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Laufey’s “Bewitched” revitalizes jazz for a younger generation. (Op-Ed)

Pop, hip-hop, rock, and country can consistently be found in the music libraries of youth and young adults, but Laufey has brought a new genre to the attention of the younger generation: jazz. Bewitched is an album with dreamy, yet traditional vocals with a more youthful lyricism. The 24-year-old Icelandic-Chinese singer songwriter took home the award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards and placed #46 on the Billboard Staff List for The 50 Best Albums of 2023.

While most young people find jazz to be boring, outdated, or unrelatable, Laufey’s lyrics are accessible and tangible. Bewitched is an album about love: falling in love, losing the one you love, unrequited love, and dreaming of love — all forms of love. She has the uncanny ability of using jazz as a medium to bring forth the confusing feelings of teenage awkwardness. Love in the age of dating apps is perilous, and Laufey brings us back to an idealized, hopeful version of true love: the kind of love that we all dream of.

Etheric and angelic, Laufey’s vocals bring you to tears, ignite euphoria, and take you on a journey through a girl’s journey to womanhood. The entire album feels as if it draped in pure golden light, warm and all-encompassing. Masterful storytelling and poetics drive the album, but the instrumentals truly set the tone for each track. The power of orchestral jazz cannot be overlooked as a powerful evocation of emotion. There are no trap beats, only the elegant piano, graceful violins, deep percussion, and whispering guitar.

The most striking track on the album is “Letter to My 13 Year Old Self,” a ballad where Laufey muses on all the ways she would comfort her younger self through the trials and tribulations of being a young girl. Promoting healing the inner child within us, this track is truly unforgettable and extremely relatable for young people who have endured the horrors of middle school and faced their own trauma. Don’t we all wish we could hug our thirteen-year-old self?

Jazz is making a comeback, and Laufey is at the helm of a powerful rebirth. Bewitched proves that traditionalism does not have to be sacrificed for young people to enjoy and connect with a genre they would usually ignore.

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