Label: RCA Records
Release Date: 20th August 2020
"Her mellifluously sweet vocals clash brilliantly with a trap-inspired beat, culminating in catharsis: it’s ‘Dancing on My Own’ for today’s teens."
Whilst ‘you broke me first’ climbs the charts, with over ninety million streams and a viral TikTok trend, Tate McRae hits it out of the park again with this hypnotic hit.
Written by McRae, Larzz Principato (Dua Lipa, Halsey) and Jeremy Dussolliet (Anthony Ramos), the single features electronic production elements and haunting lyrics: "I'm sorry I can't seem to do anything right / To be honest might delete this song tonight.” Her mellifluously sweet vocals clash brilliantly with a trap-inspired beat, culminating in catharsis: it’s ‘Dancing on My Own’ for today’s teens.
In promotional material for the track, McRae has explained that ‘don't be sad’ is "basically talking about someone who will never understand [and] therefore 'mocks' you for being dramatic or too sad, or too depressed, not making sense etc" before adding that "this is a [really] personal one to me." McRae elaborated upon the launch of the single’s video, telling fans “i wrote this song over a year ago. these lyrics mean so much to me - i hope u guys can connect to them like i do. take a look inside my head in this song. love u guys!"
The song’s repetitive piano chords and use of vocal distortion (at its best for “you’re not special”) suggest an introspective sense of obsession. McRae could easily be mocking negative self-talk as much as a negative individual. Whether the simple lyrics are deliberate, suggesting the condescension within positive clichés, or a reminder of her youth, they balance well with the powerful production.
Tate McRae may have “wasted all my money throwing pennies in a fountain” but ‘don’t be sad’ cements that skill, rather than luck, is to be credited for her success so far.
Words by Abigail Howe.
22nd August 2020.