Mabel 'High Expectations' Album Review
23-year-old UK artist Mabel (daughter of Swedish singer Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack record producer Cameron McVey) has released her highly anticipated album ‘High Expectations’ today following a number of Top 40 hits over the past three years such as 'Fine Line', 'Finders Keepers', 'Don’t Call Me Up' and 'Ring Ring' to name just a few. In this stunning confessional Mabel brings us a fresh, catchy, harmonically-rich and highly listenable pop record that although at times feels lacking in depth manages to bite back with huge radio potential and sheer danceability. If you like pop perfection then this is the album for you, collaborating on production with the likes of MNEK, Steve Mac and Jimmy Napes you are bound to have these songs stuck on repeat all summer.
Many of the topics on 'High Expectations' surround love, relationships, and personal struggles, all delivered true to the singers Drake-Esque and Reggaeton sound. The album is full of exciting and danceable beats with some more mellow and chilled moments supported by luscious tropical house synths and clear, emotive, straight to the point lyrics. Vocally Mabel's voice is full of intimacy, emotion and technical prowess that instills heart and honesty into each and every track.
The first six tracks on the album stick to Mabel's radio hit song making tendencies, it’s pure polished pop that admittedly lacks a certain grit and is somewhat too familiar but nevertheless provides the uplifting and positive vibe Mabel is known for. Tracks like 'FML' and 'We Don't Say' bring a more alternative take on the modern pop sound and 'Bad Behaviour' followed by the previously released 'Don't Call Me Up' have the listeners singing along to the feel good bangers extremely early on into the record.
"The album is about self love and confidence and I’ve made it for anyone who has ever felt like they are not enough, because I know what that feeling is." - Mabel
The second half of the album teaches us more about the singer, reflecting her artistic and mental growth throughout the process of making the album and also her endeavours into love. The lyrics become more deep and revealing and Mabel develops upon her sound with certain tracks like 'Stckhlm Syndrome (Interlude)' and 'I Belong To Me' having a more devoted nineties R&B sound reminiscent of Aaliyah and Lauryn Hill. One of the standout tracks on the album is 'OK (Anxiety Anthem)' and considering Mabel's young demographic of listeners, this track certainly seems special as she discusses her struggles with anxiety in a supportive way, perhaps foreshadowing a more serious and personal Mabel to look forward to in upcoming releases.
“It’s okay not to be okay, it’s fine you’re allowed to break, as long as you know, as long as you know, everything gonna be okay”
The album has an effortless seemingly chronological order which makes 'High Expectations' feel purposeful and honest, portraying the artists own journey into all different aspects of love. Mabel is certainly blazing trails and there is a strong feeling that although her music is already somewhat globally established, she has only just begun.
Album Rating: 65/100
What do you think of 'High Expectations'? Let us know in the comments down below.