Release Date: Aug 2, 2019
Record label: Capitol
Calling your debut 'High Expectations' is, let's just say, a risky move. With platinum-selling singles, a sold-out night at Brixton Academy and a raft of other chart-stopping pop bangers to her name, for those that know Mabel, expectation surely is high. But Mabel has rarely been one to shy away from making a statement. 'Ivy To Roses', a project she's been building on over time, tackled the minefield that is dating with a candour that actually resonated with those it was aimed at.
'High Expectations' is a solid album, with some extraordinarily good pop songs on it, yet it feels like something's missing Mabel's debut album has been a long time coming. In the past couple of years she's been constantly tipped as "one to watch", opened for Harry Styles on tour, performed on Jimmy Fallon in the US, had a handful of Platinum selling singles and released (and then re-issued) her brilliant 'Ivy to Roses' mixtape. All of which has piled on the pressure for her first record, the knowingly titled 'High Expectations'.
Mabel has been bubbling away under the surface of the UK scene for the past couple of years, with her knack for platinum selling singles (which isn't so easy) and showing early promise with her 'Ivy to Roses' mixtape. But whether she can stay consistent through an album is another test, lending the title of 'High Expectations' a deeper meaning. Hit single 'Don't Call Me Up' has been riding high for weeks now, and has (intentionally or otherwise) seen the singer likened to Dua Lipa, another British pop artist who's successfully broken through in America.
E very album released comes freighted with hope, this one more than most. Mabel is one of the year's hottest breakout acts, having gone from box-fresh to bona fide phenomenon in the space of two years. One minute, she had a blink-and-you'll-miss-her visual cameo in the video for Skepta's magisterial Shutdown (2015). The next, she'd had her own hit, 2017's Finders Keepers.
T he title of Mabel McVey's debut album seems less like an expression of thrusting youthful ambition than a statement of fact. High Expectations arrives with her current single Mad Love just outside the Top 10, and its predecessor, Don't Call Me Up, still lurking around the charts a full six months after its release. Excited voices are calling her the next Dua Lipa, which sounds like faint praise - with the greatest of respect, it doesn't quite have the hyperbolic cachet of the next Dylan or the next Madonna - until you realise that Dua Lipa is basically the only British pop artist who isn't Ed Sheeran to have broken America in eons.