The rising pop star dazzles with her assured debut album – our pick of the week's new releases
Mimi Webb is the reigning queen of the big pop chorus. If anyone was still in any doubt after offerings like ‘Good Without’ and ‘House On Fire’, then Amelia makes it official. The album is packed with huge moments, tracks that build to euphoric conclusions and hooks all but guaranteed to unite crowds this festival season. Webb’s brand of pop has the polish and high-energy that one would expect from a girl-group, and the vocals to carry these numbers solo. As commercial pop debuts go, Amelia is an undeniable success.
Named for Webb’s full first name, Amelia was created with the aim of uniting the artist’s two worlds – rising pop star Mimi, and the young songwriter who created her. In amongst Mimi’s sparkling, party-ready tracks, like single girl anthem ‘The Other Side’ and the Little Mix-esque ‘Both Of Us’, Webb threads Amelia’s more vulnerable moments.
‘Roles Reversed’, one of the album’s singles and a pitch perfect pop ballad, sees her lamenting a shift in the relationship that leaves her hurting and her partner healed. ‘Last Train To London’ has her heading home when she can no longer give them what they need. Moments like these offer just enough light and shade for the largely danceable record, and give Webb’s vocals a chance to stand out against the instrumental.
Webb has the perfect voice for pop: powerful, sure and centered, impeccably polished for the big crowd-pleasers and full of emotion in the ballads. Small details allow her personality to shine through and keep it all from sounding too perfect – a gasping “you liar” in ‘House On Fire’, a staccato delivery in the chorus of ‘Red Flags’. Both songs are singles and rightfully so. They’re high points on the record, infectious and widely appealing hits, and their promotion shows that Webb’s efforts to craft a popular album have not just been immense, but meticulous.
This is a pop star who knows how to win in her genre. Her lyricism is sharp and incredibly deliberate, packing her songs full of lines that her audience can scream with their friends at pre-drinks and easily echo back to her at live shows. She strikes a careful balance between the personal and relatable, revealing just enough to keep the song from sounding generic whilst at the same time holding enough back that she doesn’t push the listener out of the story.
Her most personal moment comes at the end of the album, with title track ‘Amelia’. Even here, in a letter to her younger self, the themes of making the most of every moment and trusting to time for the rest are universal. When Webb sings the final line of the album acapella – “Everything is gonna be just fine” – it makes for a moving end to the record. And, also, a fittingly confident one.