Mae Muller’s debut album, Sorry I’m Late, is an 18-track treat that explores what it’s like to instantly lust after someone, the power in realizing you don’t need a lover’s validation and you’re good on your own, the mundanity of life, and the complexities of relationships. In between these aforementioned themes are also a sprinkle of others, and it makes the body of work one that functions without a common core. While we can’t entirely blame Muller for the disarray of the album – she did tease singles for four years before dropping Sorry I’m Late – it makes for a story that’s not exactly straightforward.
However, even though Sorry I’m Late seems to be all over the place, in a way that’s a good thing. It’s not like life is that organized anyway, and the album, for all its flaws, captures normal existence better than most.
Muller kicks off the album with “I Just Came To Dance,” an electronic pop-influenced song that she released in 2022. Accompanied by a music video that more or less fits with the energy of the song, Muller sings about falling hard for someone she just met. “You spent the whole night only looking at my lips / I got a feeling this won’t end with just a kiss (Mwah) / It might end in tears but it’s too late now, forget it / And if I walk away I know I’ll regret it,” Muller boldly sings – and yes, this part is notable for me because most people usually regret rushing into something, not the other way around, so it’s fun to have a song represent the unrestrained side of longing.
“And I feel bad about it / But I can’t just sit around / And let you fall in love with someone / Who doesn’t really care / Oh, I know it isn’t fair,” she sings on “Sorry Daniel,” introducing us to a character we will get to explore deeply throughout the album. The persona is that of a woman who wants to date and have fun but not become a “wife.” When the game gets intense, she makes a hasty retreat – and though her heart’s been broken, leaving people is still something she doesn’t regret.
For example, “Bitch With A Broken Heart” sees Muller on the receiving end of a heartache, and yet her fiery self manages to shine through as she promises that she’s coming for blood. Instead of mourning the end of the relationship, she’s plotting to make him see just how much he “messed with the wrong one.”
Muller made her solo single debut this year with “I Wrote A Song,” which landed her a spot in the Eurovision Contest to represent the UK. While haters can argue about the appeal of the song based on how far it got her on the contest stage, it was Muller’s first and truest attempt at joining the big leagues. Fresh off a heartbreak that makes her want to shatter things – “Bitch With A Broken Heart” remember? – Muller decides to channel her frustrations into writing a song. Hence, “I Wrote A Song.”
One song down and Muller is so over “this stupid boy thing” and has finally discovered that “Me, Myself & I” is all she needs to be happy. “MTJL (Maybe That’s Just Life)” feels like Muller addressing her disappointing placement at the Eurovision Contest. The song is about witnessing a certain high in your life that gets you believing you’re ready to have your dreams fulfilled, only to fall back into that same old boring routine.
And of course, the album wouldn’t be complete if her massively successful hit with NEIKED and Polo G, “Better Days,” wasn’t on it.
When I think about Sorry I’m Late, I see an album that addresses the joys and pains of everyday living, with the idea that perfect love doesn’t only exist on the pages of a good romance novel. However, the rest of the songs, minus “Written By A Woman,” are strictly against the idea.