Laufey blends classical, jazz in mesmerizing debut album Everything I Know About Love

Angela Lim, Life&Arts Desk Editor

A bossa nova guitar rhythm tiptoes beneath delicate piano and strings in “Fragile,” the cinematic opener Laufey carefully chose for her debut album Everything I Know About Love. The Aug. 26 release conveys the artist’s experiences of life and love, from exploring dreams and what could have been to facing adulthood. Combining classical and jazz music, Laufey demonstrates her gracious affinity for the timeless genres that raised her.

The multi-instrumentalist succeeds in relaying exactly how she feels through music alone. The chord progression of “Beautiful Stranger” grows somber and sentimental, and a wistful stream of piano arpeggios complement its second chorus, as if to express one’s overflowing thoughts. Laufey yearns with a similar theme of having a fateful encounter in “Dear Soulmate,” a fairy tale-esque track enveloped in classical instruments, including a dreamy harp that soothes the heart.

Laufey’s signature warm alto particularly stands out in “I’ve Never Been In Love Before,” where she begins with a chilling a cappella verse. This Chet Baker-inspired track captures the hopeless-romantic theme of jazz through its steep melodies and emotional interlude. Similarly to how she highlights her vocals in the beginning and end, Laufey also shines a spotlight on the song’s jazz elements such as its deep double bass, piano improvisation and hazy, ambient percussion. She cleverly follows with “Just Like Chet,” where she compares herself to the namesake jazz artist who tends to “fall in love too easily.”

Laufey rarely shies away from her romanticism — her unapologetically roseate sound shows a sense of longing to reach someone’s soul and uncover the shards of love and mystery she finds in the world. “Falling Behind,” another bossa nova song to dance to, centers around Laufey’s relatable experience of seeing everyone else in a relationship but herself, even mentioning the sun being “engaged to the sky.” Meanwhile, her viral hit “Valentine” talks about the bewilderment one feels once they actually do embrace love. Laufey sings about a complex human emotion from various angles, which makes her record seem more dimensional and cohesive.

The LP feels caringly curated because of Laufey’s burning passion for her craft. Her imaginative classical-jazz soundscape naturally bloomed from a lifelong, radiant exposure to music. In the final track of her album “Night Light,” the artist sings about her transition from childhood to adulthood, accompanied by rich backing vocals. The poignant chorus almost evokes tears as a flurry of strings erupt, its lyrics saying, “All of the laughter / All the sleepless nights / Waiting for ever after / Snow falling outside / Keeping on the night light.”

Beyond their lyrics and instrumentation, the 13 songs of Everything I Know About Love collectively meld into a fresh listening experience, especially within an oversaturated music industry. Laufey illustrates classical and jazz music’s innate power of making listeners feel wondrous emotions they otherwise wouldn’t feel from typical styles of popular music. Magnifying the human experience, she proves that these genres can — and should — go mainstream.

4.5 hopeless romantics out of 5