Plugging into the Music that Matters

Review: Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

Pop princess, Dua Lipa hits a home run for the second time with No. 1 album, Future Nostalgia.

Words by Conor O Donoghue

Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia puts her back where she belongs, atop the Irish chats.
Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia puts her back where she belongs, atop the Irish chats.

The last few years have been a whirlwind for the British superstar Dua Lipa. A top ten album going platinum, 1.2 million units sold worldwide and to top it off a world tour has all contributed to propelling Dua Lipa to global superstardom.

If people enjoyed the self-titled debut from the popstar, then they are in for a treat with the Brit’s second album. Having worked with producers such as MNEK, Miguel and Coldplay’s Chris Martin on her first outing, she has recruited the help of familiar faces SG Lewis, Julia Michaels, Shakira and Tove Lo to help bring Future Nostalgia to life.

Speaking about the making of Future Nostalgia during an interview, the singer said:

What I wanted to do with this album was to break out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to make music that felt like it could sit alongside some of my favourite classic pop songs, whilst still feeling fresh and uniquely mine.

“I was inspired by so many artists on the new record from Gwen Stefani to Madonna to Moloko to Blondie and Outkast, to name just a few.

In late 2019, Lipa released the single ’Don’t Start Now’, an infectious dance, disco-fused-pop song about moving on from a relationship. In his review for Clash, Robin Murray viewed the track as “a super-infectious disco burner”.

It is hard to disagree with his assessment, even the most biased indie super-fan would find it hard not to enjoy this track. A female empowerment anthem with a funky bassline that Nile Rodgers would be proud off.

Aren’t you the guy who tried to… Hurt me with the word “goodbye”?… Though it took some time to survive you… I’m better on the other side…

A welcomed return for Dua Lipa after a well-earned long break.

The composition of the album comes in two parts. Songs such as ‘Future Nostalgia’, ‘Physical’, ‘Levitating’ and ‘Pretty Please’ all contain themes of sex, supported with strong basslines and sass to match Dua Lipa’s infectious personality.

One of the strongest tracks on the album is ‘Physical’, a disco and ’80s electro-pop anthem referencing Olivia Newton-John with sexual overtones that is impossible not to dance too. If you hear this track and don’t feel the slightest urge to move, you may have to see a doctor.

A very strong follow-up to ‘Don’t Start Now’. Dua Lipa has knocked her second single off the album out of the park. It is the ultimate night out anthem:

Baby keep on dancing… let’s get physical… hold on just a little tighter… come on… hold on, tell me if you’re ready…

What would a pop album be without a couple of break-up tracks thrown in?  Well, it just wouldn’t be a pop album at all, would it? Much is written about Dua Lipa’s relationship to Anwar Hadid, a model and influencer. In ‘Love Again’ there is a positive outlook towards falling in love again after a series of heartbreaks:

Show me that heaven’s right here, baby… touch me, so I know I’m not crazy… never have I ever met somebody like you… used to be afraid of love and what it might do… but goddamn, you got me in love again…

My standout track however, is ‘Hallucinate’. The song is a throwback to 2000’s disco-house. It’s fun, a floor stomper that was written by SG Lewis, Frances and Dua Lipa. A sample of ‘Telephone’ by the queens of pop, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé is also used.

During an interview with The Official Big Top 40 back in February, Dua Lipa said ‘Hallucinate’ is the “dance, fun, really fun, dance one”:

I hallucinate when you call my name… got stars in my eyes… and they don’t fade when you come my way… I’m losing my mi-mi-mi-mind, mi-mi-mi-mind…

For a lot of artists, a common theme seems to be consistency when producing a second album, even more so  after delivering a successful debut. Dua lipa seems to have found the winning formula when it comes to maintaining continuity.

When pop stars release an album, especially female ones, there is a overt use of sexual themes and references in tracks. Future Nostalgia has that but it’s not in your face. The album is fun, contagious and a blast to listen too. If you love your disco and Nile Rodgers etc. you will adore this album. Dancing while in self-isolation has never been so welcomed. Thank you Dua Lipa.

Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa
The second album from Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia is out now.

Verdict: 9/10

Tracks worth putting on repeat: ‘Physical’, ‘Don’t Start Now’ and ‘Hallucinating‘.

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