Lizzy McAlpine Grows Through Heartbreak and Yearning on Self-Reflective New Album ‘Older’

Lizzy McAlpine is going through something, and she’s sharing it with us on her new album Older. This is an album for transitions, for getting out of situationships, for coming back when you shouldn’t but also for realizing you should leave some things behind. The undercurrents of Older are all-too-familiar elements of a toxic relationship which McAlpine navigates with stirring emotion, crushing lyrics, and crystal clear vocals.

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The album opens with “Come Down Soon,” exploring a fatalistic mindset in regards to new love. Nothing this good every lasts this long for me, McAlpine sings, as she grapples with the inevitable ending of an ill-fated relationship. Older takes on the role of a self-fulfilling prophesy as McAlpine moves through stages of leaving, yearning, coming back, regretting it, and leaving again.

A general theme of the album is the finitude of love and how it changes overtime throughout a relationship. Love usually evolves and grows in a healthy relationship, but in McAlpine’s world, this love continuously warps and darkens. There is a strong sense of yearning, but also of helping another person at the expense of your autonomy.

In “Staying,” McAlpine sings, What happens when you love me dry? / I give myself to help you get by. Her crystalline vocals shine over lilting piano and guitar as she laments being wrung out by love, asking someone to hold me until I find the nerve to leave.

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Lizzy McAlpine Grows and Learns on New Album Older

Older makes perfect sense as the title of this album. Lizzy McAlpine grows through the record, experiencing longing, heartbreak, and trauma in the span of 14 songs. There’s also moments of self-reflection and devastating introspection in lines like It might seem like I love you / But I just don’t want to be alone on “Broken Glass.”

Lizzy McAlpine writes lyrics that hit like an emotional freight train, but the lightness of her voice stands in contrast to the heaviness of her lyricism. She sings lines like I want you to hate me / I deserve it / for my crimes and I have changed because you forced me to with a voice like an angel, almost camouflaging the melancholia of her songs. Older is not an album for casual listening—it was made for close readings, the perfect soundtrack for intense, life-altering moments.

“Vortex” is a poignant ending to an emotionally wrecking album. The entire lead-up into the conclusion builds like a Midwestern supercell as McAlpine’s voice rises on the lines,

And it’s harder when you know all that we know
And you’re screaming at me and I’m watching it fall
And I’m slamming the door and you make yourself tall
But it’s always an act and it never lasts long
Cause I always come back when I need a new song
And I’m tired of this and the way that it feels
I’m not there any more, this has never been real
We’re just awful together and awful apart
I don’t know what to do anymore.

The climax builds, the vortex spins, and then suddenly everything goes calm. We’re under the eye as McAlpine softly sings, Someday I’ll be able to let you go / Someday you’ll come back and I’ll say no.

Featured Image courtesy of RCA Records

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