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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Laufey bewitches listeners with beautiful modern jazz

New album ‘Bewitched’ is a brilliant composition
Fair use from Warner Chappell Music

Icelandic-Chinese artist Laufey (pronounced lay-vay), released her newest album, “Bewitched,” Sept. 8. Her musical style is very unique, as she combines bedroom and jazz-pop to create what she calls “modern jazz.” Although she is just now gaining fame in the U.S, she has been a part of the Icelandic music scene since her cello solo in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at age 15. Laufey also participated in Iceland’s Got Talent in 2014 and 2015, and her debut single “Street By Street” hit number one on Icelandic Radio in 2020. Many of her songs, such as “Valentine,” “Falling Behind” and “From the Start” have gone viral with their respective TikTok trends; the latter is a single from the new album, which is partially why its release was so highly anticipated by fans. 

Laufey has said she takes inspiration from classic jazz singers such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and this influence is evident throughout the entire album. Her voice ebbs and flows so seamlessly, hitting low and high notes in the same line with ease. Even some of her word choices are reminiscent of that era, with lines like, “I get misty just holding your hand” and “no boy’s gonna be so smart as to try and pierce my porcelain heart.” Her vocal capabilities are most notably encompassed in songs like “Dreamer,” “Lovesick,” “California and Me” and “Promise.” Laufey’s singing in “California and Me” reminds me of a Disney princess movie. The instrumentation in every song is beautifully crafted. Her use of piano, violin, acoustic guitar, jazzy percussion and even her background vocals creates magnificent compositions that are like nothing I’ve heard from recent years. “Nocturne Interlude” specifically is a wondrous piano instrumental that is just as impactful as her vocal songs.

The song “Second Best” has my favorite lyrics on the album. It tells the story of an uneven love, where she’s loving him while he’s leaving her behind. He was her number one priority, but she was never his first choice. She expresses deep emotion with the line, “You were my everything, I was your second best.” She goes on to talk about how even after they’ve broken up and she sees how horribly he treated her, she still wonders if she could’ve ever been moved to first place, singing, “honestly, life has been much better since I spoke to you last, why am I still wondering, if I stand a chance or if you’d have me back?”

Laufey has said in interviews that she uses songwriting as a sort of romance diary, and there is no better example of this than the very popular, “From The Start.” The song describes how she is head over heels for someone who isn’t interested in her, and it acts as a confession of unrequited love that she’s felt “From the start.” She starts the song talking about how it always feels different when she’s alone with this person, singing, “don’t you notice how I get quiet when there’s no one else around? Me and you and awkward silence.” Laufey continues into the second verse explaining how difficult it is to hear this person talk about their new love, and transitions into the chorus with a wish that they would confess their love to her. The chorus shows how she falls more and more in love with the person every time they interact, singing, “when I talk to you oh, Cupid walks right through and shoots an arrow through my heart.” This is unrelated to the subject matter of the song, but Laufey’s scatting in this song and others fits so perfectly with her unique sound and alludes back to her jazz influences. 

Overall, this album is amazing. Every song is a gorgeous arrangement of intelligent songwriting and instrumentation with angelic vocals that are out of this world. If you like any of Laufey’s past work and classic jazz singers, or just have an appreciation for musicians blazing their own paths, you will love “Bewitched.”

“Bewitched”: ★★★★★

Highlights: “Haunted,” “Second Best,” “From the Start”

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About the Contributor
Modesty Manion, Multimedia Editor
Hi there! My name is Modesty, I’m a senior and it’s my third year on Echo. This year I'm Echo's Multimedia Editor, and I am so excited to grow Echo's digital impact! I'm on the varsity nordic ski team, as well as the cross country team, and I love coffee, Gilmore Girls, pop culture, hiking, camping and thrifting. 

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