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The comeback of jazz: Laufey


Art by Jessica Calaguas

Jazz has always been a staple in music genres, but most can confidently say that the jazz era peaked last century. Some artists try to create their own version of modern jazz, but nobody can top the talented young musician, Laufey Lín Jónsdóttir (Lay-vay). Music has always been a part of her life; growing up both she and her twin sister, Junia Lín Jónsdóttir, have been in the orchestra, Laufey playing the cello and Junia on the violin. Both still actively play their instruments and Junia is even in the background of some of Laufey’s songs.


Typical of Me

In April of 2021, she released her debut project, Typical of Me, consisting of seven unique songs with timeless vocals and melodies. The album also includes her first song to be released during her career, Street by Street; a story about a relationship where she eventually learns that she deserves better: “I’m taking back my city / I’m taking back my life” (16-17). However, compared to her other records, Typical of Me is very upbeat instead of a slower pace which really shows her range in making music.

Image via Laufey, AWAL

A staple piece in this album is, Like the Movies. Laufey blends the jazz and classical genres perfectly with several trumpets and pianos; the melody encapsulates a vintage feel while still being timeless. She even adds a few natural sounds like birds chirping when she “listens to the bluebirds sigh” which lets listeners feel like they’re actually living the song, just as how the narrator wishes she were to love like in a movie. However, she later realizes her ideal love life is impractical and eventually comes to the conclusion that she will “never fall in love.”


The closure of this record isn’t about romantic love; rather, sibling love for her twin, Junia. Laufey’s treasured song, Best Friend, features a balance between friendly banter and genuine admiration for each other: “But I promise that I love you / Even with that hairdo.” Their inseparable bond is prominent and is still going strong even now as they’re traveling the world together.


Everything I Know About Love

Laufey’s discography doesn’t really have a specific story going on, mostly just random stories or major events that most could relate to. Her debut album, Everything I Know About Love could be described as a memoir about friendships and relationships in Laufey’s teens and early twenties. This is a turning point in her career, steering more towards classical than jazz music but still keeping hints of her jazzy style.

Image via Laufey

The album starts off with her single, Valentine, released on February 14, 2022. This song is where Laufey gathered most of her fans; many sparked an interest in the lyrics and how they truly encapsulate their life. Valentine starts off with lightly strumming a guitar and is soon followed by other instruments like piano and drums, and of course, has the signature humming between instrumental parts by Laufey herself (00:57). The pacing switches throughout the song like an S, slow in the beginning and end but picks itself up near the middle. Unlike some of her other songs, this one has a happy story where the narrator expresses their young adult love for a new relationship they’ve gotten themselves wrapped into.


What Love Will Do to You, a personal favorite, begins with the magic of being attracted to someone. From daydreaming to not being able to think straight after being in love she illustrates how being in love feels like, and Laufey emphasizes that feeling with slow-paced violins and flutes in the background. This song truly feels like a warm hug and is my personal day-to-day morning walk song; especially her re-recording in, A Night at the Symphony.


Bewitched

Recently, Laufey has released a new album, Bewitched; filled with a vintage atmosphere and an array of love songs. Bewitched began with the lead single, “From the Start,” which is the most-streamed jazz song in the world; within the first 24 hours, there were over 1 million streams and it is still gaining a steady 1 million more every day. The record reached the biggest first day for a jazz album in the history of music streaming, and even a month after its release many songs are still scattered throughout the top 100.


The opener, Dreamer, is a fan favorite. The song conveys the theme of not letting relationships affect your dreams: “No boy’s gonna kill the dreamer in me.” She starts with mellow vocals, followed by piano further into the song. As the melody progresses, a new instrument is added and fastens the pace leaving the listener swaying side by side while enjoying a beautiful story.

Image via Laufey

An underrated piece of the album that has a slower pace but still heavily impacts the listener is Serendipity. It is an amazing classical piece with a touching story of liking somebody and thinking every interaction is fate or serendipity. Laufey’s amazing vocals along the slow piano and violin highlight the feeling of love; with the song constantly referencing certain events with their crush that had to have been destiny, the pacing allows the audience to soak in the lyrics and create a relation with their love life.


Finally, the album comes to a close with Bewitched. A magical melody sucks you in and holds your interest with another love story: the feeling your soulmate gives you with every interaction. The song starts with an introduction of how the narrator doesn’t understand love and the plucking of guitar strings follows it, but once she starts talking about her soulmate the vocals start being backed up with an orchestra of violins. The abundance of instruments simulates the feeling of butterflies in your stomach to the listeners.


Overall, Laufey’s entire discography creates a new magical feeling about love, showing both the ups and downs of having a relationship. Her out-of-this-world storytelling puts listeners into the song, and not only are the lyrics touching but so are the melodies. The combination of both jazz and classical is a style that most aren’t familiar with, and Laufey is able to create wonderful songs for her audience to appreciate the genre.


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