Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia review – A game-changer for pop
On her second album, which will be released on Friday, Dua Lipa finds the sound that Lady Gaga has been chasing for years. Delivering bonafide pop bangers that are as sexy as they are abstract, Future Nostalgia is what would happen if St Vincent, Gloria Gaynor and Scissor Sisters broke the laws of science and teamed up to make a timeless pop record.
Its disco-strong, cocksure lead single, Don’t Start Now, and riveting, 1980s-inspired second single, Physical, are such perfect pop songs that it feels like they’ve always existed in the music canon – and the rest of the album follows suit. Levitating carries a Spice Girls approach to fun and, with a delivery to rival Kate Nash’s, her super London diction punctuates the bridge brilliantly: “my love is like a rocket, watch it blast off and I’m feeling so electric, dance my arse off”.
Sampling the strings from White Town’s Your Woman on Love Again and the suggestive bassline from INXS’s Need You Tonight on Break My Heart, she borrows from the past to create familiar yet refreshing songs – hence the album’s title. The tongue-in-cheek Good in Bed wouldn’t sound out of place on Lily Allen’s 2008 album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, and Boys Will Be Boys takes digs at gender stereotypes in a way that doesn’t feel trivial. Like Allen, Lipa exudes an air of cool – and, in a side we’re only getting to see now, she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
“I know you’re dying trying to figure me out, my name’s on the tip of your tongue,” she sings knowingly on the album’s intentionally disjointed title track. Although the 24-year-old Londoner has been releasing music since 2015, she took the charts by siege in 2017 with New Rules, IDGAF and One Kiss. While her self-titled debut was a solid three out of five stars, this album is a game-changer for her career and the general landscape of pop.
In a teary Instagram Live video posted on March 23rd, Lipa said she “wasn’t sure if she was doing the right thing” by releasing the album during the coronavirus pandemic. However, unlike Lady Gaga, who has postponed the release of Chromatica until later in 2020, Lipa brought the release date forward by a week, because “the thing we need the most at the moment is joy”.
And she’s right; fun can exist in small doses no matter what our circumstances are. This album swerves away from everything we’re hearing in the charts and it’s a reassurance that when this is all over, the dance floor will be ours to dominate. dualipa.com