Lizzy McAlpine Comes Alive in the Enthralling Melodrama of  'five seconds flat'

Photo: Gus Black

The principles of propulsion always require power - natural energy, gravity, or a form of combustion that can move a body into motion in five seconds flat. In the case of Lizzy McAlpine that energy is palpable, registering in furrowed brows and knowing glances throughout her short film (also called five seconds flat, also written by herself and very worth a watch).  

It’s the same energy that’s audible in her probing and poignant lyrics. It’s felt most as she describes her creative process, so caged by the limits of time. The prodigal feel of her persona is omnipresent, not burdensome but clearly requiring great attention and care, needing to be purposeful and always top of mind. That resonates throughout her sophomore album, five seconds flat, a work of movement and moments.

The substance of Lizzy's writing has always been deeply personal, the proverbial open diary that allows her fans to indulge in emotional turbulence, bump to bump. It’s a form of transparency that is always difficult for an artist to balance but is relatable because of how innately human it is. Since her 2022 debut, Give Me A Minute, McAlpine, like many of us, has had much thrust upon her. She's dealt with the loss of her father, a rise in notoriety, and the typical pitfalls of love that prevail over everyone in their youth. This is reflected in five seconds flat, which has a frustrated feel, obvious not only in its song titles but in the earnest vocals that leave you soaked in the sticky melodramatic residue of past traumas.

The real substance of using artistry as a form of self-care and managing hardships is plainly displayed in her 30-minute short film opus. To appreciate the album of the same name, it is a deliberate guide to living out McAlpine's stubborn form of integrity. For her, the expressive process - be it acting, writing, or making music - is one of her most fulfilling creative endeavors.

The album, the film, the constant challenge of her already successful career, none of these have prevented McAlpine from being industrious and full of hope. Her bucket list reads as the measured ambition of a multidisciplinary creative, one who can spring into artistic motion in five seconds flat.

Listen to five seconds flat below:

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