Album Review: Dua Lipa // Future Nostalgia

During the upcoming weeks of lockdown, Dua Lipa’s album will get you dancing in your bedroom for the entirety of the 11-track release.

Dua Lipa knows how to create upbeat, catchy pop anthems, and her sophomore album Future Nostalgia proves it. While other top artists are delaying their album releases due to the ongoing global pandemic, Lipa told fans during an Instagram live that “the thing we need the most at the moment is joy and trying to see the light.” Her release couldn’t come at a better time, as her sultry and fun songs are sure to brighten up your self-isolation routine and will have you wishing you had bought a disco ball so you can boogie all night long.

The album’s title track is aptly named after the record and combines ‘80s beats with futuristic sounds that are funnelled into a funky feminist power anthem. Lipa was influenced by No Doubt, Madonna, and Blondie’s ageless music, but has given their respective styles a 2020-twist with her fierce and juicy lyrics and synth-pop beats that flow throughout the album. “You want a timeless song? I want to change this game,” sings Lipa as she opens the song, giving listeners a hint of what to expect.

Dua Lipa has a formula for making iconic chart-toppers. From previous hits like ‘One Kiss’ with Calvin Harris, as well as ‘New Rules,’ and ‘IDGAF’ off her 2017 debut album, she combines female empowerment with pop-breakup ballads for rich and catchy anthems. The second track and the album’s single ‘Don’t Start Now’ is no different, as she sings, “Thinking ’bout the way I was / Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe / But look at where I ended up / I’m all good already.” It’s punchy and the perfect heartbreak tune, with sassy lyrics accompanying disco beats. It’s truly what she does best, and thankfully her album is full of these DGAF tunes.

The ‘80s references are most evident in ‘Physical,’ taking influence from Olivia Newton-John’s song by the same name. Lipa’s tune is more tongue-in-cheek than Newton-John’s as she sings, “Who needs to go to sleep, when I got you next to me?” It’s sure to find its way on your running playlist, as lyrics like “Let’s get physical / Lights out and follow the noise / Baby keep on dancing like you ain’t got a choice” will get you inspired to do an at-home workout or aerobics.

The breakout of the album is ‘Levitating,’ with funky synth-beats that will have you grooving and singing along instantly. Although it wasn’t one of the album’s singles, it will definitely be topping the charts soon.

There’s no shortage of basslines in the album. ‘Pretty Please’ has Lipa’s iconic sultry vocals accompanying a stripped-back striking bass, while ‘Hallucinate’ sounds like it belongs in a Disney Channel Original Movie à la Aly & AJ with short and snappy drum beats and a synth bassline. ‘Break My Heart’ borrows a bassline from INXS’s ‘Need You Tonight’ and Lipa utilises her strengths again to create a post-breakup ballad.

“Good in Bed” is Lily Allen-esque, and the raunchiest song on the record, with cheeky teasing about what makes someone, well, good in bed. It’s fun and summery, and tells you all the getting laid, from the one-night stands and long-term relationships. It’s not the best song on the album, but it is still a bop.

Lipa finishes Future Nostalgia with the smash the patriarchy anthem, ‘Boys Will Be Boys.’ Lipa calls out all the things women have to do to feel safe and secure, from going home before it’s dark out to putting keys between their knuckles when there’s men around, while boys can do whatever they want. She discusses sexual harassment and double standards with a witty rhythm, singing “Boys will be boys, the girls will be women” with a chorus, making sure her message is heard loud and clear. It ends suddenly, hammering down her point: boys get to keep their innocence and women have to grow up faster. She doesn’t care if it offends your point of view – if you don’t agree you can stay home.

Future Nostalgia is more polished than her 2017 self-titled debut album, and brings together important issues about feminism as well as breakups in a variety of pop ballads, all tied together with disco and Euro-dance elements of basslines and groovy beats. From her chart-topping singles and new favourites, any of the songs on the album will be perfect for your next TikTok dance routine. Although you’ll have to wait to see her on tour until next year due to rescheduling, we can’t wait to dance along and watch the pop queen perform.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Future Nostalgia is released this Friday, 27th March, and is available to pre-order now

Author avatar
Caroline Edwards

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