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Five Seconds Flat, Lizzy McAlpine

A poetic masterpiece.
Five+Seconds+Flat%2C+Lizzy+McAlpine

American singer Lizzy McAlpine released her third studio album Five Seconds Flat on April 8, 2022. The album has fourteen tracks and can be found now on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music

In this collection, McAlpine explores the themes of heartbreak, love, regret, and rebirth. The vulnerability of her lyrics makes the album more relatable to young adults. 

According to McAlpine, the album is actually divided into three parts. The first four tracks compose the first section, which portrays the act of leaving behind a college relationship. The following five tracks compose the second section, which communicates the feelings of loss and loneliness caused by heartbreak. And the remaining tracks, except for “chemtrails”, form the last section, which illustrates the process of healing and falling in love again. 

The album opens with a heavy track, “doomsday”, which on the surface talks about the cycle of life and how death is inevitable. However, the song is actually about the end of a relationship. 

McAlpine compares heartbreak to losing one’s life. The instrumentals of the song are eerie, which reinforces this idea. I find it interesting how, during the bridge, there is a comma in the third verse: “Only my murderer, you.” This seems to differentiate her murderer from her ex-lover, even though they are both the same person. 

The third track, “erase me” featuring Jacob Collier, is a poppy song about trying to move on from someone through casual relationships, but this ultimately only makes you feel worse. This song also explores the idea that the person you’re trying to forget might also be moving on from you, as well. 

This track features some amazing harmonies from McAlpine and Collier. Both the melodies and vocals complement each other so well, and although this light-hearted sound is not what we usually expect from McAlpine, it still allows her voice to shine through. 

The fourth incredible track, “called you again”, is my second favorite song on the album. This one is about a relationship that has ended, but in reality, it has not actually ended, as both partners still talk from time to time. 

McAlpine confesses that she is the one who is causing pain for the other person, because she hasn’t come to terms with the end of the relationship. This connects to the pain that the other person has caused for her in the first two tracks, and it contrasts with the previous track, which talks about her having random flings to get over him. 

The sixth track on the album is “reckless driving” featuring Ben Kessler, and it is quite a lovely song. It’s sort of a conversation between two partners, who both express their love for each other in different ways. McAlpine is the “careful driver” in this relationship, who prefers safety but portrays a feeling of absence, while Kessler is the more “reckless driver”, who prefers to be carefree and more present in the moment. 

The ending of this song caught me a bit off guard, as it cuts off very suddenly, signaling that they have had an accident due to Kessler’s reckless driving. McAlpine, therefore, continues her theme of death on this track.

The song that has appeared on your “For You” page on TikTok at least twenty times is “ceilings”. This is a tragic reflection, and a fantasy of sorts, based on a past relationship. The version found here on the album is more slowed down, which is much better than the more sped-up version that you may have heard elsewhere. There is also a slight modification in the last chorus, where McAlpine has changed the verse from “your car” to “the car”, which I interpret as waking up from a fantasy, adding a nostalgic element to the track.

The tenth song on this magnum opus is “firearm”, which is a bit different from the rest of the tracks. The bridge is accompanied by an electric guitar, and even though McAlpine’s vocals are soft, they still communicate the anger she feels toward her ex-lover. 

This song is immaculate. The constant changing of emotions, the vocals, and the melody are sublime, and they all complement each other beautifully.

McAlpine’s collaboration with the talented singer, songwriter, and producer FINNEAS, titled “hate to be lame”, is my favorite song on this album. The voices of these two artists blend together to create a beautiful harmony that takes you to heaven. 

This song expresses all of the fears that a person might experience when being in a relationship. There’s always an insecurity that lies behind the first time that someone says, “I love you,” and this song portrays those insecurities in a magical way. 

The thirteenth track, “chemtrails”, is by far the saddest song on the album. The only instrument featured here is a piano, accompanied by McAlpine’s melancholy vocals. This song is about the artist’s father, who passed away three years ago, and she expresses her regret and her lack of appreciation for the moments that she spent with him. 

The song ends with a recording of her father’s voice, and McAlpine sings over the first couple of seconds of the recording. She repeats the phrase, “I miss it, I miss you,” until her voice fades away. If you don’t cry when you listen to this song, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

In the end, Five Seconds Flat is a poetic masterpiece. It has beautiful production value, and the lyrics just get to your heart. There is a lot of melodic variety found here, which is one of my favorite aspects of the album. McAlpine really knows how to make an album, and this is just further proof of the amazing artist that she is. 

If you like this album you might also enjoy Norman F***ing Rockwell! by Lana Del Rey or folklore by Taylor Swift (which I reviewed two years ago, when I didn’t know what I was doing).

About the Contributor
Samantha Verduzco
Samantha Verduzco, Staff Writer
Samantha is a senior at Glendale High School, which means that the credits are about to roll. (YAY! But it's also sad.) She has been a member of the journalism staff for three years. She hopes to not be lazy this year and to join a club (at the very least). She enjoys watching Netflix, reading, traveling, listening to music (which is why she mainly reviews albums), sleeping (if it was a sport she would be the best), and spending time with her family and friends. She is productive as long as she has had her dose of caffeine (yes, she might be addicted to coffee) and has slept enough (she may as well be a koala). She is very approachable, and even though she has a mean face, she is not (or that's what she likes to think).
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