Lizzy McAlpine
Older


4.0
excellent

Review

by YoYoMancuso STAFF
April 5th, 2024 | 103 replies


Release Date: 04/05/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't know what to do with my hands anymore

One of the most fascinating things about growth is that you are able to change in all sorts of admirable ways, yet still fundamentally remain the same person you have always been. The passage of time never stops being dizzying, and on Older, we bear witness to Lizzy McAlpine grasping at straws to get her bearings in a world that never stops spinning. While it is certainly a rawer and more reflective output than 2022’s five seconds flat, like she promised, thematically we find her walking through the same doors that have defined her artistic output for the majority of the decade. Lizzy’s musicality and lyrical narratives walk the tightropes of intimate contradictions; you can be held in the arms of a total stranger, while simultaneously feeling more connected to a person who’s been in the ground for years. Listen to her lament “I wanna change, I wanna grow, but it’s physically impossible” on the dazzling and brief “Movie Star”, a track so pitch-perfectly produced that it uncannily sounds both warm and mechanical. She finds herself in these types of vexing double binds throughout the album’s runtime, my favorite of which is the masterful juxtaposition of “All Falls Down”, Older’s one true banger. Its lyric speaks of nothing less than pure emptiness and the relentlessness of the hedonic treadmill, while its infectious instrumental showcases everything commendable about McAlpine’s ear for arrangement. She’s accompanied by a breezy and playful wind section on this cut, a unique wrinkle that almost adds a sort of absurdist bent to her realization that everything is collapsing and none of it has ever mattered.

These beautiful and contradictory passages are where it sounds like the record matters to its creator the most, and these extra layers and levels of care are what allow Older to truly shine at its stunning peaks. Where Give Me a Minute and five seconds flat lifted from the playbooks of modern pop production, Older is decidedly more enamored with the songwriting stylings of the Carole Kings and Carly Simons of the world, an outlook that is clear on the aforementioned “All Falls Down”, but also lends itself to most of the record’s more instrumentally engaging tracks. The opening one-two punch of prelude “The Elevator” and “Come Down Soon” makes astute and understated use of orchestral percussion, painterly acoustic strumming, and McAlpine’s colossal knowledge of theory to craft a memorable melody over an occasionally baffling chord structure. Beneath the crackling reverbs and soaring strings of “Drunk, Running” lies a resonant and arresting story of another cycle that seems to consistently repeat no matter how much time passes, a theme that crystallizes further above the pattering percussion of “Broken Glass” and the drawn-out crescendo of closer “Vortex”.

Unfortunately, as Older’s positive attributes crystallize across its reasonable-in-theory but brief-in-practice 45 minutes, so too do its structural, musical, and sequencing misfires. There are thankfully few of them, and they do not come anywhere close to sinking Older’s metaphorical battleship, but some of the choices made across the record are surprising to see after the borderline flawless execution that was apparent on five seconds flat. Lizzy repeatedly sings “I guess it’s all about timing”, throughout the hook of the album’s second single, “I Guess”, an observation that does not seem to have made its impression on a handful of the other tracks here. Some compositions meander for entirely too long before reaching their payoff; “Vortex” is likely to be a fan favorite, and its climax truly is captivating, but it’s gone within the blink of an eye and takes four steadily less appealing minutes to reach. Elsewhere, songs that could blossom into something special are cut from their roots before they have a chance to go anywhere memorable. “Movie Star” and “Staying” are the biggest offenders on the album’s front half, with the latter genuinely making me think that Spotify had somehow skipped the rest of the song on my first listen. “Better Than This” and “March” both choose one initially alluring idea, and then proceed to build nothing on their foundations, leaving the listeners with a merely good product that will become great in their head after the fact as they fill in the gaps.

As stated above, across fourteen tracks and countless previously unexplored avenues in McAlpine’s catalog, these miscalculations by no means break Older or make it an unworthy member of her discography. When viewed with a wide lens, it is clearly a success that cements her as one of the most consistently great and reliable songwriters of our time, one who has such an irreplaceable musical ear and matter-of-fact way with words that she will likely be a part of our cultural moment for a staggering amount of years to come. In its most proficient moments, Older is heartbreaking, raw, confessional, melodically ethereal, and outright fun in flashes. These moments definitely outnumber the record’s more unfocused offerings, but these offerings still remain, and it’s hard not to move through their corridors without feeling as though she is capable of more.



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user ratings (40)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


18908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All Falls Down is the banger of the century fr on god

HBFS
April 5th 2024


1564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All Falls Down sounds like Andy Shauf wrote it for her. It's almost worship but god damn it's so good

Purpose
April 5th 2024


73 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

quite a good review op. found myself agreeing especially with the unfinished ideas or hooks that take too long to appear/payoff. found this great but was slightly frustrated at songs like Better Than This" for not leaning into her hook more, or Movie Star for seemingly sabotaging itself. would be interested in hearing her thought process around this. it very well may be artistically intentional but i didnt love it lol

Scoot
April 5th 2024


22231 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i found myself wanting more of five seconds flat than i got out of this



she went back to the stripped down sounds of her 2021 ep



some songs sound not fully fleshed out



but overall, when she hits she's among the very best songwriters in the game. i think her magnum opus is still yet to come

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


18908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ I haven't heard that EP but I wholeheartedly agree with everything else you said

Scoot
April 5th 2024


22231 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not listed on here but give it a listen, good stuff



when the world stopped moving

GreyShadow
April 5th 2024


7090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

liking the beginning more on 2nd listen. not really feeling the chorus of All Falls Down but i love the instrumentation surrounding it

Bilbodabag
April 5th 2024


165 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This was reallllly boring compared to five seconds flat. Disappointed

HelloJoe
April 5th 2024


1097 Comments


I've only listened once but I liked it. More than I was expecting, actually, because I wasn't too hot on the singles.

Purpl3Spartan
April 6th 2024


8696 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

In one ear and out the other for me

Hawks
April 6th 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wanna Lizzy McBone her.

Purpl3Spartan
April 6th 2024


8696 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lizzy McChill tf out

Hawks
April 6th 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

LMAOOOOO

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2024


5504 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hawks, why do you choose to be the way that you are? genuine question



anyway sweet read blessed yoyo, this is a nice early morning vibe listen thus far

Hawks
April 6th 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just trying to get through life without being miserable my man lol. I make dumb jokes but they legit make me laugh so I don't care ya know lol.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2024


5504 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

okay good to see you have some self awareness, try and develop that a little more king

Purpl3Spartan
April 6th 2024


8696 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lizzy McAlpenis is my pun of choice tbh

Jasdevi087
April 6th 2024


8137 Comments


clearly a reference to Harold and Kumar

Hawks
April 6th 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah that would be "cock boy".

DoofDoof
April 6th 2024


15255 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

‘I don't know what to do with my hands anymore’



On this evidence stop strummin and start strokin



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