Bewitched by Laufey, was released Sept. 8. Before the album was released there were four singles released previously. The first one, “From The Start” blew up on TikTok and is what prompted this review. I am glad it did because this is fantastic. Usually when I think of vocal jazz, nothing comes to mind. Not anymore. This LP has started to bring back the subgenre of vocal jazz.
The album opens with “Dreamer,” a sleepy swing track that introduces the album beautifully. The choir that opens the song perfectly sets the stage for the ballad that will follow. The soft, swing beat from the drum kit fits the vocals perfectly. Vocal wise, Laufey’s smooth vocals carry out the melody beautifully.
The record then continues with “Second Best.” A slower, sadder song about being someone’s second choice. The soft guitar complements the melancholy vocals and the soft drum kit adds some support tempo wise. “Haunted” has a fantastic Erhu solo in the beginning and is followed by some soft, but less depressed, vocals similar to the previous track.
“Must Be Love” is a cute love ballad about the world seeming to slow down when you are in love. Similar to “Second Best” there is a guitar as the main backing and near the end, a choir joins for some smooth chords.
“While You Were Sleeping” takes a more acoustic approach. This is the most pop-like track on the album. There isn’t much swing or jazz elements outside of the tone of the vocals. It’s not unwelcome, just different. Same goes for “Lovesick” which is again, more acoustic than jazz. However, the vocals on this cut are slightly more jazzy. The chorus is the most dramatic yet and you can definitely hear the pop influences taking over.
“California and Me” has the only feature on this LP. The instrumentals were scored and performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra. This creates a more cinematic feel to the track. It almost has an old Disney overture feel to it. “Nocturne (Interlude)” is a purely instrumental track. It is a short piano solo that serves as a transition to the rest of the album.
The rest of the album doesn’t have much on it, though. “Promise” is more of the same that was on “Second Best” but with piano and strings instead of guitar. “From The Start” is probably the best with a bosca-nova type beat. It’s definitely the most jazzy part to the album and the most upbeat.
“Misty” and “Serendipity” are both soft, piano ballads. “Misty” has a small drum part near the middle. “Serendipity” has some strings to add color near the end. “Letter To My 13 Year Old Self” is similar in instrumental to “Second Best” but the vocals are reminiscing to Laufey’s past and wishing she could give her past self a hug.
“Bewitched” closes out the album and starts with a magical overture that sounds like it could have been ripped straight from Harry Potter. It then stops it and goes back to a soft acoustic ballad like the rest of the album.
Overall, it was refreshing to hear some vocal jazz in the modern day. The downside is it reminds me how boring it can be. This album is a lot of the same with a few hidden gems. It’s perfect for falling asleep too, but not much else. 6/10.
Featured Image: The album cover to “Bewitched.” It was released on Sept. 8, 2023.