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Maybe I’m just old-fashioned

Illustration by Akhila Nadimpalli

We live in a digital world where the new is always placed on a sacred pedestal.

With the advent of new social media platforms, music has become remixed productions adapted for 60-second dances.

We are a generation that seems to be so vulnerable to the point of being dominated by invisible algorithms that make us spend hours in front of a cold screen of random videos with no beginning or end.

But, as paradoxical as it may seem, it was on one of those nights when I was scrolling through my Instagram feed that I first heard a voice that teleported me to the past intensely and vividly.

The voice was by Icelandic-Chinese artist Laufey.

A 24-year-old girl made me feel like I was in my grandmother’s old house listening to classics from her youth on her vinyl record player.

Laufey showed me that there is still hope for the human and sensitive construction of music.

One of her compositions that caught my attention the most was her jazz song with tones of bossa nova and samba “Falling Behind,” in which she expresses how much she feels she is behind in a world where relationships have become disposable and artificial.

Using a melody that makes us feel like we were in the 1920s on the streets of New York, Laufey expresses her conflicts by being an old-fashioned, modern soul.

It is a relief to know that there are still singers and songwriters who value storytelling, true romance and jazz.

There are still artists who see music as an essentially emotional instrument and not as another strategic tool for futile engagement.

And no, I do not argue that the old days are superior to the current ones. I defend, however, the preservation of the appreciation of the critical and almost spiritual process of producing music filled with words of true meaning.

I feel that 2023 is the demarcation of a new era that has a classic texture and black-and-white coloring.

Once again being controlled by algorithms, I ended up discovering new artists who follow the same path as Laufey.

Samara Joy is an example of that.

She is one of the gifts I received on one of my nights listening over and over again to her Spotify playlist.

Joy, a 23-year-old singer, has already been awarded GRAMMY awards for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal album for her unique talent of valuing classics that are still part of nostalgic memories.

Jazz isn’t just on your grandmother’s playlist.

I consider it magical to use jazz as a functional tool in today’s world — one where there is no time to stop and truly listen to each verse of a song.

Joy, like Laufey, challenges the immediacy and synthesis of the music industry by producing songs of great spontaneity, especially with typical jazz improvisation, and poetic power.

Poetry. I used to think that word had been abolished.

I was wrong.

This is exactly the word that sums up this new musical phase that is starting to invade the radio stations and playlists of young people like me.

I see a beautiful harmony between the modern and the old. I don’t see them as opposing forces that cancel each other out, but as forces that complement each other with rich melody.

Rich as old-fashioned, modern jazz.

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