Album of the Week
The acclaimed pop newcomer releases her highly anticipated debut.
Two years since London pop singer-songwriter Mabel stormed the UK Top 10 with hit single Finders Keepers, she unveils her highly anticipated debut full-length, the aptly titled High Expectations.
Following months of storming the charts with a steady stream of hit singles – including Don’t Call Me Up, Mad Love and Bad Behaviour – it’s a bold move to relegate Finders Keepers to bonus track status. The track sits on a six track EP, acting as a mixtape of sorts and welcoming features with Not3s, Jax Jones and RAYE among others. It’s testament to Mabel’s rapid development over the past two years, one that has secured a much-coveted BRIT nomination for British Breakthrough Act and a recent win at the Silver Clef Awards for Best Newcomer.
Mabel’s debut full-length release is slick and flawlessly produced. She’s teamed up with an impressive roster of seasoned hit-makers, from Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit collaborator Steve Mac to Sam Smith’s writer and producer of choice, Jimmy Napes. The result is full of empowering, personal slow grooves detailing her rise to fame, the importance of self-love, heartache, anxiety and the expectations thrust upon her by the industry, herself and people around her. Superficially it’s an unashamed pop opus, but under the surface there’s candid insight into Mabel’s lengthy journey since Know Me Better caught the attention of major labels back in 2015. Lucky (Interlude) acts as a sincere thank you to her fans, while moody balled OK (Anxiety Anthem) unfolds as genuinely intimate and personal.
High Expectations includes sultry RnB and magnetic pop, channeling some of Mabel’s first inspirations like Ms. Lauryn Hill and Destiny’s Child. There are also ’90s jams and catchy bangers, as well as sultry ballads. The likes of Trouble wouldn’t sound out of place on a Taylor Swift release, blurring the line between mainstream pop and more matured songwriting.
Even with her musical heritage – the daughter of singer Neneh Cherry and producer Cameron McVey – Mabel firmly strives forward with her own style and identity of High Expectations. Four years since she first hit mainstream radio and the start of her chart success, the wait has truly paid off.
1. High Expectations (Intro)
2. Bad Behaviour
3. Don’t Call Me Up
5. We Don’t Say…
6. Selfish Love featuring Kamille
7. Lucky (Interlude)
8. Mad Love
10. Put Your Name on It
11. Stckhlm Syndrome (Interlude)
12. OK (Anxiety Anthem)
13. I Belong to Me
14. High Expectations (Outro)
15. Finders Keepers featuring Kojo Funds (bonus track)
16. Fine Line with Not3s (bonus track)
17. My Lover with Not3s (bonus track)
18. Ring Ring with Jax Jones featuring Rich the Kid (bonus track)
19. Cigarette with Raye and Stefflon Don (bonus track)
20. Not Sayin’ (bonus track)
Listen to High Expectations on Spotify: