Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia Music Album Reviews

The ascendant singer’s star-making second album is a collection of sophisticated, hard-bodied pop-funk that gives way to slick, Kylie Minogue-inspired disco.

No 2017 pop release had legs like Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut. “New Rules,” the know-your-worth anthem that became her breakout, was actually the sixth single from an album delayed eight months past its original release date. While Dua Lipa’s long shelf life built the British and Kosovar Albanian singer’s fanbase, the trickle of new music she appeared on in the interim—a major hit with Calvin Harris’ “One Kiss,” the throwback house of Diplo and Mark Ronson’s “Electricity”—maintained her momentum. Three years later, the Dua Lipa release schedule looks very different: Her second record, Future Nostalgia, arrives a week early, ostensibly because of the coronavirus pandemic, though maybe because fans had already leaked it.

Anchored by lead single “Don’t Start Now,” an instant staple of pop DJs and barre classes, Future Nostalgia is a collection of sophisticated, hard-bodied pop-funk that gradually gives way to slick, Kylie Minogue-inspired disco. Capitalizing on a love of ’80s pop and ’90s club culture, Lipa and a team of career producers (Stephen “Koz” Kozmeniuk, Ian Kirkpatrick, Stuart Price, Jeff Bhasker) tunnel deeper into retro-pop revival, a flashy dancefloor timewarp aimed at the type of pop fan who can’t hear Olivia Newton-John’s original 1981 hit “Physical” without imagining what it might sound like with the string sample from “Hung Up” chopped and layered on top. Future Nostalgia sounds like three Madonna eras at once, like Giorgio Moroder making blog house. Like all classic dance music, it’s more concerned with the thrill of new passion than with what happens after the sun rises.

At 24, Lipa has been working towards this moment for almost 10 years, and her sights are set higher still. A false start in modeling impressed the importance of going where you’re wanted; in Lipa’s case, to Warner Records, who sought a female pop icon to compete with the Rihannas and Lady Gagas of the world. She leveraged her talent as a songwriter, developing an early Dua Lipa single, “Hotter Than Hell,” in the first session with her prospective management team. Her sly swagger and fashion-plate style gave her the presence of someone who’d achieved diva status already. “I’m a bit too far down the line for anyone to try and tell me something,” she said of her creative autonomy in 2017, even before the release of her first record.

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But where many of pop’s most recent stars are emphatically emotionally available, Lipa radiates blithe coolness. Her brand is style, competence, taste—this is, in a way perhaps not obvious to those who actually remember the ’80s, entirely tasteful pop music—and the sultry low voice that makes her the star of even a middling Martin Garrix collab. Future Nostalgia is nonstop, no ballads; for 10 tracks, the closest it comes to feeling vulnerable or revealing is “Pretty Please,” a plea for stress-relief sex with an ultra-thick bassline. When Lipa proclaims, “You got me losing all my cool/’Cause I’m burning up on you,” on the Tove Lo cowrite “Cool,” she rhymes it with, “In control of what I do.”

It’s Lipa’s strongest stance: all-in on self-determination. The thrill of Future Nostalgia—the title itself a claim to modern classic status—is in hearing her tailor the retro-funk form to suit her commanding attitude. “No matter what you do, I’m gonna get it without ya/I know you ain’t used to a female alpha,” she proclaims on the title track. Which is why it’s a disappointment when the album’s confident strut falters, first with the “bad/mad/sad” rhymes on “Good in Bed” and finally with the awareness anthem “Boys Will Be Boys,” a funk-free flip of the sexist trope (“…but girls will be women”). Layered choral arrangements soften the ultra-literal writing, but as a closer, it brings the party to a screeching halt, with a serious tone that feels at odds with everything preceding it. What should be heartfelt and meaningful—a song to contrast Lipa’s aloofness and demonstrate her range—instead undermines what Future Nostalgia does best: proud, flawless bravado.


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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia Music Album Reviews Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, March 30, 2020 Rating: 5

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