Everybody needs a little jazz in their life.
If you’re not convinced, listening to Laufey’s second album, “Bewitched,” may change your mind.
The 24-year-old made her debut song, “Street by Street,” in 2020 while balancing studies at the Berklee College of Music. Over a month later, she released her second single, “Someone New,” and began to gain a following.
After the success of her first two singles, the Icelandic-Chinese singer released an EP titled “Typical of Me” in 2021, which earned her Best New Artist in Jazz and Blues at the Icelandic Music Awards. She then dropped her full-length album, “Everything I Know About Love” in 2022, further propelling her into stardom.
Her 2023 single, “From the Start,” quickly became her most popular song and has garnered over 150 million streams on Spotify. If that wasn’t enough, she was the most streamed jazz artist on Spotify in 2022, with 425 million total streams.
She is currently touring North America and is set to tour Europe for the first three months of 2024.
All of this led to the release of Laufey’s second album in September, much to the delight of fans after it was teased in June.
“Dreamer,” the opening track, sets the tone for the rest of the album: listeners can expect jazzy pop that is easy on the ears and songs that attract multiple generations of music enjoyers. Much of Laufey’s success can be attributed to the wide appeal of her music, the driving force behind her sudden ascension into stardom.
“I think for me it’s a little bit of everything. I always liked jazz as a little kid,” junior exercise science student Andgeo Baidoos said. “I like that her music encompasses jazz, and I feel like where I am currently in life, she speaks to that with her music.”
The opening track also uncovers a lot of the inspiration behind her music: her burning desire to be in a relationship and how she is hopelessly unable to stop herself from falling for people. This endless burning directly contrasts with her attempts to control her emotions as she tries to avoid rushing into the first arms she finds.
The seventh track in the album, “California and Me,” is a bit more sorrowful. Laufey’s lyrics describe unrequited love for her partner — and the painful knowledge that her partner’s heart resides with another. Instead of forcing her partner to stay in an unsatisfactory place, she lets them leave to follow their heart. Physically and emotionally, her heart is left behind. The deep love she has for her partner means she always wants what is best for them, even if that means a future without her.
Emanating a more sweet tone is the second-to-last track in the album, “Letter to My 13 Year Old Self.” The song reveals an out-of-place young Laufey, balancing the priorities of fitting in and trying to get into a relationship, in an effort to stand out. The now 24-year-old looks back on her younger self mockingly, realizing she never needed to rush to find authentic love.
“I like listening to jazz in general because it’s soft, mellow,” said first-year neuroscience major Kalyani Nair, who listed “Letter to My 13 Year Old Self” and “California and Me” as her favorite tracks from the album. “You can listen to it whenever. You won’t get distracted, even if you’re doing homework.”
The three tracks mentioned are only a few standouts in an incredible album, a testament to just how talented Laufey is as a musician. She is a talented cellist whose work has featured on the tracks of multiple other artists, and is also an accomplished pianist.
It all points back to a well-rounded musician with another beautiful album, one who has cast a wide net to listeners and gained plenty of love and support.
The arts desk can be reached at email@example.com
Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. His work has featured on other platforms such as Medium and Last Word on Sports. Outside of the newspaper, he enjoys running and watching sports (when he’s not writing about them).