Listen To This: Better ‘Hold On’ while listening to Lizzy McAlpine’s new emotional single

Read about this week’s most notable singles by Nia Archives, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and more.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

This week, Nia Archives, Lizzy McAlpine and Yves Tumor released singles that reinforce their signature sounds, while Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Layla” ventures into an unconventional simplicity. Read on to learn more. 

“Hold On” by Lizzy McAlpine

Ruby Griffin, Contributing Writer

Lizzy McAlpine has dropped yet another sad alternative song that you can cry to. “Hold On” is co-written by McAlpine and the award-winning songwriting duo Pasek and Paul. This single is the theme song for “Dear Edward,” a new series that premiered on Apple TV+ on Feb. 3. McAlpine stays true to her typical sound, with relatable lyrics that speak of finding a support system even when in a dark place — contrasted with a comforting acoustic guitar backing. With “Hold On,” McAlpine has successfully written another song that reeks of melancholy, with a dash of hope and tear-jerking lyrics. “When I’m alone, it will all come undone / You carve the space for my sadness / To be seen for once / Hold on to me / I’ll hold on to you / The world is moving on without me / Please show me how to / Hold on.” If you are a fan of McAlpine and heartwarming songs that will break your soul, you will not be disappointed and should add this song to your late-night sad tunes playlist immediately. 

“Conveniency” by Nia Archives

Sandy Battulga, Music Editor

In “Conveniency,” Nia Archives copies the best parts of old-school R&B and pastes them into a dance-music track that extends beyond the confines of the genre. The song begins with the strumming of an acoustic guitar that harkens back to R&B staples “No Scrubs” by TLC and “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. Lyrically, “Conveniency” feels familiar as well. The second time that Nia sings the chorus — “I can’t always be / Option number three / I’m at your conveniency” — she repeats every line as her own supporting vocalist, adding melodic flairs that remind listeners of powerhouses like Brandy and Erykah Badu. Nia doesn’t linger too long in already established sounds, though. She makes sure to stamp the song with her own signature motifs, like the drum-heavy, fast-paced beat that is a fixture of her discography. This track fits perfectly into the self-described “future-classic” sound that Nia has patented for herself. 

“Layla” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Holden Lay, Staff Writer

“Layla” sees lo-fi psychedelic mainstay Unknown Mortal Orchestra take a lowkey turn, gliding its way into one of its slickest tracks yet. The band’s sound here is noticeably stripped back — simple but highly effective when it comes to finding a tight, funky groove to relax into. In the chorus, a heavy guitar meets a simple rhythm section, backing up bandleader Ruban Nielson as he sings a catchy and anthemic chorus of “Hey / Lay low, Layla / Let’s get outta this broken place.” The production here has a lovely wet sound, noticeably more understated than the aggressive maximalism of some of the band’s best early work, but it suggests a confidence in the simpler side of its songwriting. A fantastic melodic solo ties this track together perfectly. A few years ago, it would have been hard to guess that Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s off-kilter, effect-laden sound would find this level of mainstream visibility, but consistently refining its unique sonic vision has more than paid off.

“Echolalia” by Yves Tumor

Hanya Gomaa, Contributing Writer

The definition of echolalia is “the meaningless repetition of words just spoken by another person.” It normally occurs in children, and along with certain conditions like Tourette’s and autism. Yves Tumor’s newest single of the same name is driven by a catchy bassline and propelling percussion. Tumor expresses a love that is making him crazy — an infatuation with a person that has reached a point of uncomfortability and abnormality. You can feel the bass in your chest, and it’s as if you’ve been transported to a nightclub in the summer, trying to rationalize complex emotions: “I see you standing there, but you’re all alone / You look so magical / I don’t know how to act when I’m on my own.” The song’s title is truly reflected in its nature, with Tumor having the same repetitive delivery throughout the verses and chorus, spinning the listener into a transcendent state that feels like falling apart at the hands of someone else. Grounded through the song’s rhythm, Tumor sees a dangerous lover, a spellbinding “God,” in “Echolalia” and embraces them fully — as if he had a choice. 

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