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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Dua Lipa’s second album is danceable pop excellence

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GRAPHIC: LUKE MALANGA ’20/THE HAWK

Dua Lipa came full force in 2017 with her self-titled debut studio album. She brought instant dancefloor anthems like “New Rules” and “Blow your Mind.” Lipa quickly redefined dance-pop in a year where the charts were dominated by artists such as Ed Sheeran and Luis Fonso. 

With her newest album, Future Nostalgia,”  Lipa was presented with a conflict: drop her new music amid coronavirus quarantine or push back to the summer. However, when Lipa’s album was leaked on March 25, the British popstar took it as a sign to drop her album on March 27, one week earlier than its planned April 3 release.

“Future Nostalgia” is the stress-relieving gift the world needs during this uncertain time. It has 11 cohesive tracks of dance floor anthems full of energizing pop-funk, disco, and retro influence from previous music eras. The 24-year-old singer crafted a flawless combination of endorphin-releasing beats with lyrical messages of female empowerment that touch on themes like modern romance and inequality. 

The album’s first single, “Don’t Start Now,” was released late last year. It was a fierce and accelerated transition from her first album. “Don’t Start Now” quickly became a staple on popular radio and workout playlists. With unmatched four-on-the-floor dance beats and husky vocals, Lipa sings an empowering breakup song that’s carried by instructive dialogue with a self-determined, independent attitude. 

The album’s title track is a seamless intro and sets the tone for the empowering pop masterpiece. “I know you ain’t used to a female alpha” is just one of the many playful yet unapologetically confident one-liners Lipa sings in the song,“Future Nostalgia.”. She evokes the album’s 80s-inspired essence across the record but especially in the track  “Break My Heart,” where Lipa incorporates the riff from 1987 hit “Need You Tonight” by INXS, mixing it with modern house music beats.

The album gains more momentum with the song “Physical,” which is not only a nod to the title of Olivia Newton-John’s hit from the 80’s, but what Lipa described  as the best song for an aerobic “disco dancercise class.” This may in fact be the workout song of the decade.t It has a smooth synth layer with a thick bass, and it’s all around production and lyrics are in-your-face and momental. 

A few tracks later is “Hallucinate,” a blissful, adrenaline rushing track that is absolute pop perfection. Lyrics like “Pocket full of honey and I’m ready to go” and “Hallucinate when you call my name” will activate your senses just as much as the pulsating bass that’s consistent across the three and half minute song. 

Lipa sprinkles in a couple of modest bangers like “Levitating,” which although is more of a feel good love song with a relaxed classic disco sound, still has thrillingly electric beats along with compelling astrological lyrical concepts. 

Immediately following is “Pretty Please,” where Lipa’s vulnerability comes through in  her talk of lust and stress relief. The song’s pulsing R&B beats feel like the “sweet release” that Lipa sings about in this song. 

Lipa mixes it up on “Love Again,” where orchestral sounds and acoustic guitar are integrated on top of a pounding bass and her impeccable vocals. This track reminds me of some of ABBA’s peak hits that were recrafted for Mamma Mia!Lines like “I used to think that I was made out of stone” and “I’ll sink my teeth in disbelief cause you’re the one that I want” paint a relatable and poetic story about the escape and transition from fear of companionship to letting go and trusting in love again. 

“Future Nostalgia” is topped off by an unexpected feminist bop with orchestral strings, making it the closest thing  to a ballad on the record. In “Boys Will Be Boys,” Lipa beautifully vocalizes a heartfelt message about inequality, the experience as a woman, and society’s tendency to make excuses for one gender over another. 

Dua Lipa delivered irresistible dance pop that we haven’t heard since the early 2010’s. “Future Nostalgia” feels like a classic record and I wouldn’t be surprised if every song Lipa drops as a single goes #1 and I hope it wins album of the year next year. For now we’ll have to jam to these songs from our living rooms, but the success of this album will surpass this time and dominate dancefloors for years to come. 

Stream the album on Spotify at this link.

 

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