ALBUM REVIEW: Mahalia’s Debut is All Love, No Compromise

The U.K. R&B songstress displays intelligence and soul beyond her years on her full-length debut.

I’ll be straight with you. This album took me completely by surprise. After an unexpected Eartha Kitt sample on the first track the full-length debut from U.K. singer-songwriter Mahalia settles into a familiar but deeply satisfying groove.

Love and Compromise has been touted as Mahalia’s debut, but she’s been around the industry a while; the 21 year old Leicester native has been signed to a label since the age of 13, dropping various EPs and singles along the way. 

There are definite Erykah Badu vibes here, with beats and melodies that are pure ’90s R&B. The album’s real skill is that it’s never a pastiche of the era it’s pulling from; it’s taken elements and expanded them with current trap stylings and even a dash of dancehall.

Mahalia displays intelligence and restraint throughout the album. It would have been easy to stick to tropes and make this sound any other R&B effort put out this year, but the album takes pride in taking the bits they love and combining them into something new.

Track highlights include “I Wish I Missed My Ex,” “Simmer” and “He’s Mine,” but the standout track is “Karma,” a jazzy track that’s so buttery you’ll be lactose intolerant by the time you’ve played it for the hundredth time. 

The only downside for this album is that it was released in September, just at the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer. Fortunately for this Australian reviewer, it’s just in time for the warmer weather, and this album won’t go amiss at any parties in the sunshine this summer.

Score: ❤️❤️❤️❤️ / 5