She’s on a one way trip to take over the world: Maisie Peters’ The Good Witch album review


Katy Leverett (she/her) reviews Maisie Peters’ second studio album, The Good Witch, and the brilliance of her lyrics

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Image by Photo credit: Alice Moitié

By Katy Leverett

Maisie Peters has definitely become a rising star to watch on the pop scene in the past year. Peters’ latest album, The Good Witch, was released Friday 23 June 2023 and is her second studio album to date. On her Instagram, Peters wrote that the album stemmed from feeling able to utilise her experiences to create something that felt “like spells, some of them manifestations… for myself and my friends”. Peters calls the album, as an echo to one of her idols, Taylor Swift, a new era, which is certainly the case.

Fans have been teased since January with the release of three singles, beginning with ‘Body Better’ on 27 January 2023, then ‘Lost the Breakup’ on 31 March and ‘Two Weeks Ago’ on 26 May. All three have had fans waiting with bated breath for the rest of the album. With upbeat pop anthems and slow songs to cry to, The Good Witch has been well worth the wait.

The album begins with the title track, ‘The Good Witch’. Mirroring Peters’ title track on her first album, You Signed Up For This, the lyric parallels between both of her title tracks are brilliantly executed. In the opening lines of ‘The Good Witch’, Peters sings “Still upset, but now I’m 22”, which her long-standing fans will recognise from ‘You Signed up for This’, with the opening line being “I am 20 and probably upset right now”. The link between the two lines shows her listeners how she is changing as a person but is also the same between her albums. This continues throughout the song, with Peters referencing her desire to “get better” in both, showing continuity but also change. ‘The Good Witch’ is a manifestation of this, introducing the journey Peters will take listeners on through the music on the album. In the lyrics, she asks “you wanna hear all about it, where do I start?/ I guess when it kicks in”. This invites listeners to join this emotional rollercoaster that is the rest of the album.

The album reflects Peters’ desire to claim power over her own life. With each song tackling something different from the last, there is a song on this album for everyone. Track two, ‘Coming of Age’ is an anthem for this. The heavy drum sound gives the song a feel-good pop beat, accompanied with the lyrics celebrating a change in perspective: “you had the speaking parts but I guess I was the playwright”, shows Peters’ desire to redefine herself. A personal favourite line from this song, “baby I am the Iliad of course you couldn’t read me”, comedically speaks to the struggles I had with the text myself, whilst also highlighting the complexities of trying to understand each other.

On the other hand, track three, ‘Watch’, documents the pain felt when someone forgets about your existence. The pain in trying to appear fine to the wider world, when inside you are truly hurting is encapsulated beautifully by Peters through the lyrics and pop-rock drum and guitar. The contrary ideologies within both tracks highlights the fluctuations everyone experiences when trying to get over someone: one day you are changing your own narrative, whilst the next, you know you might not be there just yet.

The Good Witch speaks to the power of healing from heartbreak, and the fluctuations that come with this. Tracks four and five, ‘Body Better’ and ‘Want You Back’ acknowledge two relatable stages of healing: comparing yourself and knowing that despite all the bad things the person you loved did, deep down, you know you’d still take them back. Peters’ brilliant lyrics on both tracks explore these ideas in depth. The upbeat backing track contrasting the heartbroken lyrics of ‘Body Better’ create a classic pop anthem that you can scream but also cry to. Alternatively, the slow piano of ‘Want You Back’ highlights the sadness of Peters’ situation. The frustration of knowing you were badly treated, but are fed up with hearing it is something rarely explored, and speaks to listeners in a brutally honest but relatable way. Personally, it is my favourite track on the album.

Listening to the album in order offers a significant listening experience. After the acknowledgment of difficult aspects of healing from heartbreak, the more upbeat tracks six and seven: ‘The Band and I’ and ‘You’re just a boy (and I’m kinda the man)’ celebrate independence and friendship. The heavy drum beat, accompanied with the nostalgic listing of memories from Peters’ North American tour for You Signed Up For This, works to create a beautiful song that would make a perfect backing audio to a montage or a classic summer evening driving anthem. The song speaks of the power of friendship, with Peters on her Instagram calling it “the only real love song” on the album. Similarly, track seven’s chorus line: “I’m on a one way trip to take over the world” references Peters being the opening act for Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics World Tour. The fast drum beat, accompanied by the guitar, again creates a feel-good anthem celebrating independence and acknowledgment of growth. Another perfect track for the summer.

Track eight and the most popular single on the album, ‘Lost the Breakup’, is another incredibly empowering breakup song. Peters deftly lyricises a breakup as a battle, which is lost by one and won by another. The catchy lyrics of the chorus show the power of healing: whilst right now it may be difficult to move forward, one day they will realise what could’ve been, but “by then I’ll be far away”. The song is a summertime classic, and (for me personally) brilliant to sing along to when you need a lift.

Track nine continues with a style similar to that used in the previous tracks, yet the slow acoustic and electric keyboard create a slower, ethereal feeling that reflects the track’s name: ‘Wendy’. A reference to the children’s classic, Peter Pan, the chorus line “behind every lost boy, there’s always a Wendy'' explores the difficulty of being in love with someone and knowing they have flaws but choosing to ignore them for the escapist magic they offer. Peters’ clever use of the Peter Pan analogy brings to life common feelings, much like the rest of the album.

In complete contradiction to ‘Wendy’, track ten, ‘Run’, has a fast-paced, dynamic backing tune. Unlike ‘Wendy’, which highlights willingness to overlook a person’s flaws, ‘Run’ lists numerous reasons for when it's time to end a relationship. A personal favourite, “if he makes you smile he’s blocked” highlights the comically tragic modern dating scene, which her young listeners will relate to. Peters herself calls this song “one for the girls who have quite simply had enough” on her Instagram. ‘Run’ is yet another pop anthem on the album, perfect to sing along when you need to ‘let it all out’. ‘Run’ is sandwiched between two slower tracks, with ‘Two Weeks Ago’ being track eleven. An intrinsically sad, slow song, the solo piano chords, combined with the heartbroken lyrics, creates a sombre tone, reminding listeners that it is not possible to have the mentality of ‘Coming of Age’, or ‘Run’ all the time, and that is okay.

The last tracks on the album invite reflection and celebration. From the heavy drum and guitar beats of ‘BSC’, to the wistful, reflective piano of ‘There it Goes’. I could quite literally go on forever analysing the intricate narrative and beautiful lyrics Peters has within these! The album concludes with the song ‘History of Man’, which Peters wrote on her Instagram she wanted to be the closing song because “it encapsulates a lot of the themes I [Maisie] explore in The Good Witch”. The song is a full circle moment; it returns listeners to the beginning of the album, the journey through The Good Witch complete. The subtle backing chords create an ethereal, magical feeling which is complemented by the lyrics. The song summarises what all the others are about, but simply says it is the “history of man”, making Peters’ own experiences that inspired her to write the album accessible to her listeners. The song is not just for Peters, but for everyone who’s gone through similar experiences.

The album is a sure one for success, with Peters obtaining her first UK Number One Album after its release. The full album is available to stream via Spotify or can be purchased on Apple Music or as a physical CD/vinyl online.