Declaring herself as the female alpha, Dua Lipa is bringing sexy back, but on her own terms. On her sophomore effort, Future Nostalgia, the songstress rewrites a new standard for pop music.
“Did a full 180, crazy”, the line that introduced listeners into Dua Lipa’s futuristic disco vision, ignited a spark into pop music. Mirroring the nostalgic sounds from the past, Future Nostalgia channels the livelihood of Studio 54, tying in elements from the 80’s into the current soundscape for a full celebratory moment that the world needed. One would question the outdated concept of reviving retro sounds for the sake of nostalgia, but the album stirs away from being too safe but rather strips itself into revealing layers to the overall dedication of the era as a whole. With an abundance of personality, Dua Lipa proves exactly why she’s the female alpha, commanding the presence and owning the sound.
Opening the album with a whisper to the future, the title track sets the tone with a full blast off to a futuristic disco experiment. Making you believe every word she has to say, Dua is bold enough to back it all up with a streak of hits. Lead single, Don’t Start Now, has become a pop staple in less than a year, an instant declaration to a tailored made retro revival. Continuing with her confident approach to up funk beats, Dua glides on every instrumentation with a cadence that is slick, sexy, and sophisticated. Such is apparent on songs such as Cool, and Pretty Please, two numbers that prove she just oozes an attitude that is effortless while radiating a coolness that makes listening to her actually sound cool.
The album’s most pop forward dance ready numbers are explosive fast paced instant classic sounding essentials. Physical, the track not to be confused by Olivia Newton-John’s own Physical, is layered with hints of mystery that exposes itself into a stadium status like chorus that invites itself into your head for days. Keeping up the momentum, Physical smoothly transitions into Levitating, a gravitating experience of a fantastic pop banger. Dancing on her own, Dua explores a galaxy of the pleasures of falling in love, a reoccurring theme throughout the album. The three pack closes with the SG Lewis produced Hallucinate. A noteworthy 2000s formulated track that channels the ella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh of Rihanna’s Umbrella.
More than 3/4’s into the album, and Dua has yet to miss a beat. Track 8, Love Again, is a sonically electro pop triumphant that uplifts the sample of White Town’s 1997, Your Woman. Latest single, Break My Heart, channels the Queen classic Another One Breaks The Dust. Utilizing elements of surprise in not just the song, but the video as well, the track provides a sensual illusion. While Good In Bed, arguably the album’s most polarizing number, leaves a sour aftertaste for some with a hypnotic repetitive chorus, that achieves its purpose. After a streak of electrifying flashy pop tunes, Future Nostalgia closes out with an anthemic statement Boys Will Be Boys, one that leaves an undertone of celebrating Dua Lipa’s rebirth into superstardom.
Riveting from start to finish, Future Nostalgia is exactly what it should be. After carrying the last two years with collaborations with Calvin Harris (One Kiss) and Silk City (Electricity), an electro-funk-pop nostalgic record was a natural progression in sound for Dua Lipa. Commanding listeners with a promise that shines in each song, the new pop icon presents a full dedication to the dance floor. In an era of pop music that is too cliché, and unconvincing, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia is exquisite, a new standard for her peers, and exactly what the genre should sound like.