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    HomeLifestyleReview: Lizzy McAlpine’s ‘Older’ hurts so good | Lifestyle

    Review: Lizzy McAlpine’s ‘Older’ hurts so good | Lifestyle

    At just the age of 24, singer-songwriter Lizzy McAlpine released her third studio album “Older,” containing a melancholy collection of 14 tracks that capture what it feels like to grow up in a world full of love and hate, especially for yourself.

    The album was released April 5, just two months after its initial announcement, and is her first release since signing with RCA Records.

    Throughout the album, the indie pop-folk singer self-reflects and questions the universe about love, drawing from nostalgic musical influences with similar sounds and themes as Chicago, Phoebe Bridgers, Karen Carpenter and Kacey Musgraves. Above all else, McAlpine channeled a new side of herself yet to be shown on her other two albums, introducing a vulnerable and sweet honesty in her songs.

    “I Guess,” and the title track “Older,” being released as singles before the album’s debut gave fans some insight into just how vulnerable and emotionally provocative McAlpine’s new collection would be. In the imagery accompanying the singles and album cover, McAlpine is barefaced and wearing white, possibly alluding to the sheer honesty exercised or contrasts the imperfections she addresses.

    The album tackles many feelings that accompany the thoughts surrounding getting older, as the title suggests, but also ventures into some interesting instrumental territories McAlpine hasn’t yet shared with her audience. Piano, wind instruments, strings, drums and numerous guitars, perhaps even a steel-string or slide guitar, are all featured throughout, fostering a sense of old-fashioned maturity.

    Focusing less on big, catchy choruses, like her 2022 album “Five Seconds Flat”, McAlpine instead lets her lyrics and melodies shine with a delicate power in “Older.” The song “Broken Glass,” is a prime example of building up to a satisfyingly grandiose point without jeopardizing the vulnerability highlighted in her lyrics.

    In the track “We started with the end,” McAlpine evokes the familiar defeat that accompanies some relationships before they can even begin by strumming her guitar and fans’ heartstrings throughout the piece. Hence the meaning “Broken glass again.”

    Some songs are as bare-boned as they can be before becoming a cappella, with “Like It Tends To Do” being solely McAlpine and her guitar until the last minute when some strings and piano join in, as she reflects on the “what ifs” of a lost connection.

    “Better Than This” follows suit, using mainly guitar to accompany her singing a confessional’s worth of thoughts that toy with the concept of honesty and its impact on her life, until the end when the piano comes in to quickly guide listeners out.

    However, the song that best nails the haunting beauty of simplicity on this album is “You Forced Me To,” with a finger-picking guitar melody that follows a bouncy vocal line and minor harmonies which stack in tandem, only for a carnival-esque piano line to sweep listeners away. The lyrics invite the audience to reflect on a time when they found themselves in the wrong as a direct result of pleasing people.

    “I have changed,” McAlpine sings, “because you forced me to.”

    McAlpine’s light tone but full vibrato lends itself to the bittersweet lullaby feeling that accompanies most of her songs, with plenty of stacked harmonies that feel like warm blankets. 

    The exceptions to the soft folksy blues are that of the more upbeat songs “All Falls Down,” which has a catchy hook and whimsical wind instruments. But despite its cheery tone, it still has lyrics alluding to her sadness and the pressure of the world around her. 

    Another exception is the romantic and sweet “Come Down Soon,” that lays it on thick with the fanciful instrumentation in the best way.

    McAlpine shares her sadness, love, regret, happiness, uncertainty, numbness, doubt and so much more with “Older.” By successfully juggling these emotions, McAlpine created a poignant and sentimental art piece on what it means to be human. 

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