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Older, by Lizzy McAlpine

Lizzy McAlpine has become one of my favorite young artists. She was initially recommended to me — just a little more than a year ago — by my son Elliot, and I ended up listening to her stuff more than any other artist in 2023. She even placed two songs in my Top Ten Songs of 2023 (including the Song of the Year). So to say that I was “eagerly anticipating” her new album would be an understatement.

Since the album dropped, I’ve listened through it three times (four or five listens for some of my favorite new songs). And to cut to the chase: I really enjoy it. Lizzy McAlpine still has an amazing voice and pleasant acoustic instrumentation more reminiscent of her first album than her second album. So, the album could work well as an easy background listen. Still, it also feels substantial enough that I could just sit in a chair and listen to it without any other distraction. It’s clear that the McAlpine has something to say: about growing older… about grieving… about entropy… about the human condition.

One might be able to guess this from the previous sentence, but my overall impression after three or four listens is that the album is mellow and melancholy. That being said, “All Falls Down” is still a bop. And “Staying” — for all of its melancholy mood — is a new favorite. As the fourth and fifth tracks on the album, respectively, they form the emotional core of the album for me. I also really like “You Forced Me To” (I’m always a sucker for a good waltz!). And “Vortex” is especially powerful, both lyrically and musically. There’s only one song from the whole album which I feel inclined to skip: “Drunk Running.” So, it’s really quite solid, from top to bottom.

I also like the fact that a couple of the songs (but especially the album’s title track) sound like they have Gospel influence to me. In saying “Gospel,” I mean the musical genre — not the Good News about God’s Kingdom, fulfilled in Jesus — however, McAlpine’s understanding of the human condition could actually be fertile ground in which Christian faith could grow.

My biggest complaint about the new album is that I wish it was longer. But I love its overall sound and feel. I’m excited to keep processing the music further in the days and weeks to come.

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