Album Review: Future Nostalgia // Dua Lipa

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With so many albums postponed by COVID-19, many music fans will be feeling frustrated and disappointed. It is understandable why many artists are choosing to delay, but the excitement and, most of all, escapism, that these releases offer is needed now more than ever. Despite what is now bound to be a disappointing spring for music, some artists have decided to continue with their regular schedule, one of whom is Dua Lipa – and thank God she did. 

In her sophomore effort, Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa shines a ray of disco light into these dark and dreary times. Infused with funky basslines and retro synths, this record doesn’t merely offer a rehash of past music trends – it reimagines them, transporting the listener to an alternate, sci-fi world where the past and the future are both now.

Oozing confidence and sass, the album opens with its title track which sees the artist talk-rapping for a large portion of its runtime over synth and percussion. Atmospheric vocals pop in to say the name of the track and whisper ‘future’. As commanding as it is charming, Dua Lipa’s performance envelops the listener and allows them to get on board her pop rocket ride through the ages. 

But that’s only the beginning of the fun as we go immediately into the lead single and mega-hit, ‘Don’t Start Now’. The track is more conventional, both in terms of Dua Lipa’s performance and the production; the infectious grooves propagated by the funky, catchy-as-hell bassline are impossible not to dance along to. With the added sprinkles of percussion and string sections adding a disco flare to the track, this song is one of the most charming pop songs to be released in recent memory.

So many moments on this album are full of upbeat, funky and quirky production choices. The relentless electro-pop banger, ‘Hallucinate’ (that sounds like it could be a Kelis hit from 2009), the perky, piano heavy ‘Good In Bed’, and the funky, disco-ready ‘Break My Heart’ (led by a brilliant sample of the bassline from INXS’ ‘Need You Tonight’) are but a few examples of the upbeat, dancefloor-ready, feel-good pop anthems Dua Lipa expertly executes on this record.

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However, while this record is largely full of fun tracks fitted for a disco from the future, Dua Lipa packs many serious and timely sentiments into Future Nostalgia. From themes of female independence and emancipation to observations on modern love and romance, the artist refuses to shy away from heavy topics. It is evident that she knows a catchy pop song does the opposite of diminish these topics but can, in fact, highlight them. This is most overtly evident within the albums’ closing track, ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, which is unique in the album as the only ballad on the track list. After providing us with the means to dance away our troubles and worries, at the eleventh track, Dua Lipa confronts us with the harsh realities of normalising misogyny and refuses to let anyone ignore or dance away these truths.

This record is everything a pop album should be and more, proving that Dua Lipa is indeed one of the most important popstars of our generation. With many people seeking reprieve from our current climate, Future Nostalgia couldn’t have come at a better time. From the funky, sometimes eccentric, futuristic-throwback production to Dua Lipa’s captivating performance, the sheer fun within this record is impossible to contain and is sure to transport the listener to another universe where dancing is the solution to every problem.

Words by Emma Reilly

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