It has been pretty interesting to watch Dua Lipa ascend to the top of the Pop music world so quickly. Because she rose to prominence in Europe before she really got popular in the States, it sort of seemed like she was at the top of the charts out of nowhere a few years ago with her smash hit ‘New Rules.’ I am not going to lie, when that song came out, I always claimed that I did not like it, but that is because I really would not actually let myself listen to it. It was one of those songs that felt like it was in every commercial, internet video, and store that I walked into, and I would sort of make myself tune it out when it came on. I honestly wish I had not done that and that I had been into the song when it was actually popular, because ‘New Rules’ is a complete banger, and there is a good reason it was so popular. Over the last few years, as the hype from her debut project has died down, Dua Lipa has provided quite a few excellent features on some funky electro-pop smash hits that have topped the charts in the last couple of years. Her collaboration with Calvin Harris, ‘One Kiss,’ is such and electro-funk bop that I still love to this day. Another incredible collaboration of hers is the song ‘Electricity’ with Silk City, which is at least as good if not better than ‘One Kiss’ is, which is saying a lot. These two tracks ended up making me listening to some of Dua Lipa’s older music and enjoying it, in turn getting me excited to listen to her new album, which is called Future Nostalgia, once it got released. The first single, ‘Don’t Start Now,’ was an international smash hit, putting even more pressure on Future Nostalgia to be a super great pop album. With all of that being, let’s just talk about Future Nostalgia. Let me know if you agree with my review in the comments below, and also let me know what your own favorite songs are on this record!
If you wanna believe that anything could stop me, don’t show up. Don’t come out. Don’t start caring about me now. Walk away, you know how. Don’t start caring about me now…’ – from ‘Don’t Start Now.’
This album transports us right into a disco party with the opening track, which is also the title track, ‘Future Nostalgia,’ bringing an obscene amount of funk as soon as the album starts. I really love the distorted funk riff that this song has; there is no way that you will not start dancing when you hear this melody because it is just so catchy. Vocally, to me, there is nothing super special about this song. The flows in the verses are super catchy and very easy to sing along to, but I just feel like the vocal performance is a little tame compared how to how funky and wild the instrumental is. Overall, it is still a solid track and like I said it is super catchy, so ‘Future Nostalgia’ is still a super solid start to this record. Next, we get the aforementioned banger ‘Don’t Start Now,’ which technically came out at the end of last year, but I still consider as one of my favorite songs from 2020 since it is on an album from 2020. This track is the perfect mix of late 70s disco music and modern electro-pop music; it takes all of the best elements of the funky disco music from the 70s and the best elements of the bubblegum style electro-pop that artists like Charli XCX and Tove Lo and making today, and mashes them in a way that is just perfect. I also love the sassy lyrical tone that this song has. On ‘Don’t Start Now,’ Dua Lipa is telling her ex that he can not say that he loves and misses her now, because it is too late and she will not listen. Anything that he has to say to her, he can just tell the wall instead, because she is not listening to what he has to say anymore. The mood of the track that follows ‘Don’t Start Now’ has an almost completely opposite sentiment and feeling, but it is just as good as a song. ‘Cool’ has the nice and fuzzy feeling that songs by artists like Steve Winwood, Jefferson Starship, and Michael Bolton; this track has such a warm-toned vibe that feels like the perfect song to listen to while cruising around with your crush on a beautiful summer night. ‘Cool’ is just such a sweet and fun song to listen to, and there is not much more I can say about it; it is for sure one of my favorite songs on this album.
I got you, moonlight, you’re my starlight. I need you all night. Come on, dance with me. I’m levitating. You, moonlight, you’re my starlight(You’re the moonlight). I need you all night. Come on, dance with me. I’m levitating… – from ‘Levitating.’
‘Physical,’ which is another single that was released in promotion for this album, totally dips away from the warm and sweet feeling that ‘Cool’ has. This track has an early 80s New Wave vibe that is a little dark sounding; it reminds me of a lot of artists like Paula Abdul or Tiffany. The title of this track is very fitting because the instrumental has a very physical nature. One thing to note as well is this is the fourth song in a row with a completely different feeling and sound from the last, even though every sound is still inspired by some era of the 80s. It is cool how diverse of an artist this album is showing her to be, as well as how good she is at staying with a topic and theme. The next track, ‘Levitating,’ brings back the funk in the best way, and is another favorite of mine. The riff of this track will bring you back to disco and funk days of the late 70s and early 80s when artists like The Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Kool and the Gang were at the top of the music world. ‘Levitating’ is another song that will make you want to get off your feet and dance; Dua Lipa is excellent at creating music for a dance party. ‘Pretty Please’ is a futuristic funk track that starts off pretty low key and continually builds with grand and pretty cool futuristic-sounding EDM. One thing that I really like about this track is how it shows off Dua Lipa’s vocals. Because of the nature of the song, she has to take a softer tone than she usually sings with, and she still hits all of the high notes with ease; it is cool to see her expand her range and not sing with the usual amount of energy and intensity that she usually sings with. ‘Hallucinate’ is another Funk track that actually has a Y2K pop sound and feels to it that I absolutely love. This song reminds me of a lot of Kylie Minogue and early 2000s Madonna; if you know me, you know that I love the Y2K pop sound, so this song is obviously a major favorite of mine. It is just such a fun and funky banger and is another great addition to this album which could double as a great playlist for any night club.
The funky dance party that Future Nostalgia creates continues with another 80s New Wave pop-style track called ‘Love Again.’ This is another track that reminds me of a lot of artists like Paula Abdul and Tiffany; it is obvious that artists like these two and similar to these two were a major inspiration for this record. To me, ‘Love Again’ is not one of the more memorable songs on this album, but it does to a good job at keeping the overall feeling going that it has had up until this point. Next is the song ‘Break My Heart,’ which is the final single that was released before this record. One thing that is immediately to note about this track from the start is the sick baseline; ‘Break My Heart’ probably has the sickest groove of any song from this record, which is saying a lot because it is full of excellent instrumentals. ‘Break My Heart’ also has a super catchy and funky chorus that is such a great earworm; this is one of those tracks that might need to be played on repeat for a while just because the chorus is so catchy and you will keep wanting to sing it. Speaking of catchy choruses, ‘Good In Bed’ has a chorus which may be a bigger earworm than the one from ‘Break My Heart,’ which should not be possible but I guess it is. As I am typing this, it is tough to focus on what I am writing because my mind just keeps going: I know it’s really bad bad bad bad bad. Messing with my head head head head. We drive each other mad mad mad mad mad. But, baby, that’s what makes us good in bed… On top of having such a great and catchy chorus, this track also has a super fuzzy Pop-Rock instrumental that is just such a bop. ‘Good In Bed’ is such a great and light-hearted song sonically and lyrically, and it is also yet another example of a different kind of Pop music that she can excel at. The album comes to a close with the track ‘Boys Will Be Boys,’ which brings the dance party that this album is to a pretty abrupt close. If this song were to come on at the club, it would be the one that everyone sings aloud to loudly while the bartenders start to turn on the lights and yell ”last call!” ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is nothing but symphonic-style productions with no sort of bass line or beat and Dua Lipa’s awesome vocals. One this that this song does do is once again make the listener focus on how great of a singer she is. ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is probably not the kind of song that I am going to come back to very often, but that is okay because it is obviously not directed towards me or meant for me. I can gather from it and appreciate, however, how great of a singer Dua Lipa is, and how it is another example of how diverse she is as an artist.
Ever since Dua Lipa started to become a super popular artist, it has always been very apparent that she is a queen of making Dance-Pop music. From the start of the career, she has always excelled at taking retro styles of music and making them sound modern; she makes club anthems for the 2010s and 2020s that also sort of sound like they could have come out in the early 1980s. Future Nostalgia is a great example of how Dua Lipa is not only still a queen of retro-inspired Dance-Pop, it proves that she is maturing as an artist and getting better at what she is already so good at. This album creates a full-on dance party; as I said, a DJ could literally play this album through at a club if he wanted to because the whole project would keep the energy flowing and keep the dance floor full. If you need a new soundtrack for your Quarantine party for one that you are stuck in the middle of, throw on Future Nostalgia and dance it out.
Really enjoyed this review, thank you for sharing!
I too refused to listen to New Rules when it first came out – I gave it the big ‘who IS this Dua Lipa chick?’ and assumed she was just one of those generic pop features on Chainsmokers/similar dance remixes that seemed to be all the rage at the time. After recanting my sins, I’ve now become a firm lover of Dua. She’s up and coming in the pop world, but she’s also the current big thing at the same time. It’s such an interesting line.
Glad you enjoyed Future Nostalgia – you make a lot of great references to other artists/songs/atmospheres that are really insightful. Why do you think Dua has tapped into this Tove Lo/Charli XCX sound and been more successful with it?
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Honestly, I think she started going the future-funk Charli XCX thing because I think she realized it is the next big thing. She’s a very smart and opportunistic artist. I think after ’New Rules, ’ she saw that the pop world was about to change from what it was at that time, and instead of trying to force the issue she tried to jump the gun and do something that almost sounds like it’s too early for our time. And it worked because she’s so talented and adaptable!
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Also, thank you for reading and enjoying this review!! I have so much more pop stuff on my blog if you’re interested in checking it out! I love pop!
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No problem! Have given you a follow and would love to check out more of your stuff – I run a similarly music/pop culture based blog so know how hard it sometimes feels that you’re writing into a void! It’s nice to be able to celebrate a really well written one!!
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