The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Lizzy McAlpine’s new album ‘Older’ brought to life emotions I thought I’d never outgrow

After a brief break from the music industry, Lizzy McAlpine makes a ground-breaking resurgence with her latest album.
The album cover for “Older.” (Photo courtesy of RCA Records via AP)

Singer-songwriter Lizzy McAlpine has finally made her musical comeback with her third studio album “Older.” The track that is also the album’s namesake, “Older,” was released almost two months ago on Feb. 13, 2024, with track “I Guess” following a month later on Mar. 13, 2024, and the entire album becoming ours on April 5, 2024.  Following her sophomore album, “Five Seconds Flat,” I had very high hopes. I’ve been a Lizzy McApline fan since 2022 after her song “Doomsday” appeared in my Apple Music Friends Mix playlist. Most people know McAlpine from her viral song, “Ceilings.” While I’m not here to talk about “Five Seconds Flat,” I would like to note that all of McAlpine’s music is lyrically beautiful, perfect for a quiet rainy day, sad lonely night or study session. I’ve been itching for more music from McAlpine, so her new album was well-awaited and well-received. 

When the track “Older” was released, I listened to it on repeat. I immediately noticed the stark difference between the new track and her previous album “Five Seconds Flat.” A lot of the tracks on her sophomore album have heart-stopping bridges, while “Older” seems almost like a melancholic lullaby both musically and lyrically. The instrumentals to this song sound a little repetitive, but in retrospect, it matches her singing “somewhere I lost all my senses.” To me, it seems she is talking about how time is passing too fast to comprehend and all she wants is for things to be how they used to be. 

“The Elevator” is a perfect introlude to the album. It set my hopes high with a slow start and then a quick change of pace. It started mellow, followed by a beat drop and the song quickly ending. The track was short, but when it ended I wasn’t left wanting or needing more. The track drew me into the album, even though “Older” didn’t necessarily set my hopes high.

 “Come Down Soon” felt a lot more like McAlpine’s older music. This track is exactly what I was expecting and needing. It almost has a “bedroom” vibe to it, as if it were a journal being read out loud in the comfort of your own four walls. A lyric that stuck with me was, “Nothing this good ever lasts this long for me.” She sings about how nothing good ever lasts for her, yet the instrumentals are hopeful and upbeat. It gives the idea that she’s saying that normally good things don’t last for her, but hopefully, this one will.

“Like It Tends To Do” is more of McAlpine talking rather than singing. This track reminds me of a train of thought with a sad guitar in the background, similar to the bedroom vibe of the last track. In this song, McAlpine is talking about the uncertainty of relationships, how nothing ever seems to stay the same and how she is scared things won’t work out. While it was not the most impactful musically, her lyrics still resonate and echo through my mind. The song ended on a cliffhanger, like she still isn’t sure what will happen but she’s about to take a breath and keep going. 

“Movie star” is another introlude on the album. McAlpine sings about feeling like someone’s first choice for the first time in forever. It’s a pretty song about wanting to be different for the one you love even though old habits are hard to break. 

“All Falls Down” starts a little more jazzy, catching my attention immediately. This song feels like a self-reflection, with more personal details and lyrics like “23 with a sold out show” and “22 was a panic attack.” I feel like McAlpine took the opportunity to play around with her sound in this song. While it caught me by surprise after the slower-paced songs preceding it, I found it refreshing, and it is definitely one of my favorites.

“Staying” is a sorrowful song about circumstances feeling “just okay” but still not quite right. McAlpine alludes to how she is waiting for either something great to happen or for something terrible to happen; she is in this limbo where “good” doesn’t mean “great.” You can tell that she still holds a lot of feelings for her partner in this relationship as she sings “I’d give myself to help you get by.” Knowing McAlpine is currently in a happy relationship of a little over one year, a lot of the music on this album makes sense. 

“I Guess” came out before the album as a single, and I wish I had given more credit to this song, because it hinted at the major themes of the album. While this song is a little more slow and mellow, listening to the lyrics shows how insecure McAlpine is about being in a healthy relationship when all she knows is chaos, toxicity and things not going her way. This song doesn’t have a powerful lyrical bridge, but instead an inspiring instrumental bridge that breathes hope back into the feeling of comfort. 

“Drunk, Running” is about relapse and people not caring about keeping their word. McAlpine opens the song talking about someone lying about quitting drinking and no one holding them accountable, even when bad things happen because of their problem. There are also hints in the song that she may be talking about herself. I interpret this song as someone finding comfort in misery because sometimes it feels familiar and anything else feels wrong. 

“Broken Glass” is about an abusive relationship that McAlpine couldn’t leave. This song is musically and lyrically impactful. McAlpine has a way with words and instrumentals that make her songs so encapsulating. This song reminded me of “Firearm” from her sophomore album, because both songs talk about her partner harboring a weapon and her wishing she would have ended the relationship sooner. She talks about how her partner would take things too far, but she couldn’t bring herself to end things and inflict the same kind of pain. 

“You Forced Me To” encapsulates McAlpine not feeling like she is a good person to be in a relationship with. She sees herself as unlovable and feels that she is the problem in her relationship. However, at the same time, the song explains how she has changed for the better since she met this person because they are a significantly better lover than her and has made her want to change. This song centers around insecurity in a relationship where the other person seems too good for you. But sometimes, McAlpine implies, the reality is that the other person loves you as you are and doesn’t want “someone better” because all they want is you. McAlpine is grappling with that feeling that she’s not good enough but her partner just won’t leave. 

“Better Than This” starts with a sad strumming guitar. This song is another self-reflection, with McAlpine talking about how someone sees her as a better person than she views herself as, thinking that another person would love this someone better than she could. I relate to the lyric, “What if I’m not a good person? / You always say that I am” because I understand where McAlpine is coming from—I’ve been there too. She feels as though this person idolizes her when, in reality, she’s not who they think she is and can only see herself as a terrible lover.

“March” is a song about grieving her dad. Similar to previous songs “Chemtrails”  and “Headstones and Landmines,” she sings about seeing her dad everywhere and not being able to come to terms with his passing. Listening to this song, I started to feel emotional because no matter what, McAlpine always finds a way to dedicate a song to her dad, which I find quite beautiful. She shows that although loss is difficult, so many people experience it and no one is alone in that struggle. Even though her dad is not here physically, he is with her in her memories and her music. 

In the final song, “Vortex,” McAlpine talks about the feeling of chaos, but knowing one day things will slow. She is still holding on to and being affected by a past relationship that was unhealthy, but also knows that she needs to let go and move on. A lyric that truly struck my soul was “Someday I’ll be kinder to myself.” I know how it feels to be so hard on yourself that one day you realize there is no one left hurting you but yourself. Being able to move on from that hurt is difficult, especially when there are people in your life who are nothing but kind to you and feel you don’t deserve it. 

This album overall reminds me of someone learning to heal and try to come to terms with healthy love despite feeling broken from past relationships. You can tell McAlpine is truly starting to find herself, with the result of this being beautifully raw music. This album came out at such a perfect time in my life, and I feel as though I can relate to every track. McAlpine never seems to miss with her music, and I’m so glad I have more songs to stare at my ceiling to, as well as drown out the world while I study. With the changing seasons, listening to someone who perfectly encapsulates the fear of change is fitting. If you need some music to dissociate to or lock in to, I suggest you give Lizzy McAlpine a listen.

Leave a comment
About the Contributor
Kailey Aldrich
Kailey Aldrich, Staff Writer
Kailey Aldrich (‘27) is from Olmsted Township, Ohio, and studies biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering. She is a Life staff writer interested in anything and everything, but she loves creative writing. She is great at relaxing and having fun with her friends instead of studying. You can reach her at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments