Growing up with Eliza McLamb in “Going Through It”

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Eliza McLamb going through it

Writer, producer, podcaster, and performer Eliza McLamb began releasing music in 2020. She started with her EP Demos, and since then, has skyrocketed to the top of Spotify’s indie editorial playlists. On January 19, 2024, Eliza’s debut album, Going Through It was brought into the world. The foundation of Going Through It is set on a timeline. On her Instagram, Eliza says “This is not a shuffle-play record. It’s a story. It’s mine, and now it’s yours.” So let’s start from the beginning.

The album starts with bird songs, humming, and a deep breath that leads us into the opening track, “Before” – a song about reflection. We’re gracefully let into Eliza’s inner thoughts from the moment her record begins. The genius of having “Before” as the opening track is in the chorus lyrics – they serve as a precursor to the rest of the record. McLamb sings, “The beauty in the time before knowing…” and then quite literally takes us back in time by placing the next song, “Glitter,” right after. “Glitter” touches on the frustration of romance in your adolescence, more specifically, in an unrequited way with your teenage best friend. The tone of Eliza’s lyricism mixed with the edgy production elements make the listener feel like you’re right there with her, hanging out in her childhood bedroom. Both “Glitter” and “Mythologize Me” (track 3) depict the exhaustion that comes with pining after somebody while barely even knowing yourself. She ends the chorus of “Mythologize Me” with, “When I get myself together, I know you won’t want me when I’m better.” This version of Eliza has grown older and gained confidence, but with that comes angst- especially when the person you’re with could not be more different than you. This undoubtedly leads her to reach a breaking point.

“Punch Drunk” is a callout. It’s angry, honest, and Eliza is fed up. Finding your worth can be difficult, especially as a young adult. This song encapsulates the frustration that comes with that. Choosing to throw away naivety is much harder than settling for less, which she touches on as she sings “I needed to feel close to someone, and the best that you could offer was close enough.” After this emotional high, we’re taken into the comedown.

Tracks 5-7 tap into Eliza’s self-empathy, showing a sensitive side to her heart that was previously guarded. “Crybaby” describes her relationship with grief. She has mixed feelings about showing softness for herself & her past, wondering why she takes the things she feels so deeply when everything seems so ordinary to everybody else. After this moment of self-discovery, we’re greeted with “16.” This is easily the darkest song on the tracklist. The melodies are monotonous, and there are low, buzzy synths that ring underneath Eliza’s voice as she sings us a narrative about childhood trauma she faced involving her mother. It’s a heartbreak and a half, considering what we’ve already heard about the emotional challenges McLamb has faced in the beginning of the record. This makes the next track, “Just Like Mine”, a quick breath of fresh air. If this song could be described in one word, it would be acceptance. She reminisces over a former lover, and chooses to forgive without forgetting. As she sings, “Love comes to me softly and I’m spiteful at the taste, I keep my baby in a grave,” she’s announcing that she’s choosing to close this chapter with this person.

“Bird” is Eliza’s way of describing someone with a victim complex while a folk melody plays in the background. It’s the shortest song on the record, acting as somewhat of an interlude to transition into the next stage of her life. Track number 9 is “Anything You Want”- a bright, quick-paced acoustic song that serves as both a plea and apology to her next potential romantic interest. This is the anthem for anyone who’s experienced difficulty with dating while simultaneously dealing with trauma. McLamb puts her fears and struggles all on the table, convincing herself that she’s too much for a seemingly stable person. However, this track is just as comical as it is vulnerable. To emphasize her internal disorganization, she throws dramatics into the lyrics, such as “I’m an outlet mall parking lot, I’m an Everclear on the rocks, I’m not anything you want.” By the end chorus, as she repeats “I’d be anything you want,” it seems as if she’s no longer trying to convince another person that she’s capable of changing, but rather that she’s trying to convince herself.

The last section of the record puts Eliza’s adulthood on display. “Modern Woman” is a rock tune about the exhaustion she faces as a woman in her 20s. She lets her audience know that she doesn’t exactly have her life together 24/7, but at the very least she can be called “relatable” to those who observe. Eliza explains that she’s tired of feminine expectations, she just wants to feel alive again. This leads us to “Strike.” Similar to “Anything You Want,” this song also describes Eliza’s fear of opening up, but in a much more gentle way. She sings the chorus, “I’m giving you a knife to hold at my throat, Sending for a flood and watching it go, I’d softеn underneath your blow, But every time I think you’ll strike, you don’t.” Eliza is used to the crashing and burning, but isn’t met with this at all. The production mirrors this by building up underneath these lyrics, but instead of exploding into something aggressive, we’re met with a beautiful arrangement of string harmonies. It can be daunting to allow yourself to accept something for what it is, and not the fear of it turning sour. Once McLamb has let herself realize this, the record concludes with “To Wake Up.” Ending this journey we’ve taken with Eliza on a hopeful note is incredibly emotional. “To Wake Up” is a slow, gentle, thank-you note for all that she’s grateful for. She reminds us that it’s easy to overlook the simple, smaller things that make waking up in the morning a little easier.

Eliza McLamb walks us through her life during this record. It’s raw, incredibly vulnerable, and nothing if not brave of her to do. Having “Going Through It” as her debut album shows Eliza’s emotional maturity if that wasn’t already made clear in her lyrics between this record and her past projects. Listening to this album feels like reading an autobiography, and reaching the end will loop you right back into “Before,” so you can start the story all over again.

Keep up with Eliza McLamb: Spotify // Instagram // Twitter

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