- 27 Mar 20
Multi-platinum megastar takes a bold disco turn on sophomore album.
Few could have predicted the runaway success of 'New Rules' – Dua Lipa's breakthrough single and one of the zeitgeist-defining hits of 2017. While establishing the English singer as an ocean-transcending star, the single, along with her self-titled debut album, also placed her in front of an almost overwhelming wave of adulation and expectations.
However, unlike some of her pop peers, there was always a wry sense of self-awareness about Dua Lipa that marked her a unique force of power – with 'New Rules' playfully challenging the stereotypes of the genre, through the angle of female empowerment. Three years on, her second album finds her taking the reigns of her own vision and career like never before.
Of course, even in defiantly joyful pop, there's no escaping the current climate of uncertainty and fear. With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the global music industry, Future Nostalgia has arrived a week early – and, you might add, not a minute too soon. Bubbling with soaring synth grooves, punchy beats and dazzlingly confident production, Future Nostalgia is an unexpected shot of upbeat brightness during these dark times.
Making no effort to recreate previous hits, Dua Lipa has remodelled the audacious disco sound of Donna Summer for the present day – as introduced on the thrilling title track.
On standout tracks 'Physical' and 'Levitating', she combines the dark but irresistible lust-pop of Starboy-era The Weeknd with the best of '80s power pop, with plenty of nods to Blondie and Olivia Newton-John. 'Good In Bed', meanwhile, channels early Lily Allen with deceivingly clever, sharp lyrics wrapped up in a sugary sweet sound.
While closing track 'Boys Will Be Boys' breaks less new ground musically, it's an essential, if blatant, reminder that the female experience isn't always so rosy: "It's second nature to walk home before the sun goes down/ Now 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."
With Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa has proved her star quality to dazzling effect – supplying a much-welcomed burst of unapologetic joy and confidence in the midst of uncertainty.
Order your copy of Hot Press's 42:04 issue, featuring cover star Dua Lipa, here.