Lizzy McAlpine’s third full-length began as a classic breakup album—which is to say, “tunnel vision,” she tells Apple Music. “Everything was about that.” It wasn’t until she wrote the runaway hit “Older” that she realized what the project was really about: personal growth, trusting your instincts, seeing the bigger picture. “That song recontextualized everything,” she said. “Suddenly I saw what those three years had really been for.” Older is a portrait of an artist in her early twenties, falling out of love and stepping into her power. Creating it required her to get out of her comfort zone. After making the tough decision to part ways with her producer, she surrounded herself with a full band, re-recorded most of the songs, and assembled a project that confronts a breakup’s gray areas (on “Drunk, Running,” she wonders if she’s partly to blame for an ex’s struggles with sobriety). McAlpine ordered the songs on the album to trace the arc of the relationship, culminating in four tracks that illustrate the perspective she gained. Read on to discover the story behind each song. “The Elevator” “When I decided to remake the album with a band, I knew I wanted it to have a proper, cool intro. This song was the first one we recorded together. We didn’t even have a drummer yet. But it felt right. And it was proof of concept, like, ‘OK, we’re going to be able to do this.’” “Come Down Soon” “This was one of the first songs that I wrote for the album in 2021. It’s gone through a lot of different iterations, and only when I brought it to the band did it begin to make sense. Prior to that, we were just putting pieces together one by one, and it wasn’t working. Finally, I realized this music needs a band behind it. A collective force.” “Like It Tends To Do” “This was the first song I wrote for this project, back when I was finishing up five seconds flat. Immediately it was my favorite song I’d ever written. It felt like some of my best songwriting. I knew it deserved its own place on a different project.” “Movie Star” “I wrote this with my friend Olivia Barton who opened for me on my last tour. We initially had a wild outro that was full of electric guitars and big drums. But when we got into the studio with the band, we realized that ‘Elevator’ had a similar arc and sound. So we cut the whole outro out of this one and now it’s just a short, simple little song. I think it’s so much better this way.” “All Falls Down” “I wrote this one when I was on tour, which is weird. I never write songs on the road because I hate touring, so I’m usually pretty miserable and uninspired. But I guess this was different because I was writing it about that feeling. Originally, it was slow and ballad-y because that’s what the lyrics feel like, but it evolved into this fun, upbeat number. I love that juxtaposition.” “Staying” “This was supposed to be a really short interlude, and it had this outro section that I had written that my old producer suggested we cut. But later, when I took it to the band and they jammed on it, I was like, ‘You know what, I’m actually going to add the outro back in. I think it could be cool.’ And now it’s my favorite part of the song. I’m so glad I decided to do that, and that I didn’t let that producer’s opinion sway me.” “I Guess” “Most of the time, in my revisions with the band, we were taking a lot of stuff out. It didn’t feel like the original recordings had enough space, had room to breathe. This one was sort of the opposite. It had a lot we wanted to keep—strings, drums, horns. Instead, we just layered in some additional elements—guitar, piano, and bass chords—to try to make it cooler.” “Drunk, Running” “I wrote this song after I was out of the relationship [that this album is about] and pretty far removed from it. I went out with my friends one night and my ex was there; we were at a bar and he was ignoring me and just looked really miserable. I was like, ‘Damn, this is hard to watch.’ This song is about that experience, and our time together before that. I ordered the tracks in a very specific way to carry you from the beginning of the relationship into the second half, where things start to devolve and get really toxic. ‘Drunk, Running’ is the beginning of that toxic chapter. The bridge is kind of like, ‘Oh God, what if I did this to you? What if I made you this way? I’m so sorry for staying when I should have left.’ It’s me realizing my part that I played.” “Broken Glass” “I played this one on my last tour. The original version was done. I love this song so much and think it fits perfectly in this spot on the album. It’s just really dark.” “You Forced Me To” “I wrote this song during a recording session when I stepped outside to take a break. I went home that night and recorded it on my laptop, and that’s what you hear. We didn’t re-record anything. When I went to the band and I played them this demo, they were like, ‘That’s it. We don’t need to do anything.’ And Mason [Stoops] in particular—he’s our guitar player, and kind of the leader of the band—he was adamant about me being the only person credited.” “Older” “This song changed everything for me. I had the first verse and chorus written in a voice memo that I’d kind of forgotten about because my first producer thought it might be too Disney. But when I played it for Mason and Taylor [Mackall], they were immediately like, ‘No, this is amazing.’ The only issue was that I didn’t know how to finish it, since by the time we revisited it, I was so far removed from the intensity of that breakup. They suggested I write about where I am now. Doing that tied the whole song together for me, and cemented the album’s entire concept. It unlocked everything. We finished the song in 20 minutes, did three takes, used the third one, and never looked back.” “Better Than This” “I knew I wanted to update this song from the original version, so the band and I did a bunch of live takes. That was generally our process throughout. We’d do a bunch of live takes, pick one, and then pepper stuff on top of it. I loved that the core of the album was live recordings—everyone huddled in a room. It felt like that was the only way to approach this project, and this song in particular.” “March” “This song is about my dad, who passed away in 2020. Every 13th track on all of my albums is about him. He passed away on the 13th of March, and my first album came out on the 13th, and there were 13 tracks, and the 13th track was about him. I didn’t really plan that, but it created a tradition. I don’t really write about my dad with anyone because it’s just really heavy and personal, but I wrote this song with [songwriter/composer] Ethan [Gruska] who made me feel safe and open. Recording it was amazing. It feels so warm when the band comes in. It’s a hug for your ears.” “Vortex” “This song was supposed to be the title of the album for so long, but again, it felt like tunnel vision. This album is, ultimately, about so much more than a breakup. But I still thought it was a perfect way to end the project. I love that the lyrics are forward-facing and hopeful, like, ‘Someday I will be strong enough to say no to you,’ or ‘Someday I’ll be strong enough to let this go.’ The gist is: I may not be there yet, but I know I will be.”

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