The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

“Bewitched” review: A magical love at first listen

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Lizzie Miller

Maturing her characteristic jazz sound in her sophomore album, Laufey’s “Bewitched,” released  Sept. 8, is a yearning soliloquy for a forgotten, classical love. The 14-track album is uplifted by catchy melodies and a hopeful tone, bringing back the forgotten jazz genre with a pop twist perfect for modern audiences. “Bewitched” is the ultimate soundtrack for a naive love story, even if its fictional perfection is only in your imagination.

Laufey, an Icelandic jazz singer and songwriter, made waves with her debut album “Everything I Know About Love” in 2022. This first album garnered recognition with viral hits “Valentine” and “Falling Behind,” both of which found marginal internet fame as TikTok sounds. Social media notoriety appears to be a pattern for Laufey, as “From the Start,” a pre-released single from “Bewitched,” has gained 91.3K uses as an audio in TikTok videos as of September 2023. Laufey’s career continues to challenge the perception of jazz, growing her fanbase as she develops her sound.

From the start (pun intended), Laufey’s album refuses to pull punches with its first song, “Dreamer,” an unapologetically swing-esque song that helps her set the record straight. Even if Laufey’s discography gives the impression she’s merely a naive romantic, as she says in the first track, “no boy’s going to kill the dreamer in me.” The upbeat tempo is complemented by self-assuring lyrics, declaring to the listener that the narratives she crafts in her music are for her, not for the boys she sings about.  

Laufey’s ability to acknowledge the wistful sighs and the exhausting heartache of love is what makes her a memorable storyteller. As soon as you get sick of the saccharine sweet love songs like “When You Were Sleeping,” she hits you with something sadder and heavier like “California and Me” to remind you of the loss associated with the vulnerability of love. This dichotomy of experiences characterizes the entirety of the album. It succeeds in its dreamy lullabies as much as it does in its darker ballads.

“Bewitched” excels most in “Haunted” and “Letter To My 13 Year Old Self.” The first of which holds a deeper, longing sound that can only be pictured in a dim jazz club while tipsy on red wine. The refined sound wallows in mourning so grand and great you almost pine for Laufey’s pain just to fully understand the feeling. “Letter To My 13 Year Old Self” is the complete opposite, detailing Laufey’s desire to comfort her 13-year-old self in a sweet ballad. The softness she sings with is comforting and nostalgic, bringing you back to the insecurity of being 13. Yet, it takes that feeling, wraps it in a warm blanket and gives it a kiss on the forehead.  

The album does play with genres other than Laufey’s trademark jazz and pop hybrid. “Lovesick” is reminiscent of a rock ballad, and the “Nocturne (Interlude)” is a beautifully done orchestral piece. While neither of these completely deter Laufey’s usual sound, they do speak to a maturation in her career that helps cement her as a distinct talent in the music industry. She is not just a lucky singer finding fame within the Gen Z audience. Instead, Laufey is a pioneer of modern music who is using the nostalgic sounds of the past in new ways.

“Bewitched” takes you through the highs and lows of being a dreamer in love, with the longing ballads one expects from Laufey and punchy new experiments to balance them out. The sophomore album proves that she is building on her storytelling skills and pairing it perfectly with swirling symphonies that enchant her. Each song is a triumph, and every lyric is rich in meaning and emotion. The album’s title is a promise, as the unique sound and romantic narratives truly bewitch listeners from the first note. 

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