Being upfront, honest, and not taking any sh*t from anybody are twenty-something British pop star Mae Muller’s trademarks on this exceptional debut, ‘Sorry I’m Late’. On this record, Muller takes us through heartbreak (even when she’s the one breaking the hearts) and shares her vulnerable side when the album mellows in the second half with tracks about dealing with anxiety (‘Breathe’) to calling out the adult film industry (‘Porn Lied To Us’).
Her authenticity shines throughout ‘Sorry I’m Late’. She even questions: “Have I passed my prime?” on ‘Miss America’ while wishing she could sing better than she can on the diary-entry-like ‘MTJL’ which also features the iconic line, “I don’t know why my back is hurting” (Welcome to adulthood, hun).
Muller became a household name when she became this year’s UK Eurovision entry with the anthemic ‘I Wrote A Song’, which features on this album too. However, the tracks on the album don’t really continue with the Eurovision theme. Although ‘I Wrote A Song’ was a more sophisticated and modern Eurovision entry than others have been, the rest of the tracks on this album feel a lot more fresh. With 17 tracks to choose from, there’s something for everyone!
This is an impressive debut which grabs you by the collar and pulls you in from the second the hypnotic opener, ‘I Just Came To Dance’ starts. This leads into ‘Sorry Daniel’ which has the catchiest chorus we have heard for a long time! ‘I Wrote A Song’ was inspired by “boys being annoying and annoying me”, Muller told her social media followers recently.
Meanwhile, ‘Tatiana’ is Gen-Z’s answer to the iconic ‘Jolene’ where Muller pleads with a woman not to tempt her partner away from her (“I’ve been spiralling about you and him”). ‘Tatiana’ features rising star, Dylan.
From begging love rivals to stay away to being “out for blood”, ‘Bitch With A Broken Heart’ is a pop song with a bite as she sings about being “dangerous” (“You messed with the wrong one!”).
Muller is a relatable queen, especially on ‘Little Bit Sad’ which describes wishing your ex was a little bit more sad than they appear to be, because that would show that their relationship was harder to get over for them. Would it hurt them to miss her a little more?!
‘MJTL’ is a stripped back track where Mae showcases her vocals, accompanied by just a guitar and her lyrics on feeling sad and stressed and feeling like a “mess”. This is one that gives Ed Sheeran vibes (in a good way!).
Finishing with ‘Miss America’ and ‘Written By A Woman’, Mae ends with ballads which continue to let us in to her thoughts and feeling pressure to be “picture perfect”. The slower songs on this album fit really well with the other songs.
On ‘Sorry I’m Late’, Mae Muller shows that it takes time to perfect and craft a great pop album and that’s what she has done here. Every track could be, and probably should be, a single.
Words: Narzra Ahmed