Rising Canadian singer-songwriter Tate McRae’s hit “she’s all i wanna be” is like a mix between Paramore and early Avril Lavigne, starting with guitar and fusing into a pop-punk sound.
So, what’s this song about? Well, it’s about McRae dating a guy she believes is into a more desirable woman.
McRae worries that she falls short when compared to this woman (“She’s got everything that I don’t have/How could I ever compete with that?”). And her admitting that she’s not the same as this woman, and will never be, could be translated as humility and, thus, considered a positive…
…but it’s really not. It’s more like envy. And that’s because McRae wishes that she looked just like this woman that her boyfriend supposedly idealizes (“You want the girl with the small waist/And the perfect smile/…And she’s all I wanna be so bad”).
And because she doesn’t look like her or have the same material possessions (“You want someone you can show off/And then you’ll probably spend the night at/Her big house”), McRae has already convinced herself that one day her boyfriend will leave her when he gets bored (“I know one day you’ll change your mind/Wake up and be bored with mine”).
Jealousy and insecurity aren’t just struggles for high schoolers. In fact, I’m sure most of us have all grappled with both as we phased out of high school and stepped into adulthood.
And that’s where this song finds 18-year-old Tate McRae. She’s dating a guy who seems to be more interested in another woman. But the song never says that he cheats on her, just that he may cheat on her in the future and that his facial expressions and body language often confirm her own fears.
This is tricky. The takeaway lesson, I believe, is that McRae must learn to love who she is without comparing herself to someone else. And she must realize that dating someone who shows feelings for another is unwise and devaluing. The truth is, stepping out of jealousy and insecurity is hard work. But it’s the kind of work you hope McRae puts in, if not in this song.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).