Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Tate McRae – You Broke Me First

I was your sweetest downfall…


Thomas Inskeep: Based on “You Broke Me First,” Tate McRae is the Regina to Billie Eilish’s Madonna.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Amazing! This Canadian Teenager Averaged Out Every Breakup Song Of The Last Decade! You WON’T Believe What It Sounds Like!

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Sounds like the computer generated approximation of Billie Eilish covering a Camila Cabello song. The dubious premise aside, the end result avoids something truly bad — but why wouldn’t we just listen to the two original artists?  

William John: With a voice eerily similar to that of Camila Cabello, Tate McRae mines an aesthetic not altogether dissimilar to that of Billie Eilish when in one of her more morose modes. Five or so years ago it might’ve seemed a revelatory single, but it walks a path too well trodden in 2020 to provoke any genuine excitement.

Will Adams: Mileage can vary on gloomy Spoti-pop, but Tate McRae’s numbed sharpness elevates “You Broke Me First” to the Sofi de la Torre tier. She’s in need of a better arrangement, though; once the vocal drops out, we’re left with piano plod that more evokes the forced drama of made-for-TV Taylor Swift remixes.

Juana Giaimo: I try not to compare artists, especially when they are female, but “You Broke Me First” truly reminds me of a Taylor Swift song that combines the resentful lyrics of her first records with the electronic production of reputation, especially in that combination of dark synths and Auto-Tuned backing vocals (even the official video has the lyrics written in handwriting, which seems a very Taylor Swift thing to do). Her voice might have more personality if she abandoned the Billie Eilish trend of singing in a languid quiet way. Even though I can see that there is depth to this song, it’s really hard for me hear her in it because of all of these resemblances.

Edward Okulicz: Looking at this from one perspective, yes, this sounds a lot like Billie Eilish, and Amy Shark, and so on. But having heard this song a lot lately, I’ve been thinking that in the past it wouldn’t have been the default to say that two rock bands with dudes singing were exactly the same, or two rap songs, or two country songs, and to do so is as lazy and reductive criticism as dismissing this song is. “You Broke Me First,” as a mope/muse (mupe?), is an exemplar of a genre that’s got its own legs now. So you know what it sounds like, but having heard it a lot, I’ve come to realise that both lyrically and melodically, it hits emotional pressure points like a sniper. It is a more than competent welding of a memorable title to a strong tune and a decent atmosphere. I like it plenty, in fact.

Oliver Maier: The post-Billie boom continues apace, here mixed with a litheness and melodic sensibility that remind me of Kehlani. Billie has more presence though, and Kehlani is scarcely this dour. Tate, submerged in moody synth bass, struggles to make an impression.

Reader average: [8] (1 vote)

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2 Responses to “Tate McRae – You Broke Me First”

  1. Glad that this got within .1 of “moral of the story,” which is, I’m pretty sure, the exact same song.

  2. Better than much of Eilish’s output this year.

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