Reviews

Dua Lipa Flawlessly Blends Disco With Modern-Day Pop in Sophomore Record Future Nostalgia

2020 is the year of the 80s, and Dua Lipa is here to tell us why. The British-born pop songstress released her sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, just last Friday, and this body of work reaffirms Lipa’s place in the pop music world.

Lipa shares lessons-learned on failed relationships, jumping into new romances and the female experience, all while delivering an energetic ode to the 80s. And if you’re looking for a dance-worthy bop, this album is jam-packed full of them. Even with the added stress of releasing a follow-up record after an incredibly well-received debut, Lipa didn’t disappoint.

She kicks off the LP with its namesake, “Future Nostalgia,” which is the perfect introduction into this matured, experimental sound. The “Be The One” singer surprises her audience quite a bit with the confidence-filled, spoken word-laced track, singing, “No matter what you do, I’m gonna get it without ya // I know you ain’t used to a female alpha.”

Next up, listeners are graced with another listen of Future Nostalgia‘s lead single, “Don’t Start Now,” a dance-worthy breakup song we haven’t been able to get out of our heads since its release back in November 2019. The tune is empowering and bold, much like Lipa herself.

Third on the record’s tracklist is “Cool,” a synth-pop declaration of infatuation. Lipe co-wrote this track with fellow songstress Tove Lo and pulled influence from the always-iconic Prince. “Cool” is the perfect song to listen to with the windows rolled down while you cruise along the highway in the summertime. It’s impossible to not sing along, especially with lyrics like, “And the color of the sky looking nice-o-nice // You know, you know, you know // Baby, I could see us in the real life // You know, you know you got // Got me losin’ all my cool.”

Track No. 4 is the Olivia Newton-John-sampled “Physical,” although we’d say Lipa puts a certain twist on the classic song. Arguably one of the most high-energy tracks on the record, “Physical” is rich with solid lyrics and a beat that is sure to get you dancing. We’d be surprised if you didn’t listen to this one on repeat a few times while belting, “All night I riot with you // I know you got my back and you know I got you,” directly into your remote.

“Levitating” is another stand-out traditional pop track with a nostalgic essence to it. The “New Rules” singer takes us on an intergalactic trip as she discovers a new love, singing, “I got you, moonlight, you’re my starlight // I need you all night, come on, dance with me,” and, “I feel like we’re forever every time we get together // But whatever, let’s get lost on Mars.” Needless to say, it’s yet another bop.

“Pretty Please” is probably the most relaxed track on the entire album, with a heavy bassline and a soft-spoken Dua to complement it. The funny thing about it, though, is that Lipa is anything but relaxed if her lyrics have anything to say about it. Urging her lover to put her mind at ease, Lips sings, “Hate it when you leave me unattended // ‘Cause I miss ya, and I need your love // When my mind is runnin’ wild // Could you help me slow it down?”

Up next is “Hallucinate,” track No. 7 on the record, and it’s another energy-filled tune that successfully mixes house and disco vibes. FYI, we’re totally here for it. And we could totally envision Lipa performing this at Coachella or Glastonbury.

“Love Again” is another disco-inspired tune. Sampling White Town‘s “Your Woman,” this song is all about letting yourself fall one more time, despite past heartbreak. Lipa sings, “I never thought that I would find a way out // I never thought I’d hear my heart beat so loud // I can’t believe there’s something left in my chest anymore.” We love that Dua empowering herself to love again.

As the third official single on Future Nostalgia, “Break My Heart” is yet another disco track, but we definitely aren’t complaining. It samples INX’s “Need You Tonight,” and begs the question of whether this new person you’re totally head over heels for will at some point break your heart. Sounds like a pretty legitimate fear, which is probably why Lipa sings, “I should have stayed at home // ‘Cause now there ain’t no letting you go.”

No pop album is complete without a bit of a risque track, and “Good In Bed” is it for Lipa. A personal favorite, “Good In Bed” is all about a relationship that probably should have ended ages ago, but there’s one thing keeping these two together. We’ll let you fill in that blank — although the lyrics, “I dedicate this verse to // All that good pipe in the moonlight // In the long nights where we did everything but talk it through,” should give it away if nothing else does. This track is fun to sing along to, and at the same time, serves as a cautionary tale, as Lipa says.

Closing out Future Nostalgia is the album’s only ballad, “Boys Will Be Boys,” which plays on the ever-so-common phrase we often hear as a sad excuse for toxic masculinity. In this song, Lipa describes the realities of being a woman, with lyrics like, “It’s second nature to walk home before the sun goes down // And put your keys between your knuckles when there’s boys around // Isn’t it funny how we laugh it off to hide our fear // When there’s nothing funny here?” It’s a powerful anthem that chants, “Boys will be, boys will be // Boys will be, boys will be boys // But girls will be women,” and we are absolutely are here for this message.

Once again, Lipa has made her mark on pop music, letting us all know she isn’t going anywhere. Frankly, we don’t want her to. If you haven’t yet, check out Future Nostalgia on all streaming platforms now.

Featured Image: Warner Records

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