Tate McRae Credit: Nicole Busch

You’d think Tate McRae would have a lot to be happy about: at age 16 she’s already a successful ballet dancer who’s appeared on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation. She’s also started a singing career, releasing videos to her own YouTube channel—which has 1.98 million subscribers. Nonetheless, her music is resolutely melancholy pop. Her singing voice has a nasal quality, and she tends to stick to midtempo beats with lots of atmospheric echo and mournful lyrics. “I stay up wondering / What if I broke my legs / What if I changed my name / Would you still love me the same,” she sings on “All My Friends Are Fake.” It’s a typical sad-famous-kid lament, but the video features a great, exuberantly tortured jerking dance by McRae and her young colleagues. In many ways McRae, who played her first live show in 2018, is still starting out, and the videos she’s released to date show a limited range. Still, she’s got a lot of talent, ambition, and joy pushing at the edges of those downbeat tunes.   v