Lizzy McAlpine had a clear vision for five seconds flat, her second album: she wrote a 14-song story arc about heartbreak, and then made a short film to accompany it.

It’s a big step in a new direction after her 2020 debut, Give Me A Minute. That album had a folk-pop vibe that drew praise on social media from the likes of FINNEAS, Phoebe Bridgers, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, while propelling McAlpine past 100 million streams on DSPs. This time, the recent Los Angeles transplant was eager to show another side of her abundant talent.

“I want to give my fans something different with each record, because I’m different each record,” McAlpine says. “I want to always be growing and moving forward as an artist.”

By any measure, five seconds flat is a bigger album. Indie rock was McAlpine’s starting point, but these 14 new songs aren’t so easy to pigeonhole: along with guitar, bass, drums and piano, there are assertive electronic elements, horns and strings. The musical arrangements are bold and immersive: “erase me” starts with sharp acoustic guitar and quiet vocals from McAlpine, then adds layers of drums, percussion and backing vocals before an insistent synth loop comes sweeping through in the second half of the song. First single “doomsday” has a chamber-pop feel, with a rich blend of programmed strings, brass and percussion that swirls around McAlpine’s assured voice.

After writing most of Give Me A Minute herself and working with producer and multi-instrumentalist Philip Etherington, her Berklee College of Music classmate, McAlpine opened herself to greater collaboration on five seconds flat. Etherington returned to produce, joined on 10 tracks by Ehren Ebbage. There are also four featured vocalists, including the Grammy winners FINNEAS on “hate to be lame” and Jacob Collier on “erase me.”

“They have their own sounds and then combining them with what I’m doing on this album just fits so perfectly,” McAlpine says.

Music isn’t the only area where McAlpine is trying something new: she tapped into her love of screenwriting and acting with the short film that goes with five seconds flat. The idea for a film came while McAlpine was writing songs for the new album, which traces heartbreak in a cause-and-effect kind of way. As a songwriter with a penchant for evocative lyrics full of details, McAlpine had such a vivid picture in her mind of how the songs would translate to film that she came up with a full concept that she illustrated with a digital slide show that served as storyboards.

“It’s basically about seeing patterns in relationships: getting your heart broken and then, because of that, breaking someone else’s heart,” she says.

Written by McAlpine and directed by Gus Black (Phoebe Bridgers, Sheryl Crow), the film consists of music videos for five of the songs on the album, connected through non-music scenes that let McAlpine flex her acting chops — a fulfilling pursuit for someone who considered studying acting in college before choosing Berklee and music.

“I got to put all of my passions into one project,” she says. “I haven’t really done anything like this before, and I want to make acting a large part of my career in the future. So, this feels like a jumping-off point.”

Not only that, five seconds flat feels like an artist stepping into her own, building on her past while looking toward the future. “We’re taking everything to the next level with this album,” McAlpine says. “I’m moving in the right direction, and it’s really exciting.”

For more information, please contact Kendall Abelman, Reid Kutrow
or Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000.