HIGH EXPECTATIONS (MABEL)

RELEASED 2ND AUGUST 2019

Favourite track: My Lover

This album explores all her love, disappointment and confusion but remains fierce because is there really any other way to handle it?

I had come across the BRIT-award nominated RnB artist, Mabel, before. I was a fan of her hit song ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ so when I saw that she released High Expectations I wondered whether it would include similar-sounding tracks or whether she would vary it. She is known for telling stories about identity, relationships and ‘the self’ in her music which I think makes up for a lot of the popular music because almost every listener can relate. The album cover art definitely has that glamorous female RnB artist look with Mabel pictured on the cover in front of what appears to be a spotlight. What’s interesting is that she has two discs of music so perhaps they both tell different stories.

Image credit: Smarttimes Pty

The first track ‘High Expectations – Intro’ opens with strings and then a very smooth vocal. It’s slow, melancholic and delicate really showing her vulnerability with an element of it being cinematic. It’s about her expectations and standards for her relationship. The next song, ‘Bad Behaviour’, is far more dancy and commercial-sounding. It’s one you can dance to with some steel drums in the background and warm waves. It has that island feel combined with Pop. ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ is the famous one and if you’ve been on YouTube or listened to the radio at all this year, you most likely would have heard this hit. Catchy AF (and the message is very Dua Lipa-esque). I love the introduction to ‘We Don’t Say…’. It has something quite old school about it beat-wise but the delivery and rest of the instrumental is 2019 for sure. A lot of her music is about trying to figure out what her (and her man) are doing because there is all these mixed emotions, blurred lines and jealousy. Kamille features on the track ‘Selfish Love’ is a continuation of that theme without a doubt. I like the music backing to this though. It’s VERY catchy and playable.

Another song I have definitely heard is ‘Mad Love’ which is another commercial Pop/Dance song. ‘Trouble’ definitely has the more RnB instrumental and beat so if that’s your things, listen to that track. It’s heartfelt and honest and does go quite Pop at the chorus but it works well. Her singing is also excellent, with such smooth high notes. ‘Stckhlm Syndrome – Interlude’ has that RnB thing going on HERE. I love the way she sings in this song and the bass really comes through to accompany the RnB piano and beat. She slows it right down in the sad love song ‘I Belong To Me’ displaying her vocal ability as does ‘High Expectations – Outro’.  

The second disk has a good few more collaborations with the first track ‘Finders Keepers’ featuring East London UK Rapper, Kojo Funds. I’ve definitely heard this track before and LOVE IT. It’s one you can move to but it’s got this softness and they complement each other so well. Not3s is also included on the tracks ‘Fine Line’ and one that I’ve also definitely come across (and realllllllly like), ‘My Lover’. This has a very UK Rap feel with a hard bass and beat and guitar. Of course, another commercial song you MUST have heard on the radio is ‘Ring Ring’ with Jax Jones and Rich The Kid. If you like Afrobeat or UK Rap beats, listen to ‘Cigarette’ featuring RAYE and Stefflon Don which incorporates steel drums, a HARD beat and some great vocals that you can dance to. You won’t be disappointed.      

Her music is great for a girl’s night. It covers all grounds.