Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Lizzy McAlpine has come to know the beauty of music from an early age; writing music since the age of 6, and singing in her high school a cappella group and theatre. She has since gone on to amass over 300k followers on TikTok, posting both covers and originals.
After having spent her recent years studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, McAlpine proceeded to drop out, following the new-found-fame and success of her debut full-length album, Give Me a Minute (2020).
Weighing heavily on the fragile and intimate themes of loss, heartbreak, and otherwise, McAlpine’s latest release, When The World Stopped Moving: The Live EP, showcases her delicate vocals, paired with raw and vulnerable lyrics, making for a brilliant collection of eight acoustic tracks that tell of her life’s most intricate moments.
Rooted in pain comes a beautiful realization on the record’s opening track, “In Agreement.” There comes a time when the heart recognizes the degree of love it deserves. That one love that compliments us on days we are at our worst, a love that refrains from asking too much of us, knowing we’re in it together, a love that simply reminds us what is real.
In the opening verse Lizzy sings, “I talk to my walls about you / And I think they agree the room doesn’t feel the same / And there’s only you to blame.” Having looked back on her past relationships, Lizzy refuses to let go of a love she finds superior to all the rest. She’s finally met a guy who treats her right. He has now become the topic of conversation amongst family and close companions. Though she is used to most loves falling apart, Lizzy knows in her heart that a love like “his” doesn’t come around often, and sometimes when we least expect it.
Progressing through the record “…What Are We?” reminds us that love isn’t a label, it’s a commitment. A song whose lyrics read like a letter of longing and irony, Lizzy sings, “But all my life, I’ve been looking for this / It seems fitting that things go to hell now that I’ve found it.” After a life of much turmoil and pain, Lizzy hoped there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, but to her surprise, just when she’d thought she had found it, it faded away. “I can see a life with you, but if you can’t, I’m sorry / If four months mean nothing / If none of it counts for something, then I’m sorry.” She is acknowledging her commitment to the relationship, though we can’t hold on to something that doesn’t want to stay. “If spending every night in your bed, has no meaning then what are we? Just a sorry excuse for love?” Begging the question of, is it really love, or just a longing to be held in each other’s arms?
Beyond the halfway point of the EP is a song titled “Angelina.” Written from a male’s perspective, “Angelina” captures the abstract feelings of a man who loses himself in the process of loving someone that left him questioning her motives. ‘Where did you go, Angelina? / Why did you take my foolish heart?” Like a game of cards, when you’re holding a King, don’t ever put it in the hands of a “Joker.” They will do with it what they please, and you will end up sacrificing your crown. “I never loved you more than when you said goodbye / Cause maybe I knew that love wasn’t honest if you had to lie.” He knew right till’ the bitter end just how much true love relies on honesty; therefore, he numbs the pain of goodbye with a knowing of having done all he could to make her stay.
Next, the title track delivers the meaning of what it is we’ve all been experiencing over the last year. When the world stopped moving, how long did it take you to realize the things in your life that truly matter? It is important to know that no matter the lust of love, no matter the quest for money, happiness is a choice, not a result. So, though we may long for this or that, when the world stops moving, smile and admire the beauty around you.
Closing out the record is a piano-led ballad telling of a love incapable of existing in this lifetime. “In What World” is as honest as it gets. “But in what world do these things go the way we want them to?” Giving light to the fact that no one and nothing is ever perfect. If only there were an alternate dimension of love shared by two. When the world stops moving, only then will we know just how much we long for a love that’s true.
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