“Telling the wide web that this is my era / Then writing a lot of heartbroken music” sings a wide-eyed 23-year-old, truly encapsulating what “being online” entails in the 21st century, something Maisie Peters is an expert at. Subtle indirects at exes, feral Instagram captions, and forever unafraid to make an example of herself and her totally unhinged behavior. If anything, it’s endearing, and that’s exactly the premise of her sophomore record The Good Witch.
Following 2021’s You Signed Up For This, Peters’ new project sees a refined version of the artist, particularly in the track “Coming Of Age” which, at face value sounds like your typical post-breakup anthem that yells “leaving you behind” and boasts about excelling in solo life, though on closer inspection suggests Peters parting ways with the old version of herself in a newfound era of maturity. “It’s my song and my stage / And it’s my coming of age.”
“Watch,” whilst drenched in early 2000s nostalgia and featuring yet another anthemic in-your-face chorus, is probably one of the somberest tracks on the record. “You’re being a superstar / All I got are victim cards / And you got every single thing you want / And I just watch.” The combination of wanting to one-up but also not be the bitter bad guy at the success of someone you once did, and maybe still do love, is conveyed faultlessly here.
Fragile moments have their turn, particularly “Want You Back” where deep inside Peters knows why a certain relationship faced its final chapter, but god forbid anyone say that it ended for the right reasons. Sometimes, regardless of their actions, all you want is that person back in your arms, and hearing otherwise sends you spiraling. “Two Weeks Ago” continues Peters’ reminiscing stage as she yearns to depart back to simpler, happier times when it all hadn’t gone so sour.
Speaking of, The Good Witch is a real mixed bag of emotions with its fair share of sourness, spite, and melancholy… plus dashes of flirtatious revenge for good measure. “I’m on a one way trip to take over the world / You could have come babe, I held out my hand,” Peters giggles at the thought of a very different future had her other half just stepped up to the plate on “You’re Just A Boy (And I’m Kinda the Man)”, and power-banger “Lost The Breakup” glistens in the light of her post-breakup glow. “I’m the greatest love that you wasted,” she gleams.
As far as kiss-off anthems go, the record brims with pack-a-punch one-liners and side-eye anecdotes, albeit, it’s the album’s most tender moments that best showcase how true heartache is experienced in your twenties. From gut-wrenching “Therapy” with its nausea-induced flashbacks to the past; “Now you’re gone honey, I can’t sleep / I’m just talking to your memory / I still love you but you’re taking me from your arms / Back to therapy,” to broken fairytale “Wendy”, a whispering lullaby analyzing two lovers, one who’s all in and the other not quite ready for the natural next steps of a relationship.
The penultimate track “There It Goes” experiences a rush of recollections with a gentle nod to the previous album’s “Love Him I Don’t” with the line: “The love we had was covered in snow / I had to let it go.” And finally, we see Peters exit the other side, wandering down those same roads, those same bars, only this time with an entirely new company; her own.
Maisie Peters describes The Good Witch as “my own twisted version of a breakup album,” ducking and weaving between the real and surreal. There’s something so emotionally distraught about the record that even its upbeat moments can reduce you to tears. Peters so eloquently paints the most realistic portrait of young love, and as poignant and never-ending the heartache may feel, Peters proves that it will, at some point, pass.