Album Review: “Older” by Lizzy McAlpine

On April 5, Lizzy McAlpine released her long-awaited album “Older.” Ever since I discovered her album “five seconds flat,” I have sincerely fallen in love with all of her music, so when I heard she would be putting out another album, I made sure to set a reminder and put it in my calendar. Although it’s been around a week since it came out, I felt that I needed to fully experience all 46 minutes of this 14-song album at least 10 times before I could give my complete thoughts. I haven’t written an album review in around five months, but I will come out of retirement for Lizzy.

I can admit that on my first listen-through, I found that all of the songs sounded very similar regardless of the different themes of the songs including falling in and out of love, her late father, the meaning of relationships in her life and how all of the said relationships come to an end at some point. It pains me to admit that upon first listen, I wasn’t all that impressed, but I gave Lizzy another chance and she pulled through.

I can admit that I might be blind to any flaws in Lizzy’s work simply because I love her music so much, but I sincerely believe that if you give this album another shot, you will fall in love with the different instrumental, lyrical and vocal elements that she brings to the table.

The album starts really strong with what might be my favorite song on the album, “The Elevator.” This song transports the listener to Lizzy’s internal feelings and hopes for her relationship and prepares them for what will be a confusing but eye-opening journey from the hope of a new relationship to the hopelessness that remains after it’s over. I personally just love the lyrics of this song and the beautiful piano melody. It smoothly transitions into the second song, “Come Down Soon” which is upbeat considering the topic of discussion: the highs felt at the beginning of a relationship come down at some point leaving nothing. I love both the melody and harmony vocals along with the use of the acoustic guitar, piano and simple percussion. Around minute three, she sings this really beautiful run that just itches something in my brain.

“It pains me to admit that upon first listen, I wasn’t all that impressed, but I gave Lizzy another chance and she pulled through.”

Skipping over “Like It Tends to Do”—I didn’t enjoy it that much—the fourth track is “Movie Star,” and it starts so strong with some of my favorite lyrics in the entire album: “I’m special; He sees me; He chose me out of everyone.” The peaceful acoustic guitar combined with her light voice is so captivating.

After “Movie Star” we have a somewhat jazzy song called “All Falls Down.” This one is really fun and is the most different from the rest of the album. At minute two, the piece is slightly reminiscent of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Brutal,” and although I’m not a huge fan of Rodrigo’s, McAlpine makes it work so well.

Then we have “Staying” and “I Guess.” “Staying” has a beautiful vocal at the end, but that’s honestly all that stood out to me. “I Guess” also ends on a really strong note with a beautiful instrumental arrangement along with the lyric, “I wish I knew; What I was doing, but I never do.”

Next is “Drunk, Running” which is a song about alcoholism and how it affected her relationship. She apologizes for enabling his habit but talks about how difficult it is to help someone you love like that. She ends the song with the lyrics, “Say, ‘I love you’; and then drink it backwards; Say ‘I love you,'” is so soul-crushing, and the way she delivers it encompasses so much sadness accompanied by defeat. The overall vibe of this song is very haunting which definitely carries into the next song “Broken Glass” which is equally as heartbreaking and includes a crescendo of the instruments and the short appearance of Lizzy belting. “You Forced Me To” follows this up with an equally eerie feeling and an apology from Lizzy along with an explanation for why she changed and is now moving on from her relationship.

“Older” is the eleventh track, and the sadness of this song is almost enchanting. Realizing how growing changes everything and being scared of what’s to come are universal experiences, and this song explains both so well. I have listened to this song an unhealthy amount.

Then there is “Better Than This” which has a calming melody explaining why both people in the relationship need to move on. Here’s a rapid-fire of my favorite lyrics in the song:

  • “What if I’m not a good person?; You always say that I am”
  • “I think that I’m not who you think I am”
  • “But I like to be seen; And I like to be wanted”

I think most women can probably relate to these words in one way or another, so I highly recommend giving it a listen if not only to listen to Lizzy sing your thoughts to you.

The second to last song is about her late father and is titled “March.” In every one of her three albums, McAlpine has dedicated a song to her father—”Headstones and Land Mines” and “chemtrails”—and I can guarantee that regardless of if you’ve experienced loss or grief, feeling what she is feeling through the soft vocals and moody instrumentals will have you balling your eyes out. The last song, “Vortex,” is almost six minutes long and features more variety in vocals and is overall a great way to end the album, bringing many concepts into one.

Overall, this album is so beautiful and was well worth the wait. Please, I beg of you, listen to it more than once. You won’t regret it.

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