Five Seconds Flat was released in April 2022 and has shined a spotlight on McAlpine and rightfully so. She is a lyrical genius with her way of adding gut-wrenching words to her music. The first time you listen to it, it goes over your head but by the second time, you find the true meaning of the words.
This album is a bunch of tracks of metaphors, in the opening track titled Doomsday she is talking about her funeral. At first, it’s unclear why she is planning marching bands or a painless end until she says the lyrics “and the funny thing is I would have married you if you had stuck around.” The song is about her dying after her boyfriend broke up with her on Halloween. The song is honest and raw she can feel herself being buried six feet in the ground and so can we, as she sings from her broken heart.
Ceilings is her most popular song off the album, it was trending on many platforms such as TikTok. Though her lyrics in the song are as intimate as the rest of the album I wish more people talked about Erase Me, featuring Jacob Collier. This is a genuine and straightforward piece about getting over someone. Her lyrics state “and you’re fading but he feels like you in between.” She is seeing another person to get over her ex-boyfriend, but so is he. She is curious about who he is seeing because she is still heartbroken over their breakup.
Her voice in this song as she sings the lyric, “Now you’re fading, and I wonder who will erase me,” is superb. You can feel her pain in your stomach as the bridge starts. Jacob is harmonizing under her, creating a low voice during the chorus which was a great production choice. Ceilings is good but Erase Me has the exact feeling of lying on the cold kitchen tiles in the middle of the night.
Reckless Driving is the sixth track featuring Ben Kessler, a genius metaphorical piece about falling in love. The song states that there are two kinds of love, careful and reckless. McAlpine acts as the careful lover who doesn’t fall fast but wants the love to last at a slow pace. Kessler is singing the part of the reckless lover, he moves fast and wants it all right away, essentially, he is head over heels immediately.
The lyrics “now we’re at one eighty and I can finally see, but then it’s over in a second crashed the car into the tree,” state that things are going fast, his hands are no longer on the wheel so who’s driving if she isn’t in control. Her next lyrics say, “I don’t love you like that, I’m a careful driver,” pushing back as he drives too fast. You can hear her pleading during the bridge “don’t want to scrape you off the pavement, I can’t be your saviour, I don’t want to be here when you lose control.” She can sense things are moving too fast and she needs to get out before they crash, meaning the relationship will end.
Reckless Driving production-wise is brilliant. The song starts slower and continues to build faster and faster, almost as if the car is moving too fast. After the bridge McAlpine and Kessler are both singing at each other, and it continues to build as if they are arguing until it stops abruptly, and the song ends. This is production magic at its finest. It almost shows that the two did in fact crash. It was a perfect end to the song and the producers knew exactly what they were doing.
Her production team consists of four people, Ben Kessler, Ehren Ebbage, Philip Etherington, and Ryan Lermen. This album has such a unique production style compared to other albums in the indie-pop genre. There is so much buildup in her songs, in Firearm, the tenth track, the song starts off slower when her significant other is carrying a metaphorical firearm. With a minute and a half left in the song, there is a huge crash of instruments that are filled with anger. It’s loud and she is straining her voice, kicking herself for not reacting fast enough. The production team had a way of making you feel the emotions she was singing in this song and many others like, Hate to be Lame, Called You Again, and simpler songs like Orange Show Speedway.
This whole album fits McApline perfectly. If this album wasn’t hers, I would still think of her. Her song Erase Me really pulled me into her album and even now after almost 100 listens it still has a way of making me feel something in my gut. Her lyrics continue to amaze and make me think about the bigger meaning behind them. She did a fantastic job making this album more than perfect, it truly has a way of making me feel exhilarated. I can’t wait to see what she does next in this industry and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves.