Drop-top. Wind blowing through our hair. The moon following us to the end of our desire and the ethereal manifestation of every impulse to muzzle grim news reports with a gleefully sentient record. This is the picture painted with the postmodern sounds of Dua Lipa’s sophomore album, “Future Nostalgia”. The British pop star’s new project features eleven tracks including “Don’t Start Now”, the record’s lead single which was released last November. The album is a mix of disco tunes alongside a contemporary recreation of 80s pop which Lipa describes as a “timeless modern-retro dance sound”. In her exploration of love, liberty, companionship, and empowerment throughout the album, Dua Lipa reflects on her past and current experiences and succeeds in nicely layering them over uptempo rhythms that seem to sweep the listener into tomorrow.
The Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist in 2019 rose to fame after her videos covering popular songs caught the attention of notable figures in the business including Lana Del Rey who helped to produce her first single, “New Love” in 2015. Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album didn’t follow until two years later but for the fans of the “Hotter Than Hell” singer, it was worth the wait. Now one of Britain’s top female artists, she continues to thrill her audience with an energizing sound and resplendent, purposed music videos. Among the team of seasoned producers for Lipa’s new album are Jeff Bhasker (Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Alicia Keys), Ian Kirkpatrick (Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears), and Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Kendrick Lamar, Hailee Steinfield).
On “Future Nostalgia”, Dua Lipa isn’t trying to prove anything to anyone. Her bold, often impassive-sounding vocals exude confidence and a sense of poised gravitas. The title track opens the album with the gritty statement, “You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game”, conveying the 24-year-old’s conviction that music is her destiny.
The Olivia Newton-John inspired “Physical” is a groovy pop number with brazen lyrics, a catchy refrain and an eerie synth feel. Invitations to dance and give in to closer contact are extended in the incredibly fun “Levitating” and the slower, bass-driven “Pretty Please”. Violins pull you into “Love Again” and elevate your hopefulness with every beat of the supporting drums. Lipa gives a pleasing nod to the 1987 single “Need You Tonight” by INXS on “Break My Heart” which the modern listener can easily absorb.
As the album comes to a close, Lipa showcases her maturity and self-assurance to the very end with the insightful “Boys Will Be Boys”. The track tackles a more sober topic as it highlights the struggles women face in society whether through stifled expression or the risks compromising their physical safety. Amidst such atrocities however, Lipa reiterates the resilience of females in the subsequent line, “Girls will be women”.
If “Future Nostalgia” was intended to be a promise to fans that Dua Lipa will work to build a compelling career that is redolently steeped in newfangled musical artistry, then she has achieved her objective. Whatever road the young singer goes on to take following this album, we can be sure it will be a path as determined as the ones that have brought her to us, here and now.
Written by Jae B.
Jae is a travel enthusiast and avid volunteer. She enjoys nature, museums, live music, and the chemistry of cooking. Though she was born on the lush island that brought the world Bob Marley and plenty of other reggae stars, her taste in music is exceptionally eclectic. Jae’s ultimate playlist features Aerosmith, Frank Sinatra, Sevana, Lisa Ono, Donnie McClurkin, Etta James, and Louis Armstrong.
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