Image: Lissyelle Laricchia.
Emerging pop artist Tate McRae is about to make a stamp on the world. With two EP’s and a string of singles under her belt, the Canadian songstress has offered up her debut body of work, i used to think i could fly, taking us on a rollercoaster ride through growing up, falling in love, going through heartbreak and becoming acquainted with your own feelings.
Arriving just in time for the singers debut Australian tour next month, the collection of songs brings pop-tastic sonics, with moments of angsty-rock and hip-hop effortlessly woven in to create dynamic cuts throughout. Opening with a static-drenched voice memo that nods to album title, we’re immediately met with McRae’s silky vocals atop spacious guitar chords that build towards hip-hop influenced beats on don’t come back. The singer shuns a lover, pleading with them to stay away if he can’t realise her worth, an empowering theme central to i used to think i could fly.
On i’m so gone, McRae is moving on from a toxic relationship that keeps trying to lure her back. Three tracks in and the singers flawless vocals continue to stun, this time pulling back to offer a more vulnerable performance that showcases the shades of McRae’s tones. Grunge-infused guitar lines ring in the what would you do?, co-written by McRae with Blake Slatkin (Lil Nas X, Kid Laroi), Alexander Glantz aka Alexander 23 (Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez), Charlie Puth (The Kid Laroi, Ava Max). Sweet and soaring vocals float above the rock-based soundscape, creating a flawlessly captivating juxtaposition of sweet and assertive sounds that channels rock luminaries No Doubt.
The record takes a swift turn into ballad territory on chaotic, a song that chronicles the anxieties that accompany adult life, penned by the singer alongside acclaimed producer and songwriter Greg Kurstin. Atmospheric production swells beneath moving string arrangements and piano melodies, laced with relatable and thought provoking lyricism. The intimacy continues on hate myself, where the singer offers deep introspection on her own part to play in the demise of a relationship. Acknowledging her own flaws, heart wrenching vocals soar throughout the songs chorus, bringing emotional lyricism to life.
Across the albums second half, what’s your problem and feel like shit explore the turbulent up and down nature of noxious relationships and the emotional impact other peoples words and actions can imprint on us. Weaving subtle notes of rock within a pop-tastic soundscape, she's all i wanna be navigates self-comparison to another person, prompted by observing your partner eyeing up another woman. McRae's distinct vocals stomp atop alt-punk guitars and driving percussion, whilst gleaming synths bring all the captivating elements of the song together. The guitar-led boy x serves as a note to a former partner, guiding them to not make the same mistakes with their new girl, before you’re so cool slips back into fiery lyricism. Teaming up with GRAMMY® Award-winning musician, songwriter and producer FINNEAS on the albums closer i still say goodnight, cinematic strings unfurl beneath McRae’s mesmerising vocals and enchanting piano melodies. The sombre ending creates an ethereal moment on the record, longing to be used in your favourite heartbreak film.
McRae has presented a body of work that captures the turbulent nature of arriving at adulthood and being thrust into a world of complex emotions and ulterior motives. i used to think i could fly undoubtedly proves the singers vocal ability and songwriting chops, providing moments that are relatable, brashy, intimate and vulnerable, brought to life by her raspy performance. Sitting at thirteen tracks, the collection of songs could have been curated down to a succinct 10 to create a punchier flow, but nevertheless McRae is coming for the pop crown on her debut. i used to think i could fly is a promising feat for the emerging artist, ready to take over the world.
i used to think i could fly is out now!