Tate McRae – I used to think I could fly
On her debut album, pop artist Tate McRae reveals the crushing realities that surface in our teenage years. “You grow up, you lose friends, you’re suddenly afraid of things you were never afraid of,” she says in the intro on a call. Then comes a heady rush of nostalgia (and irony) as the 18-year-old interpolates the vocal hook from Nelly’s “Ride With Me,” which was released two years before she was born.
The Canadian singer trades in the R&B and pop-punk sounds that were prevalent in the ’00s while emulating the hard-hitting lyrical truths of her Gen Z colleagues Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo. She wields just as much star power on songs like the grunge-to-pop curveball “What Would You Do?” and flips the theme of Wheetus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” with a similar chuggy riff. On the single “She’s All I Wanna Be,” she admits her own insecurities about the galloping pop-punk instrumentation. There’s also plenty of fear in the outspoken “Go Away” and the deserted “Feel Like S***.” She sings like she’s falling apart, but the quality of the album suggests she’s got it together. ROC
Just Mustard – heart underneath
People change. And bands change too. Just Mustard mutated within two albums. The Irish rockers bring back a different beast on their sophomore album than their 2018 debut. Less shoegazey maybe. More interesting, definitely. The fact that lead singer Katie Ball has dyed her hair from blonde to black feels fitting for this new era.
Album opener ’23’ is hypnotic – an eerie, synthesizer-humming atmosphere builder topped with Ball’s lengthy vocals. The air of impending catastrophe is palpable. At different times heart underneath, that promise of disaster is fulfilled: dense walls of noise conjured up by guitarists David Noonan and Mete Kalyoncuoglu, whose skills seem to extend to making a guitar sound like anything but a guitar. A siren here, a motor there. But the aggression typically delivered by other bands with a bull-in-a-china-store mentality is carefully considered by Just Mustard. Still wild in spirit but hard earned. It’s more satisfying in the end.
Even on lighter tracks – like “Mirrors,” one of the album’s more pop-heavy tracks with surprisingly danceable backbeats – heart under Thrums with menace, a gleam of teeth always on display but never fully bared. heart underneath is an album rooted in anticipation: Just Mustard knows that the glimmer of danger is most arresting. A
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/tate-mcrae-review-just-mustard-album-b2087838.html Album reviews: Tate McRae – I Used To Think I Could Fly and Just Mustard – Heart Under