Many young artists these days have seemingly gotten their start on TikTok. For Lizzy McAlpine, that is kind of her story. "There's been many articles calling me a TikTok-er and it's just not true..." McAlpine said in an interview, "I've been working so hard to get to this point, and TikTok was just one part of it."
Gaining success with her crisp, and earthy vocals and her trusty guitar, McAlpine released her second studio album to critical praise. McAlpine traded her lovely, soft folk style for a more dark indie sound. "I definitely made the conscious decision to go as far away from "Give Me A Minute" as possibly, especially sound-wise," McAlpine said, "When I was making that record, that’s who I was as an artist, which the album reflects. Obviously, we grow and evolve as humans, and I wanted to reflect that in this album."
Her lyrics reflect a melodic quality in her emotions and storytelling. The depth in her voice allows the listener to appreciate the song more. The style of writing greatly reminds me of a lot of young "sad girl" folk singers that populate social platforms. She fits into that "relatable" category that young Gen Z seem to be drawn to. But her lyrics and approach to the songs can appeal to anyone.
One song in particular is "all my ghosts", a track that intricately balances in a perfect way between a fresh new love and the closure of past heartbreak. The track is a vivid capture of an idealic coming-of-age story.
The track, "chemtrails" is a heartfelt song that McAlpine dedicated to her late father. With lyrics such as "I see lines in the sand, but I don’t see who made them," indicating that McAlpine can still see her father's mark in the world and in her life even though he isn't physically with her anymore. The candid emotions she puts forth on the track is evident in her voice—that even though the pain of growing up without him is still there, there will always be a part of him still living within her heart that she carries with her. The song strikes a chord with whoever listens to it as it is deeply moving.
The fact that McAlpine appeals to an audience craving to be understood and is able to put into words so poetically the inner feelings of a struggling generation. Her style choices and appearance more often reflects a down-to-earth figure that people are drawn to. The mixture of dressing like a 90s grunge teenager and her pop folk-style of music showcases and exemplifies the need in today's culture for relatability.
Another song on the album is "doomsday," which picks up where her previous album left off. While the lyrics may sound like a lamentation of a girl dreading a potential break up, the melodramatic chords and minor keys set the tone for what McAlpine is deciding to bring to us listeners.
There will be moments on the album that seem to reflect inspiration from other mainstream artists within her field. You get hints of Olivia Rodrigo in songs like "firearm" or Billie Eilish in "erase me" where the song elements reflect similar bridges or theme style. In fact, on the track "hate to be lame", Eilish's own brother, Finneas, makes an appearance.
"I went through a breakup while we were recording in Oregon. I was recording these songs that were so nice, and I didn’t feel that anymore. Specifically, with "hate to be lame," that song was written before the breakup, and I didn’t have a bridge. The overall song is nice, but the bridge is a "Why was I in love with him?" moment." McAlpine said in an interview. The growth of the album definitely shows in the songs compared to her earlier work. You can see a more mature feel as she learns and realizes that life isn't a bunch of roses. Something, I know, many people can relate to.
Written by Gabrielle Thompson