Bustle Booth

Tate McRae’s New Album Is About Falling “Super Hard In Love”

In Think Later, the rising singer-songwriter presents dance-floor pop alongside vulnerable balladry.

In Tate McRae's new album, 'Think Later,' she shares pop songs made for the dance floor.
Tate McRae

Tate McRae is dancing like it’s 2002 again. In her music video for “exes,” a cleverly catchy kiss-off to former lovers, she high-kicks, breaks into splits, and whips her hair in Britney Spears fashion. Her moves proliferate on Twitter, where fans have sliced clips from “exes” with performances of her Top 10 hit “greedy.” She’s dancing like few pop stars have since the early aughts.

“Britney’s an icon,” says McRae, 20, over the phone from her childhood bedroom in Calgary. “It was a completely different era. I wasn’t going in being like, ‘We need to reference the 2000s.’ It was just, ‘We need to bring back dance.’”

As a pre-teen, the Canadian musician danced competitively, even making it to So You Think You Can Dance’s Top 10, but was hesitant to incorporate that passion into her music.

“I felt like there were two different sides of my brain that didn’t go together. Writing is my outlet, and dancing was just a whole other person to me,” says McRae, who rose to fame thanks to a pair of 2021 indie-pop EPs, which featured “Tear Myself Apart” — co-written by Billie Eilish — and the breakthrough hit “you broke me first.” She released her debut album, I Used to Think I Could Fly, in 2022.

McRae’s Think Later album cover.Tate McRae
Fans slice together clips of McRae’s choreography online. Conor Cunningham
1 / 2

On her sophomore album, Think Later (out now), McRae bridges those two personas, meshing hypnotic pop bops, which are tailor-made for radio and elaborate choreography, with more vulnerable balladry.

While she doesn’t call it a “breakup album,” Think Later depicts the chaotic ebbs and flows of a relationship that she went to great lengths to keep afloat.

“Even if I was on tour or doing crazy things, I was so focused in on this one person [who] I fell super hard in love with,” she says. “[The album captures] the thoughts that went through my head of, ‘F*ck it. Let’s just do it, let me just take that flight.’”

Her rise mirrors fellow Gen Z sensations Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo. (She plays one of the latter’s close friends in the “bad idea right?” music video.) “She’s an absolute angel, adore her,” McRae says of Rodrigo. “All of us had a blast on set. It was just like friends hanging out, shooting a little video.”

Next year, McRae will aim to emulate some pop star prowess on an extensive world tour, which includes her first headline show at Madison Square Garden. As for her next album: “I just started thinking about it last night, and I was like, ‘I have no idea.’”

Get to know more about McRae in the Bustle Booth questionnaire below.

In The Bustle Booth

What’s your coffee order?

An iced vanilla latte with almond milk.

What cities are the saved weather locations on your phone?

They’re probably weird. Saskatoon, Invermere, Regina, all places in Canada, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Kelowna, and Calgary.

What is your star sign?


What’s your favorite overused movie quote?

The one from Mean Girls: “You’re like really pretty.”

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?

SpongeBob and Fairly OddParents.

What’s one movie or TV show that you're currently obsessed with?

I just finished Suits, and I was obsessed.

Who is your celebrity idol?

1,000,000% Zendaya. She’s the classiest, coolest, most talented chick around.

If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would it be?

I want to be on a cooking show, something like MasterChef. I can't cook for sh*t, so I want to learn.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

“Mr. Brightside” [by The Killers]. But I’ll never sing if someone asks me to karaoke.

What's something that's been inspiring you lately?

I’ve been reading this book called Big Magic. Whenever I get terrified to write or put too much pressure on myself, I read a couple chapters. It always opens up my senses to creativity again.

What’s something you’d want people to say about you?

That I’m a really hard worker. You may not be the best in the room, but you can always be the hardest worker.