In Rotation: Bewitched by Laufey

In Rotation: Bewitched by Laufey

Chinese-Icelandic singer-songwriter Laufey (pronounced Lay-Vay) is climbing charts with tracks from Bewitched, her sophomore album. While she’s flown pretty quietly under the radar with her previous music, she got somewhat of her big break with Bewitched, and she is helping to reintegrate jazz music into the pop scene again. In her songs she uses many major components of jazz, including her sometimes deep and sultry voice, and instances of scatting, a technique popularized by jazz, and she takes inspiration from artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Norah Jones. Laufey is a classically trained pianist and cellist and uses these instruments and many more to create beautiful tracks that help to highlight her wonderful voice. On this record, Laufey details the events of falling into, out of, and ultimately back into love; she follows heartbreak, hurt, and finally, love. This album, and Laufey, single-handedly made me fall deeply in love with jazz. So, let’s get into the breakdown–



Second Best


Must Be Love

While You Were Sleeping


California and Me

Nocturne (Interlude)


From The Start



Letter To My 13 Year Old Self



1. Dreamer 

Synopsis– On this track, Laufey explores the desire to escape the world that she is in and live in her own imagination. She dreams (as the title of song suggests) of floating above Earth, viewing the happenings of society from far away, far away from the hurt and heartache of past and prospective relationships. She is eager to enjoy her solitude and the company of herself and get away from this idea of being tied down. She speaks of different encounters that she has had around love and relationships and has since realized that it is just not what she wants out of life. The song begins with dreamy vocals from Laufey, which aids in the aptness of the title, and continues with simple instrumentals accompanied by her wonderful voice. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“I can see the whole world

From my own little cloud

Up by the Milky Way

I’ll stay here forever and a day” (Verse 1)

Laufey often uses imagery of the sky to create scenery and evoke emotion in her listeners. In this instance, she references being near the Milky Way, which allows her audience to think of her as far away and removed from Earth. She also mentions that she has her “own little cloud” which further conveys her isolation and removal from everyone else. This isolation could reflect her loneliness or be used as a metaphor for there being no desire had to jump back into a relationship, or it could represent both. It is evident that she enjoys her time alone as she says that she’d like to stay up in the galaxy for “forever and a day,” so it is clear to the audience that she is not rushing to find anyone new at this point in her life.

“And no boy’s gonna be so smart as to

Try and pierce my porcelain heart

No boy’s going to kill the dreamer in me” (Chorus)

It is obvious, especially through these lines, that she had been through a rough breakup recently and that is what is helping to add to her solitary. She notes her heart as “porcelain,” meaning that it is delicate and easily breakable, but hoping that no one attempts to hurt her and in turn break her heart. She’s chosen to make sure that she is able to continue to live in this fantasy world she’s created in her head instead of having to go through the trials, tribulations, and potential heartbreak of a new relationship. She wants to avoid these ideas so she can protect herself and remain safe from the hurt that could come.

2. Second Best 

Synopsis– Laufey progresses through this album by backtracking to being in a relationship that was almost completely one-sided with love that was not reciprocated. As the title very straightforward-ly suggests, this track is all about being someone’s second choice, never the best or most important in their life. The speaker thinks of the subject as their everything and puts all of their thoughts and dedication into them, but the subject does not at all feel the same. The subject does not care enough about the speaker to put them at the front of their life, but the speaker would do anything for them. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“I love way too much

Oh, this hurts to confеss (Verse 2)

Oh, you were my everything

I was your second best” (Chorus)

She regarded the subject as the most important person in her life, she loved them so dearly and yet they couldn’t care enough to put her before anyone else. She has such a big heart and seemingly gives love away so easily that she feels like it could be her own fault for how much love she has to spare that she wasn’t able to gain in return. She reflects on this relationship, admitting to herself that this is how the subject felt about her throughout their time together, even though it hurts to fully acknowledge, but she was blind to it during their relationship.

“Everyone warned me you were a bad idea

I never listen

Maybe I will next year

When I’ve walked a little further into my life” (Verse 3)

The subject has a reputation for doing this to people–getting into relationships that they cannot handle, unable to feel enough or give enough love to the person they are dating, and the speaker knows that. She was warned by multiple people about this reputation, but she ignored them and went on with their relationship, despite knowing that it would end in her hurt. She thought that it’d be different in this scenario, that the subject would act differently because it’s a new relationship, but in this instance they never change. The speaker notes that once they experience more, they’ll understand more, and maybe then listen to her loved ones that warn her about the pain that’ll come from certain people. `

3. Haunted 

Synopsis– Laufey really has a knack for naming her songs because, in addition to her repeating the word “haunt” throughout it, this track opens with and continues to hold the most haunting melody and backing instrumentals of the album. The song follows themes common to those found in the previous track, being in a relationship with someone who you know doesn’t love you in the same way that you love them. Despite knowing this information, she still engages in a relationship with the subject, even if only for one night, because of the love that she holds for them. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“I hold on to every ounce of sin

I know he don’t love me quite like I love him

I swear to myself as he leaves at dawn

This will end, ’til he haunts me again” (Chorus)

The speaker knows that her relationship with this person is one that should not be happening. It is described as an affair, most likely illicit for the reason that at least one of them is in a different long-term relationship (the subject probably). She is aware that her love isn’t truly reciprocated but nonetheless, she still decides to partake in what she references as sin. She knows that their relationship cannot and will not last forever, despite how much she wants it to, and she knows that she also needs to do what she can to end the relationship but this person means too much to her for her to take action.

“I’ll pretend you’ll stay forever

Lay me down, ghostly sounds

Haunt the hallways as he wraps me around” (Verse 2)

She wants their relationship to last as long as it can, and for her to ultimately become the “one and only” of the subject, but understands that it likely will not happen, so she imagines that her love is returned and they will be together forever. So, she allows for this affair to occur, but she is constantly haunted by the idea and thought of her lover’s return. She refers to the sound of his voice as a “ghostly sound,” one that is maybe scary and haunts her. She wants to be with him but also thinks of the consequences that can come of it and the pain it’ll cause her.

4. Must Be Love 

Synopsis– On this track, Laufey details how she has fallen for someone new and she is extremely and deeply infatuated with them. She illustrates coming across this person and almost instantly realizing that they were the one for her, causing her to begin to spend as much time with them as possible. She recalls her experience of falling in love with them throughout the track, noting the shift in time, saying that it seems to be moving slower, and sharing her newfound perspective on life. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“Laughing at me for falling foolishly again

But something’s different, with you

Traffic on Sunset doesn’t phase me

I’m just unusually composed” (Verse 1)

The little things that used to affect her just don’t have a hold on her life anymore, such as traffic that is usually there and prominent, instead she seems to be almost completely unbothered. This new relationship is bringing up a new kind of personality within her. This person has allowed her to become calmer and more cool about things that usually would cause her to be stressed and annoyed. She’s nervous that falling in love again will make a fool out of her and she’s just getting herself into a position where she will be hurt again but with the way the subject makes her feel at this point in time, she doesn’t even care.

“Friends asking me where I’ve been hiding

I’m losing hours in your eyes

Lost in your wonderland, I hope I’m never found” (Verse 2)

Laufey mentions that she could spend hours and hours with this person and that their company brings her so much joy that seems to be almost foreign. She refers to this time spent together as being in the subject’s “wonderland,” which makes listeners think of something that is made up and imaginary. She thinks of this relationship as something not real because it seems way too good to be true. Her friends and loved ones have realized that she seems to be spending a lot of time away from them and is unaware of what she is doing, which her audience knows to obviously be with this new partner. It seems as though she doesn’t even realize the time she’s been spending with them because just being with them makes time stop.

5. While You Were Sleeping 

Synopsis– The 5th track on the album follows the same theme as the previous song, Laufey is hopelessly in love with a new person and she is changing because of it. This newfound love is opening her up to new and brighter experiences and a happier life, and she is unable to comprehend that it’s real and happening to her. Because of what she’s detailed in the first trio of songs on the record, she hasn’t had too much luck with past relationships, but meeting this new partner has changed her outlook on love and she is ready to try and tackle it again. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“I still can’t believe that you noticed me an ocean away

The heavens would say it was meant to be

I’ll never forget the first time I saw you then” (Verse 1)

This new relationship seems like a dream to her. She knows in her heart that this love between her and her new partner was fate, something “meant to be,” but she still has trouble grasping that it is true. She can’t even wrap her head around how someone like this person that she loves could have noticed her, saying that it was from “an ocean away” to really emphasize how far-fetched it seems to her for that to have happened. Despite this, she is infatuated with them and expresses how much excitement she feels to have been noticed and now with this person.

“I don’t recognize myself

I’m dancing down streets

Smiling to strangers

Idiotic things” (Chorus 1)

Laufey’s relationship has changed things about her, she seems to have become happier and more content in life because of this new person. She is doing things she could have never seen herself doing, such as “dancing down streets” and “smiling to strangers” because she is so entranced by this person and her love for them. These things she notes as being “idiotic,” probably because to her they represent people who are happy and beaming and she hasn’t been lucky enough to experience that, but now that she is those things, she can’t help but also do these “idiotic things.”

6. Lovesick 

Synopsis– On this track, Laufey recalls falling extremely deeply in love with someone and how the memory of them, and the time that they spent together, now haunts her. At the time, it seemed surreal and like the greatest thing that could ever happen to her, but as she looks back on it, she is burdened with the pain of the end of their relationships, likely coming from her partner falling out of love. It is a recurring theme in Laufey’s songs that she expends a lot of her love to others and yet isn’t given the same feelings and effort in return.  

Lyric Pullouts– 

When the gold rays fell on your skin

And my hair got caught in the wind

The choir sang a melancholic hymn (Chorus)

She is completely entranced by this person and all natural things seem to exist only to enhance their beauty and wonderfulness. When she mentions her hair getting “caught in the wind” it adds to her noting everything that is beautiful about this person and can either be that she is unable to help but recognize her flaws and the things that are “messy” compared to the subject’s “perfect-ness” or it could symbolize the the fairytale-esque of the situation as she also brings up the hymn that she hears sung by a choir when they are together.

“Let me in your atmosphere

Inching closer, but I fear

That I’ll love so much, you’ll slip away” (Verse 2)

Laufey is someone who very obviously loves a lot. She gives out so much love and yet seems to have a hard time receiving it from others. Once this person let her in, they automatically began to become very close to one another, likely sharing thoughts, experiences, memories, and secrets. Reflecting on her past relationships, Laufey is nervous that by allowing this person to come into her life, sharing so much with them, and loving them incredibly deeply, that it’ll be too much too soon and that they’ll wind up not feeling the same and leaving her just as her previous partners have done.

7. California and Me 

Synopsis– In this song, details Laufey struggling with the pain of being up and left behind out of nowhere. The person that she was in a relationship with flew directly across the country, with the excuse that they “needed space” and to “work on themself,” yet they almost immediately started another relationship with someone they had known prior. This especially hurts Laufey because receiving love has never been a strong suit of hers and when she finally was able to lay it all out again, her heart was completely crushed by someone that she believed she could trust. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

Should’ve figured that you’d go back to New York

Don’t consider me when you run back to her

You don’t have to hide it, I know why you went

Said you needed space, I know better than that” (Verse 1)

Laufey knows that this was never going to work out, yet throughout their relationship, she just hoped for the best. Her partner left her for someone else, someone whom they’d been with previously, and although they try to lie and make up excuses to prevent the truth from coming out, she is not oblivious to it. She reflects on their relationship and believes that she should’ve seen this coming, that she should’ve expected this person to leave her and move to the entire opposite side of the country. Saying that they “needed space” is a cliché very often used in breakups and it is evident to Laufey that they were lying when saying this considering they were so quick to jump into a relationship with a former lover.

Left me and the ocean for your old flame

Holding back my tears, I couldn’t make you stay

Can’t quit this, so damn wicked to leave

California and me” (Chorus)

California is heavily associated with the beach and Laufey includes the ocean as something that her partner left behind to make it seem bigger than only her, she uses this to help validate her feelings of hurt after they left her. Despite the effort and love she poured into their relationship, nothing was enough to make this person stay in California, to stay with her. She is met with pain and sadness, trying to disguise her tears, but she can’t help but to be awfully devastated. No matter what she does, it wouldn’t have made them stay with her and it won’t make them come back. Nonetheless, she continues to try extremely hard to get them back and rekindle this relationship while still having to painfully acknowledge all the hurt that it has caused her.

8. Nocturne (Interlude) 

Synopsis– This 2 minute and 24 second piano track includes the beautiful melodies of multiple different songs on this album. With no vocals, the instrumentals, mainly from “California and Me” and “Bewitched” are showcased on this track. As an interlude, this song serves to transition from the feeling of pain and heartbreak to finally being able to fall in love again as those are the themes seen on the music played. 

9. Promise 

Synopsis– On “Promise,” Laufey depicts the difficulty that comes with trying to keep distance from someone that she loves. She tells herself that she needs to stay away from them and the thought of them because all it’s doing is causing her more heartache. However, she finds being away from them extremely hard and can’t continue to do so, which leads her to reach out to them even though she knows it’ll just lead to more pain. She feels as though the bond she has with this person is almost impossible to break and cannot hold the distance between them. Although she wishes that she’d be able to cut this person off, she tries to no avail because she still feels incredibly tied to them.

Lyric Pullouts– 

I’ve done the math

There’s no solution

We’ll never last

Why can’t I let go of this?” (Bridge)

In math, when you get the answer of “no solution,” it means that there is quite literally no answer for the question being asked, not even 0. Despite her efforts to understand why this relationship isn’t working out, she’s come up with nothing. There is no answer to her question, no solution. She understands that the two of them were never meant to be, and yet the thought of the other person and their relationship is one that lingers in her mind. She wishes that she could easily forget about it and not be so phased by it not working between them, but she is stuck with the burden of vast pain when even thinking about this person.

“So I broke my promise

I called you last night

I shouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have

If it weren’t for the sight of a boy

Who lookеd just like you

Standing out on Melrose Avenue” (Verse 3)

The first line of this verse is a callback to the first line of the song where Laufey states that she “made a promise to distance herself,” this person caused her so much hurt that she told herself that in order to get past it, she needed to avoid all contact and thought of them. With this and the following line she answers her previous self, telling the listener that she was unable to keep this promise and wound up contacting the person she was meant to stay away from. She tells herself that it’s not something that she would have done, and it only happened because she saw someone with a striking resemblance to this person. Melrose Avenue is an extremely popular street in Los Angeles, which refers back to her song that was 2 tracks ago, “California and Me.” Her ex abandoned her and fled California so to see him again, even if it were really just someone who looked like him, was extremely shocking to her considering that he left her and moved across the country.

10. From The Start 

Synopsis– This track, which gained an immense amount of popularity on TikTok, is about the unrequited love that the speaker has toward a friend of hers. Laufey details the awkwardness and pain that comes from loving someone who doesn’t love you back in that same way. There is an obvious platonic love shared between the two of them, but the speaker holds romantic love that just isn’t reciprocated by the subject. The speaker is hoping and praying that the subject will one day open their eyes, come to their senses, and see what is painfully evident, but until then she is forced to listen to the subject’s romantic feelings towards other people.  

Lyric Pullouts– 

“That when I talk to you 

Oh, Cupid walks right through 

And shoots an arrow through my heart 

And I sound like a loon” (Chorus)

Every time she is met with the subject of the song, she can’t help but feel hundreds of butterflies in her stomach and this major feeling of love, as if she’s just been struck by one of Cupid’s arrows. She feels like no matter what she does or says, she feels or sounds like she is completely crazy and delusional, but she cannot help it because she loves this person so much. These lyrics help to encapsulate the overall theme of the song, it being just a sappy love song about someone who unfortunately does not feel the same. Laufey has so many feelings towards this person and although they aren’t returned, she can’t help but feel lovestruck whenever she is with them.

“Unrequited, terrifying 

Love is driving me a bit insane

Have to get this off my chest, I’m telling you today” (Verse 3)

She is unable to go on keeping these feelings to herself, and by keeping them bottled up for so long, she is practically going to burst. The feelings that she has towards this person are making her feel like she’s going crazy but she kind of likes the insanity and madness that it brings. She decides that instead of allowing these feelings to continue to marinate, she is going to do what is the hardest part of any crush, she is going to tell the person she loves that she feels this way towards them. It’s such a simple task, yet causes so many people to become unnecessarily stressed and met with such heightened anxiety that it seems like the most difficult thing in the world. Over the track, we see her come to this conclusion of telling the subject after expressing all of these feelings and emotions and recurring past events between them.

Laufey’s Commentary– In an interview, Laufey said that she “wanted the chorus to be this, just straight up, like confession of love that I would never actually dare to say in person. And that’s where the craziness comes from. That speculation like, ‘wait if I’m holding back and not telling you, maybe you’re holding back and not telling me.'” (via Genius)

11. Misty 

Synopsis– This song, originally written and performed by Erroll Garner, is a staple in the jazz community. It is a favorite of many jazz connoisseurs and has been covered numerous times by jazz musicians–most notably Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Lesley Gore. In this track, the speaker sings about falling in love with the subject who they are speaking about. They notice the little details about this person and feel like they’re dumb in comparison, unable to remember or comprehend seemingly normal things. Overall, the speaker is just entirely caught up in the love that they hold for the subject. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“Walk my way

And a thousand violins begin to play

Or it might be the sound of your, ‘Hello’

That music I hear” (Verse 2)

When the subject of the song approaches, the speaker can’t help but be entranced by them. Just their voice sounds like a beautiful melody and they hear an entire orchestra begin to play as they walk by. These lines encompass the complete feeling of love and enchantment that a person can feel towards someone that they have such deep feelings for. This song, just like the others on the record, easily details the feeling of being bewitched by another person that the speaker loves so dearly.

Can’t you see that you’re leading me on

And it’s just what I want you to do?

Don’t you notice how hopelessly I’m lost?

That’s why I’m following you (Verse 3)

The speaker expresses that they are unsure of what the subject feels towards them. Do they hold this same love or is it all just a form of entertainment for them? It is obvious the speaker feels extremely deeply, but is the subject able to see that too, or are the signs just not that evident? The speaker tries to spend as much time with the subject as possible and show these heartfelt feelings but they can’t help but to wonder if it’s even worth it at this point.

12. Serendipity 

Synopsis– Laufey recalls a number of coincidences, signs, and unexpected encounters had when she met someone new and began falling in love. She doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to being given love by those she’s had relationships with and she acknowledges that and the pain it has brought her, but with her new partner she doesn’t mind jumping quickly into love. They help her to move past the hurt that she has been dealt and gives her the love that she truly deserves. Laufey expresses her gratitude towards this person and the things that pushed them to be together throughout the song and hopes that as they grow older, this person will continue to reciprocate the love and admiration that she has for them. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“I won’t pretend, I’ve been desolate

I won’t pretend, I’ve been blue

It happened so quickly, one second it hit me

I’ve fallen quite hard over you (Verse 1)

Although she may want to hide it, Laufey has come to terms with acknowledging that lately she has been feeling an immense amount of pain that seems impossible to shake. She has tried to disguise it and put it past her but she is coming to terms with the fact that she has been caused heartache. But, she has now met someone new and they are allowing her to begin to feel better and are helping her reduce this feeling of hurt. Despite only knowing them for a short period of time, she can’t help but to fall for this person because of this and she is now coming to the realization that she really cares for them.

“Four-leaf clovers and lucky dimes

Coincidences and cosmic signs

Have proved that I am quite naïve

I’m falling fast, failing gravity (Chorus)

Laufey seems to be somewhat superstitious, believing in any signs that the universe throws her way. She notes some of the things that she has seen as signs, and not just crazy coincidences, saying that her belief in them causes her to be “naïve,” even though all she wants is to believe in love and that things are going to go well for her. She knows that her luck with love runs very thin and so she chalks these signs up to her naïveté, even though they truly might have been pointing her in the right direction. Despite this, she comes back to believing in these signs as she is falling in love extremely quickly again.

13. Letter To My 13 Year Old Self 

Synopsis– On this track, Laufey completely diverts from the themes of all of the other songs on this record–love, heartbreak, and relationships–and instead sings a song of empowerment directed towards her 13 year old self, and mentions all of the things that she wished she could have heard at that age. Laufey reflects on her teenage insecurities and sings this as reassurance to her past self, to let her know all the things that she should’ve known, that she is loved and extremely special and that her differences do not define her in the way that she thinks they do.

Lyric Pullouts– 

“You’ll grow up…

…Write your story, fall in love a little too…

…I wish I could go back and give her a squeeze

Myself at thirteen

And just let her know, know that she’s beautiful (Chorus)

She wants to tell herself that things will work out for her all in due time. Although it’s not like she will hear these things considering the time has passed already, she still wants to put it out there. She acknowledges that she was way too hard on herself at this age and wishes that she wouldn’t have compared herself to other girls as she is her own person. Laufey knows that if she were able to hear these things at such an important age, she may have been able to feel better about herself and not have struggled so much with insecurities.

“Keep on going with your silly dream

Life is prettier than it may seem

One day, you’ll bе up on stage

Little girls will scream your namе” (Verse 3)

Laufey wants to tell her past self that despite all of the tribulations that life may throw her way, it’ll all be worth it. Since she learned how to play various instruments at a young age, it is likely that she has always dreamed about being able to pursue music and perform for others, so being able to tell the little girl that hoped for this life that it is all coming together and working out for her is something that is extremely important to her. She also would get to know that she swapped places from who she was as the little girl in the crowd watching her idol to getting to be the idol for so many little girls at her very own shows.

Laufey’s Commentary– When asked to speak on the song, Laufey said “Pretty little blonde girls around me were having their first kisses and whispering together in gym class. I just remember feeling so incredibly out of place and different.” (via Vogue) 

14. Bewitched

Synopsis– The final song on the album, which also serves as its title track, is yet another love song. Her vocals, the instrumentals used, and the chord progression throughout the track casts a metaphoric spell over the listener, bewitching them as they listen to it. This track follows a newfound love Laufey has developed for someone and how, despite the passion and affection she holds, she is still quite hesitant following her series of heartbreak. She is bewildered and completely caught up in these developing feelings, expressing the enchantment that she has due to the small actions and mere presence of this person. 

Lyric Pullouts– 

“You’re not even gone

I already miss you

What’s going on?

I’ve never been through

This all-consuming fire fuming” (Verse 2)

The love that Laufey has for this person entirely encompasses her and she expresses how deeply she feels for them. Although she’s had a number of relationships, she has never felt a love like this, like how she does for her new partner. Falling for them is something hard for her to do because it could just lead to more pain but she is allowing herself to fall because of these feelings that she cannot hold back. She is confused by the enticing feelings that she has towards them and is overwhelmed but that cannot stop her from feeling and giving this love.

“You bewitch me

Every…second you’re with me

I try to think straight but I’m falling so badly

I’m coming apart” (Refrain)

This new person has Laufey completely in love and captivated. It’s hard for her to even grasp that she could be so entranced by someone new yet she is letting herself go in order to hopefully experience receiving the love that she is always giving out to others. However, she feels as if she’s going crazy by feeling this way and doesn’t know if it’s something even worth pursuing. At the end of the day, though, she is taking this risk because it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.



Laufey is able to perfectly narrate experiences from her life and uses her lyricism as structure for storytelling. The lyrics that she uses help to convey every exact feeling and thought that she has as well as paint a complete and extremely detailed picture in the heads of her audience. Laufey’s modern-jazz tracks are really introducing young pop fans to the beautiful music that is jazz. Throughout this record, Laufey brings listeners on an alluring and bewitching journey that tackles stories of heartbreak, unrequited love, and new beginnings. Overall, it is an enchanting album that everyone should have the pleasure of listening to. And finally–


1. Letter To My 13 Year Old Self

2. Lovesick

3. From The Start

4. Bewitched

5. While You Were Sleeping

6. Haunted

7. Promise

8. Must Be Love

9. California and Me

10. Second Best

11. Dreamer

12. Serendipity

13. Misty

14. Nocturne (Interlude)





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