Bewitched: The Goddess Edition

Bewitched: The Goddess Edition

One of Icelandic singer-songwriter-pianist Laufey’s primary concerns beyond just making her style of vocal jazz is to bring jazz, in general, to a younger audience. Hosting live sessions on TikTok and Instagram and getting co-signs from Billie Eilish and WILLOW are a couple ways she’s managed to connect to her peers, but it is the music—and, more specifically, the lyrics—that really does the heavy lifting. Laufey (pronounced LAY-vay) is a traditionalist at heart, and her influences (think Billie Holiday and Chet Baker) shine through in the melancholic torch songs that make up her second album. (She also regularly covers the standards, and includes a version of Erroll Garner and Johnny Burke’s “Misty” here.) But it’s in the decidedly modern words she sings where she makes new breakthroughs. A tune like “While You Were Sleeping” could be a lost Songbook addition, but its lyrics—“I'm dancing down streets/Smiling to strangers/Idiotic things/I trace it all back/3:30 am”—draw a solid line between today and the past. Yet still, her voice’s richness and her phrasing are as spellbinding as those of many of her icons. Her songs can be inventive and playful, forlorn and wrenching, and she sings of love and lack thereof with a depth beyond her 24 years. But it’s in those unexpected, fanciful twists where Laufey really impresses. In “Letter to My 13 Year Old Self,” she sings about the awkwardness of teenage years with a sensitivity and frankness that’s very much a product of the present day.

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