine gaze.
I'd like to start with the opening song, “Dreamer,” and its message that is clear in an unapologetic way. Love will always win and the world can’t take that away no matter how hard it tries. A fitting start as it’s telling of who Laufey is not only in her music but in her presence as an artist. Her whole brand is about the soft angelic beauty love holds and how important it is to keep that love for love alive. She says in the song, “no boy’s gonna be so smart as to try and pierce my porcelain heart no boy gonna kill the dreamer in me.” Explaining no matter how hard love breaks her, she'll never lose that romantic inside. She ties that in with her passion for jazz and classical music introducing those dying arts to a new generation.
The next song worth mentioning is “Lovesick,” as it shows the excellent musician Laufey is not only in her songwriting and presence, but how well-produced and diverse her sound is. Laufey’s roots in jazz and classical and the passion and love she has for these genres seeps into her music. This is so present in “Lovesick,” the song builds up to a grand shift in the chorus leaving a lovely baroque sound flooding listener’s ears. The song itself leaves you with this urge to be running the halls of Versailles hand-in-hand with your lover, indulging in the joys life has to offer.
Highlighting one of the singles, “California and Me” demonstrates that as capable as Laufey is in writing a fairytale dreamland, she can also depict the quarrels and travisties of heartbreak. “California and Me” plays out the sorrow of a lover leaving you to reconnect with a past relationship. It's a soft song with a beautiful sound in collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Again demonstrating how Laufey includes her appreciation for classical music in her work. It's a powerful display of emotion in the most alluring way with its moving chorus and lyrics.
Directly after “California and Me,” “Bewitch” fades into “Nocturne (Interlude),” the only fully instrumental song on the album. “Nocturne (Interlude)” expresses so much with just the beauty of sound. The song combines elements of “California and Me” and “Bewitched,” the title track. It has the pain and sappy beginnings of love all combined into one instrumental piece. It’s almost as if words aren't enough to describe the highs and lows. In my mind it's all the things left unsaid, the melting mixture of confusion.
Continuing, I want to bring attention to the lead single of the album, “From the Start.” The song is a wild, crazy, built-up love confession. Everyone can relate to it and with its jazzy upbeat production you can’t help but dance to it. The song gained quite a bit of popularity on TikTok, which led to it hitting the U.S. top 50 on Spotify and debuting on the global charts.
A great majority of this album was written by Laufey and Spencer Steward, Laufey’s producer, except for the song “Misty,” which is a cover of a Johnny Mathis song originally released in 1959. The song is very well known, with many famous covers over the years from musicians including Ella Fitzgerald, and my personal favorite, Lesley Gore. Laufey’s take on “Misty” displays her ever-enchanting vocals and does the song justice.
Next, we have a very personal song, “Letter To My 13 Year Old Self” and the title track “Bewitched.” “Letter To My 13 Year Old Self” brought tears to my eyes, with lyrics of curly hair insecurities and feeling a stranger in your own body and in a crowd. It’s an outlier in the album, not focusing solely on a romantic relationship, but love all the same. It’s about the self love we gain as we grow and the sorrow-filled nostalgia we feel looking at pictures of our childhood selves. It’s about wishing to go back to tell your younger self it'll all be okay.
Ending the fantastic trip of this album is “Bewitched,” a beautiful effervescent song depicting the life-altering feeling that is falling in love. It’s unapologetically feminine, as is Laufey.
As a whole, “Bewitched” as an album shuffles between the unsettling feeling of new and exciting love and the open wounds that old flames leave behind. It captures love in the 21st century so well without being too specific and having a wonderful nostalgic air to it. Bewitched pulls at the heartstrings every which way the same way love can.
The album is doing amazing in its first week, being the biggest jazz album release in Spotify history and the second biggest global album debut in the week of Sept. 7 on Spotify. Now, Laufey prepares to take off on a sold out tour this 2023.