Mabel – ‘About Last Night…’ review: a heady rush of club-ready tunes

Inspired by 'Paris Is Burning' and 'RuPaul's Drag Race', the singer-songwriter's second record sees her embracing club-ready sounds to really let loose

On ‘About Last Night…’, Mabel invites you out on the town. The singer-songwriter’s second record loosely follows a night out, detailing the euphoria of the dancefloor and all the ecstasy, frustration and heartbreak a messy night out can bring: from the alcohol-induced tears over an ex to stumbling home as the sun rises.

The album’s inception began during lockdown when nobody could go to an actual club. Stuck at home and struggling with burnout after an exhausting few years living life in the public eye, Mabel began re-watching Paris Is Burning, Pose and RuPaul’s Drag Race, sparking the early inspiration for ‘About Last Night…’. Influenced by the allure of the dancefloor and the endless possibilities it can bring, she set about creating the soundtrack to the killer party she was craving at the time. As a result, the record draws on house, disco, pop and R&B, resulting in a heady rush of club-ready tunes.

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While her 2019 debut ‘High Expectations’ occasionally felt like it was actually playing into the expectations of what a mainstream pop record should be, here Mabel lets loose. Banging lead single ‘Let Them Know’, an earworm indebted to the ballrooms of New York, is a confident, tongue-in-cheek celebration of feeling like – in Mabel’s own words – “you’re that bitch”. The ABBA-inspired ‘Animal’ and pulsating ‘Definition’ are similarly self-assured; both pounding amalgams of jubilant hooks and bone-shaking beats.

As with all nights out, there are some quieter moments, too. ‘Take Your Name’, which combines strings and woozy layers of vocals reminiscent of Ariana Grande, show some raw vulnerability with Mabel singing: “I was ready to take your name”. It’s the moment on the night out where you find yourself in the bathroom, oversharing your inner heartaches to someone you’ve just met and you’ll probably never see again. ‘Crying On The Dance Floor’, meanwhile, is a celebration of female friendship; the words of affirmation shared with a pal if they’re having a wobble under the disco ball (“Find someone to kiss tonight, underneath the flashing lights / We gon’ have the time of our lives”). ‘Let Love Go’, though, is the antidote to these two tracks: a slick cut of ‘80s disco that features rapper Lil Tecca and urges you to sack off any partner who makes you feel this way.

Like with any good party, Mabel knows when to call it. Finishing with the tropical house-flecked ‘LOL’ – a raised middle finger to clingy exes who won’t take no for an answer – she brings the night to a close. The equivalent of the last song before the lights come on, there’s no need for dodgy afters here. Instead, ‘About Last Night…’ leaves you with your ears ringing, hooks stuck in your head and a healthy dose of dancefloor catharsis that’ll make you feel lighter – much like the jacket you forgot to collect from the cloakroom.

Details

Release date: July 15

Record label: Polydor

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