Learning to love in Eliza McLamb’s debut album ‘Going Through It’ (part 2)

By Saoirse Pira

Going Through It is sensitive and empathetic, even for McLamb, whose creative career thus far has been characteristically introspective. There is a knowing in everything she does, the self-crafting in Mythologize Me, Punch Drunk, and Anything You Want. McLamb identifies a fragmented adolescent identity, so self-assured yet grasping at the promise of being understood, moulding herself as needed. Part 2 of this review reflects upon the second half of McLamb’s album.

There is a hope that loving through the eyes of dissociation will be easier – it never is, and it is never fulfilling. Modern Woman takes to task this backlog of emotional repression, unpicking the neoliberal commodification of the Self. Tiring of so much pretending, she wants to have some knowing, “I want something to feel / I want anything that’s real”. Despite McLamb’s playful ability to rhyme ‘Instagram’ with ‘deli ham’, there is something timeless about the track, a sort of magic that connects the listener to the artist, but also every woman that has ever lived and grown tired of the ostensible impossibility of that living. The record is something so specific – the discomfort McLamb sits with in Strike, feeling all the blood in her arms, the individual moment of eating deli ham by her fridge in Modern Woman – and yet, it is something so feelable.

It is so rare, to come to a piece of art and leave it feeling so connected to those who feel the things I have felt. It is a gift to have lived and to have felt so much

Strike might be my favourite song on the record. I sat on a bench with my friends, the one we carved our initials in to with our room keys, and it played at the stroke of midnight when I turned 19. It is a song about love, yes – but love cannot exist in isolation. It is the love you have to surrender yourself to, the kind that finds you, and you wait for it to get bad because it’s all you know, and it doesn’t. It doesn’t have to. I found my people and they said Happy Birthday, and I sat with them and looked at the stars, and we listened together and all I could think was how lucky I was to have found love like that.

To Wake Up closes the album, and in it McLamb puts to words – and Sarah Tudzin to song – the specific idea that I had held in my palm since things got better, but could never articulate in a way that made sense to me. She asks, “Isn’t it enough, to wake up?”, and through the strings I think how wonderful it is to recognise the love you hold, and how lucky we are to live – it is a gift to live so many unremarkable days. There is a peace there that can’t go unnoticed – the peace punctuates the living.

Going Through It is an epic – it is an album of all the lives McLamb has lived, the lives that were lived before, and the lives to come after

It is journeying to love without fear or obligation; being so lucky to live a whole life. There might be no returning to Before, but there is still so much life to live, so much love to carry, so many cups of tea to share. 

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