UK’s newest R&B sensation Mabel burst onto the scene in 2017 and has continued to release hit after hit that showcases her undeniable talent. Her debut album High Expectations is a collection of heartfelt songs that blend together to create a story of love and heartbreak; combining elements of 90s R&B and synth-pop to really meet all our high expectations.
Here are 10 things we love about the amazing debut album.
1. It’s an album and EP all in one
The double album features a whopping 20 songs, but each side feels like a completely different album and that’s because they kind of are. Tracks on disc number 2 are taken from Mabel’s mixtape Ivy To Roses, dropped earlier this year, with the bonus and unheard ‘Not Sayin’’ as the final track. We guess those songs were just too good to be forgotten huh?
2. The ‘half-songs’
The album kicks off with ‘High Expectations – Intro’ and ends (before it gets to the EP part) with ‘High Expectations – Outro’. Each one has the exact same beat and melody but a few lyrics have been swapped out for each one. And between them are two interludes, ‘Lucky’ and ‘Stckholm Syndrome’, that are refreshing samples mixed in with full singles. Each one has been delicately peppered into the album to create a concept rather than just a record.
3. The anthem ‘FML’
In a completely relatable way, the track ‘FML’ means exactly that. Over loopy production, Mabel repeats the catchy message that we’ve all said at one point or another. This song was just made to be chanted.
4. Our fave singles
Mabel knows she’s a hit-maker which is why she’s included some of her biggest into the album. The huge Dua Lipa-esque tune ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ is joined with the bouncy ‘Bad Behaviour’ and the pop princessy ‘Mad Love’. We’re super glad these hits have made a reappearance.
5. The Anxiety Anthem
Mabel has been no stranger to being open about her struggles with anxiety and she’s incorporated her feelings into an honest, yet not-so-down-in-the-dumps track. ‘OK (Anxiety Anthem)’ is a bubbly pop piece that doesn’t dwell on the struggles of mental illness but instead acknowledges that we all have our bad days. “’Cause it’s okay not to be okay … tomorrow’s another day” she reminds us on the chorus.
6. The self-empowerment of ‘I Belong To Me’
“’Cause I belong to me before I ever belong to you,” Mabel sings on this slowed-down ballad reminiscent of a 90s Mariah Carey. Being one of the only slower songs on the album, it’s clear to see that this is an important one for the 23-year-old and we love the message.
7. The genre-defying production
Just when you think you have Mabel all figured out, she introduces a new musical element. The album doesn’t conform to one specific genre but instead takes bits and pieces from multiple to combine a sound that is so uniquely Mabel. Tones of R&B are mixed in effortlessly with early 2000’s pop and 80’s synthwave to create a record so classy and magnetic that it’s ridiculous.
8. The features
Although most of the features sit on side 2 on tracks we’ve already heard, it’s still an impressive line-up. Mabel has pulled some pretty big names into her clique such as Rich The Kid on ‘Ring Ring’, Stefflon Don on ‘Cigarette’ and Kamille on ‘Selfish Love’ . It’s pretty impressive for a debut album to be that stacked out, but we’re sure everybody wants to be in Mabel’s posse.
9. The powerhouse that is ‘Not Sayin’’
It may be at the bottom of the list on side 2, but the track ‘Not Sayin’’ is a huge pop powerhouse. With its tropical beats and catchy hooks, it’s perfect for the upcoming summer. We can’t help but groove along to the vibe Mabel’s created.
10. It’s OUT NOW
You’ve just sat here and read all about the album, so hurry up and go listen to it! Don’t take our word for it, but it may just be one of the best albums we’ve heard this year. So what are you waiting for? Your expectations are dying to be exceeded.