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High Expectations

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High Expectations is the debut studio album by English singer and songwriter Mabel, released on 2 August 2019 internationally by Polydor Records and in the United States by Capitol Records. Mabel worked with writers and producers such as Tre Jean-Marie, Steve Mac and MNEK to create the album, with its music incorporating genres of pop and R&B.

High Expectations
Colour photograph of Mabel
Studio album by
Released2 August 2019 (2019-08-02)
Mabel chronology
Ivy to Roses
High Expectations
Singles from High Expectations
  1. "Don't Call Me Up"
    Released: 18 January 2019
  2. "Mad Love"
    Released: 7 June 2019
  3. "God Is a Dancer"
    Released: 20 September 2019

Two singles and one promotional single were released from the album. Its lead single, "Don't Call Me Up", was released in January 2019 and was a commercial success, reaching the top ten in several countries and receiving a platinum certification in the United Kingdom.[3][4] The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Mabel's highest charting single and her second top 10 single. "Mad Love" was released as the second single from the album, and also performed well on charts internationally.[5] The song peaked at number eight in the United Kingdom, becoming her third top 10 single. A promotional single, "Bad Behaviour", was released with an accompanying music video on 23 July 2019.[6] In order to promote the album, Mabel announced the High Expectations Tour, consisting of 24 shows in Europe and commencing in January 2020.[7]

Upon its release, High Expectations received generally positive reviews from music critics, many of whom complimented its production and the singer's vocals. The album was also a success commercially, debuting at number three on the UK Albums Chart and at number five on the Irish Albums Chart.


In October 2017, Mabel released her debut mixtape, Ivy to Roses. Its lead single, "Finders Keepers", peaked at number eight on the UK Singles Chart and became her first top ten single. The mixtape was then reissued in January 2019, with six singles released subsequent to the original release featuring, as well as its next single "Don't Call Me Up". Her debut album, High Expectations, was announced on 18 April of the same year, with a scheduled release date of 12 July. The release date was later moved to 2 August.[8]


The album's first single, "Don't Call Me Up", was released on 18 January 2019.[9][10] It was initially included on the 2019 reissue of Ivy to Roses.[9] The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart for three consecutive weeks, making it Mabel's highest charting single in the UK.[11][12] It became her international mainstream breakthrough, charting in the top 10 in over 20 other countries including Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway where it reached the top three.[13][14] The track also became the singer's first US Billboard Hot 100 chart entry where it rose to number 66.[15][16]

"Mad Love" was released as the second single on 7 June 2019.[17] It became Mabel's third UK top-10 single, peaking at number eight,[18] and her second top-10 single in Ireland where it reached number six.[14] The album's first promotional single, "Bad Behaviour", was released on 23 July 2019 along with a music video directed by Oliver Kane.[19][20] The track debuted at number 94 on the UK Singles Chart.[21] A music video for "OK (Anxiety Anthem)" premiered on Dazed on 16 August 2019.[22]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
DIY     [25]
The Guardian     [2]
musicOMH     [26]
NME     [27]
The Observer     [28]
PopMatters          [29]
Q     [30]
The Skinny     [1]

High Expectations received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 61, based on 10 reviews.[23] Reviewing the album for musicOMH, Ben Devlin hailed it as "a convincing display of versatility and quality songwriting that firmly establishes Mabel as a force to be reckoned with in UK pop",[26] while Chris Taylor of DIY regarded it as "effortlessly cool" with "no faux-earnestness".[25] Q magazine's Laura Barton called the album "highly polished" and said the singer "perfected the art of writing songs that even on first listen sound totally ubiquitous".[30] In NME, Hannah Mylrea wrote that Mabel's "gorgeous silky vocals soar, the glossy production is stellar, but the exuberance and effervescent attitude that make tunes like 'Don't Call Me Up' so brilliant aren't found throughout."[27]

Andrew Wright of The Skinny argued that the singer found her individual identity with High Expectations which he described as well-rounded despite "some over-zealous Top 40 attempts".[1] Conversely, Joe Hale of Clash found it "almost too airbrushed, with Mabel playing it a little too safe to qualify being described as wholly original or progressive", but concluded that it had "some real highlights" and "moments of talent and flair".[24] Despite finding the album strong and well-crafted, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis also believed it lacked personality and only "occasionally hints its maker might be more interesting and individual".[2] Kitty Empire was more critical in The Observer, writing, "High Expectations is just disappointingly all right, lacking any playfulness, or top spin, or a sense of who Mabel is,"[28] while Uncut critic Johnny Sharp commented, "Despite some pleasant enough tunes, she lacks the vocal charisma to stand out from other wannabe Rihannas, Mileys and Dua Lipas."[31] Mick Jacobs of PopMatters concluded, "Though sung in a beautiful, agile voice, the album's contents lack any innovation that truly set them apart, even amongst themselves."[29]

Commercial performanceEdit

High Expectations debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart, behind Ed Sheeran's No.6 Collaborations Project and Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, with first-week sales of 9,761 album-equivalent units.[32] It dropped to number 10 in its second week with sales of 4,184 units.[33] On the Irish Albums Chart, it bowed at number five, the highest new entry for the chart dated 9 August 2019.[34] The album also debuted in the top 40 in Norway and Switzerland.[35][36] In the US, High Expectations entered at number 198 on the Billboard 200.[37] Hugh McIntyre of Forbes cited its debut as "a prime example of how the UK and the US music industries can be drastically different".[38]

Track listingEdit

Credits adapted from the album liner notes.[39]

1."High Expectations (Intro)"
  • Jean-Marie
2."Bad Behaviour"
3."Don't Call Me Up"Mac2:58
5."We Don't Say..."Al Shux3:11
6."Selfish Love" (featuring Kamille)3:12
7."Lucky (Interlude)"
  • McVey
  • Jordan Riley
  • Roudette
  • Riley
  • Gower Poole[b]
8."Mad Love"
  • McVey
  • Mac
  • Purcell
  • McVey
  • Michael Hannides
  • Anthony Hannides
  • Lewis Allen
10."Put Your Name on It"
  • McVey
  • Thornycroft-Smith
  • Tyrrell Demetrius Paul
  • Smith
  • 169
11."Stckhlm Syndrome (Interlude)"
  • McVey
  • Kiara
  • Oliver Dickinson
  • James David
  • Maxwell Bidstrup
12."OK (Anxiety Anthem)"
13."I Belong to Me"
  • Riley
  • Gower Poole[b]
14."High Expectations (Outro)"
  • McVey
  • Compass
  • Jean-Marie
  • Jean-Marie
Total length:39:41
Bonus tracks[40]
15."Finders Keepers" (featuring Kojo Funds)
JD. Reid4:28
16."Fine Line" (with Not3s)
17."My Lover" (with Not3s)
  • Odunaike
  • McVey
  • Jay Weathers
  • Alistair "AoD" O'Donnell[a]
18."Ring Ring" (with Jax Jones featuring Rich the Kid)
19."Cigarette" (with Raye and Stefflon Don)
  • Twice as Nice
  • Charlie Handsome
20."Not Sayin'"
  • McVey
  • Josh Crocker
  • Kiara
  • Reid
  • Compass
  • Reid
  • Crocker
  • Gower Poole[b]
Total length:61:22
  • ^a signifies an additional producer
  • ^b signifies a vocal producer
  • ^c signifies a co-producer


Chart (2019) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[43] 70
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[44] 50
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[45] 165
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[46] 47
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[47] 41
French Albums (SNEP)[48] 80
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[49] 58
Greek Albums (IFPI)[50] 72
Irish Albums (IRMA)[51] 5
Lithuanian Albums (AGATA)[52] 82
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[53] 37
Scottish Albums (OCC)[54] 5
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[55] 98
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 29
UK Albums (OCC)[56] 3
US Billboard 200[37] 198


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[57] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various 2 August 2019 Polydor [58][59][60]
United States 22 August 2019 LP (blue) [61]
Japan 4 September 2019 CD Universal [41]


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  2. ^ a b c Petridis, Alexis (1 August 2019). "Mabel: High Expectations review – confident pop lacks personality". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Mabel Is Moving On With New Pop Banger 'Don't Call Me Up'". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  4. ^ "The Top 40 biggest singles of 2019 so far". Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  5. ^ Mabel (4 June 2019). "MY NEW SINGLE MAD LOVE DROPPING THIS FRIDAY!!! Make sure u pre-save!! Can't wait for you to hear it". Twitter. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Mabel Releases Sultry Song 'Bad Behaviour,' Announces Tour: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Mabel announces 'High Expectations' headline tour". The Guide Liverpool. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Mabel announces debut album High Expectations". The FADER. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Don't Call Me Up". Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  10. ^ Verrico, Lisa (14 July 2019). "Mabel interview: Neneh Cherry's daughter on her High Expectations — and her battle with anxiety". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  11. ^ Copsey, Rob (2 April 2019). "The Official Top 40 biggest singles of 2019 so far". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  12. ^ Jones, Alan (1 February 2019). "Charts analysis: Ariana Grande scores easy second week at summit". Music Week. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Mabel [UK] - Don't Call Me Up". Ultratop (in Dutch). Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Discography Mabel [UK]". Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  15. ^ Zellner, Xander (2 April 2019). "Mabel Scores First Billboard Hot 100 Hit With 'Don't Call Me Up'". Billboard. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Mabel Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  17. ^ Roth, Madeline (7 June 2019). "Mabel Dares You to Give Her 'Mad Love' in Eye-popping New Video". MTV News. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  18. ^ Jones, Alan (5 July 2019). "Charts analysis: Ed Sheeran dominates singles Top 10". Music Week. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  19. ^ Nied, Mike (23 July 2019). "Mabel Embraces Party Vibes On New Track 'Bad Behaviour'". Idolator. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Mabel - Bad Behaviour". Orange S.A. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Mabel". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  22. ^ Peters, Alex (16 August 2019). "Premiere: Mabel's mental health-tackling 'OK, Anxiety Anthem' music video". Dazed. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  23. ^ a b "High Expectations by Mabel Critic Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  24. ^ a b Hale, Joe (14 August 2019). "Mabel - High Expectations". Clash. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  25. ^ a b Taylor, Chris (2 August 2019). "Mabel - High Expectations". DIY. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  26. ^ a b Devlin, Ben (5 August 2019). "Mabel – High Expectations". musicOMH. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  27. ^ a b Mylrea, Hannah (2 August 2019). "Mabel – 'High Expectations' review". NME. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  28. ^ a b Empire, Kitty (3 August 2019). "Mabel: High Expectations review – something sassy this way comes". The Observer. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  29. ^ a b Jacobs, Mick (14 August 2019). "Mabel: High Expectations (album review)". PopMatters. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  30. ^ a b Barton, Laura (September 2019). "Q Review New Albums: Mabel - High Expectations". Q. p. 112. ISSN 0955-4955.
  31. ^ a b Sharp, Johnny (September 2019). "New Albums: Mabel - High Expectations". Uncut. p. 29. ISSN 1368-0722.
  32. ^ Jones, Alan (9 August 2019). "Charts analysis: No.6 at No.1 again for Ed Sheeran". Music Week. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  33. ^ Jones, Alan (16 August 2019). "Charts analysis: Slipknot back at No.1 after 18 years". Music Week. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  34. ^ White, Jack (9 August 2019). "Mabel claims the highest new entry on the Official Irish Albums Chart with High Expectations". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  35. ^ "Mabel [UK] - High Expectations". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  36. ^ a b " – Mabel %5BUK%5D – High Expectations". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Mabel Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  38. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (16 August 2019). "BTS, Drake, Tool And Tyler Childers: 5 Noteworthy Moves On This Week's Billboard 200". Forbes. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  39. ^ High Expectations (Media notes). Mabel. Polydor Records. 2019. p. 1-13. B003037602.CS1 maint: others (link)
  40. ^ "High Expectations CD". Mabel Official Store. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  41. ^ a b "High Expectations [Limited Low-priced Edition] [Japan Bonus Track]" (in Japanese). CDJapan.
  42. ^ "High Expectations". Apple.
  43. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #537". auspOp. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  44. ^ " – Mabel %5BUK%5D – High Expectations" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  45. ^ " – Mabel %5BUK%5D – High Expectations" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  46. ^ "Mabel Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  47. ^ " – Mabel %5BUK%5D – High Expectations" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  48. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes – SNEP (Week 32, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  49. ^ " – Mabel – High Expectations" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  50. ^ "IFPI Charts". IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  51. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 9 August 2019". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  52. ^ "Savaitės klausomiausi (TOP 100)" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  53. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 40 Album uke 33, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  54. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  55. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 32: del 2.8.2019 al 8.8.2019" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  56. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  57. ^ "British album certifications – Mabel – High Expectations". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  58. ^ "Mabel Official Store (CD)".
  59. ^ "Mabel Official Store (Cassette)".
  60. ^ "Mabel Official Store (Vinyl)".
  61. ^ "Mabel - High Expectations Limited 2XLP". Urban Outfitters.