Listen now, think later: Tate McRae’s sophomore album is here. The Canadian singer-songwriter is issuing a new era of pop and you don’t want to miss it.
Since the release of her debut album, McRae has embarked on a world tour and reached the top of the charts with “greedy,” the first single off her latest record. “I was so nervous to release this song,” she tells Billboard. “I didn’t really know what direction I was gonna go in, especially [after] taking that much time off.” Fortunately for McRae, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. “Greedy” has spent twelve weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaked at #1 on Spotify’s Global Chart, and garnered 50 million views on YouTube. Success continued with the release of “exes,” appearances on SNL and The Tonight Show, and a feature on the cover of Billboard.
THINK LATER expands on the centric themes of heartbreak, friendships, and growing up explored in her debut album, i used to think i could fly. The essence of McRae’s songs remains the same, but she’s changed. She’s no longer the young up-and-comer with a few throwaway hits—she’s a maturing hitmaker who’s proved her worth. A captivating performer with the ability to produce both heart-wrenching ballads and dance tracks, THINK LATER is a statement: McRae is here to stay.
At only twenty, McRae has more than enough room to evolve—starting with the moods and tempos of her tracks. An immediate change from her debut, THINK LATER begins with “cut my hair,” a simultaneous companion and contrast to her song “she’s all i wanna be.” This time, however, she’s switching out her sad girl demeanour for a new attitude. She declares, “Sad girl bit got a little boring,” but she hasn’t shied away from her roots completely. In tracks like “grave,” “stay done,” and “messier,” McRae showcases her exceptional talent at crafting heartbreak ballads. Her pleading vocals and gut-punching lyrics are what launched her, after all.
In “want that too” and “plastic palm trees,” McCrae sings about life in the limelight and the hardships which come with the glory of being a global pop star. She’s been stabbed in the back and taken advantage of, but she’s still living the life she’s dreamt of—or so it seems. On the final track, she sings, “Caught in a dream / It’s not what it seems.” Exposing her vulnerability so frequently in songs that are extremely personal to her is always a risk, but they pay off. The ninth track on the record, titled “calgary” after her hometown, grapples with who she is versus who she once was. Everything has changed, but when she returns home, it all fades away. She retreats to old habits and old feelings, singing, “I’m twenty but I still feel like fifteen.” It’s these self-reflective moments often hidden from the public eye where McRae is undoubtedly at her best.
But it’s not all about betrayal and heartbreak. Upbeat tracks like “greedy,” “hurt my feelings,” and “think later” showcase a whole other side to McRae—bold, feisty, and spontaneous. She knows what she wants and goes after it, always taking pride in who she is. A double-edged sword who is capable of any and everything. Her lyricism continues to have room for improvement, but it’s easy to overlook when her captivating choruses and versatile beats hook you from the start.
THINK LATER embraces both the highs and lows of McRae’s new lifestyle. It experiments with different pop sounds while still staying true to her roots. It’s a night out on the town and an evening alone. Fourteen tracks demonstrate her career’s growth and what is still yet to come. McRae is bursting at the seams with potential, and you can trust her to use every last drop.