Review- Lizzy McAlpine’s “Five Seconds Flat”

‘five seconds flat’ by Lizzy McAlpine is out now!

I don’t think there’s any other way to start this review than to simply say that Lizzy McAlpine’s newest album five seconds flat has shaken me to my innermost core. In fact, since its release, I’ve struggled to listen to anything other- it’s just that damn good.

five seconds flat brings its listeners on a journey through love and heartbreak- with a story arc crafted so beautifully by McAlpine which makes the entire project feel visceral in both its happiest and saddest moments. Her pen is magical- full of metaphors and simple details that prime her listeners to hang on every single word she sings.

hate to be lame” feat Finneas- Directed by Gus Black

I’ve seen listeners comparing her to her peers like Phoebe Bridgers and Olivia Rodrigo, and while I definitely understand the comparison- it doesn’t ring true for me. I found myself reminded of watching Sara Bareilles live- her voice so clear cutting and theatrical in the exact right times and each song filled with the most poignant of details which bring a cinematic quality to the project.

Every song swell’s as they go on, never leaving us in the same place we started. This unpredictability in the production keeps every single moment exciting- specifically in cases like “firearm” and “hate to be lame”. Producers Philip Etherington and Ehren Ebbage have done exquisite work here, elevating McAlpine’s poetic lyrics to heights that other artists can merely dream of.

five seconds flat- Directed by Gus Black

The album was preceded by singles “doomsday”, “erase me” featuring Jacob Collier, “all my ghosts” and “reckless driving” featuring Ben Kessler which are all featured in her new short film five seconds flat which was directed by Gus Black and accompanies the release of the album. The film brings all of Lizzy’s imagery to life, telling a story of having one’s heart broken, attempting the so called “hoe phase”, trying to date again and finding a love worth your while. It’s perfect, and only makes me more ecstatic to see what she has planned next. Perhaps following in Bareilles’ footsteps and writing a musical? We can only hope- but for now we have this beautiful first entry in the MCU (aka the McAlpine Cinematic Universe).

Despite the album being near skipless (I’m looking at you “weird”), there are quite a few that I’ve continued to gravitate towards more than the others- and you DEFINITELY know I’m about to tell you which. “ceilings” is dreamlike and perfect for the rainy-day blues. McAlpine daydreams of a relationship that is now over, going over the details in her head and missing the feeling- not so much the person. “But it’s not real, and you don’t exist, and I can’t recall the last time I was kissed. It hits me in the car and it feels like the end of a movie I’ve seen before,” she sings on the outro, recognizing how despite missing the feeling, she knows how the story ends and doesn’t wish to repeat it.

“ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine

“called you again” is another heartbreaking track which describes the unhealthy cycle of a relationship that she is stuck in. She knows that she should end it, she knows that it would be best for her and her partner and yet she recognizes that even as the final few notes of the song end, they’ll call each other again. “I think that I was lonely and I missed having friends, now we don’t really talk anymore and it’s good for us both, cause I know you love me the most,” the second verse reads quite tragically and is absolutely, not at all relatable to me in anyway *sigh*.

called you again” by Lizzy McAlpine

Other album standouts include “what a shame”, “orange show speedway” and the extremely vulnerable penultimate track “chemtrails” about Lizzy’s late father. It’s nearly impossible to narrow the album down to just a few favorites so my greatest piece of advice is merely to go sit down somewhere, perhaps go for a drive and feel everything that this album has to offer.

Lizzy McAlpine is an absolute star, somehow creating a musical universe so inviting and personal that I can’t remember what it felt like to not have these songs in my life. And that’s what music is all about, right? An artist making something out of their hurt or happiness and giving it to the world, so that we as listeners take it with us on our own adventures of bad first dates and nights spent crying into our pillows.

With Lizzy McAlpine here, at least we know we will never be alone.

five seconds flat is out now on all streaming platforms, and you can catch Lizzy out on tour this summer on the five seconds flat tour!

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