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A Track-By-Track First Impression Of Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia’

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/27/2020
Dua Lipa

Arriving a week earlier than scheduled, Dua Lipa‘s Future Nostalgia is here. Her second album comes after a string of excellent singles and visuals, boosting her star even more than her debut Dua Lipa. It’s easily one of the most anticipated pop releases of the year so we’re going to dig in one song at a time.

Future Nostalgia

Without a doubt the quirkiest track on the album. Future Nostalgia brings rap-style flexes into the pop arena and houses a freedom that’s rare on such a tightly-produced record. According to Lipa herself, the song came after she’d already named the album and it couldn’t be a better fit.

Don’t Start Now

Easily one of the best pop songs of the last year and one of the best songs of Lipa’s career. Lipa was on the top of her game after her debut and it really could’ve gone either way. Don’t Start Now ensured that it continued to skyrocket and months later this song is still reaching its peak. A liberating disco-pop track that packs a punch every single time you hear it.

Cool

Future Nostalgia has been billed as a disco record but that doesn’t mean she’s only dipping into the ’70s. She’s looking at how it’s been interpreted in every decade. Here she looks to the ’80s for this slick-as-hell jam that just feels exactly as the title suggests. At times on the last record you almost felt like Lipa’s personality was sometimes lost behind huge pop songs but on Future Nostalgia it shines through, particularly on Cool. “You got me losing all my cool, I guess we’re ready for the summer,” is an excellent line.

Physical

We already know and love Physical. What a gigantic pop song. It might stand out as the album highlight right now purely because of how in-your-face it is. “Common love isn’t for us, we created something phenomenal,” is the sort of hyperbolic pop work we deserve and the production matches it with howling synths and shuddering percussion. An incredible moment.

Read our Rapid React review of the song here.

Levitating

Back in the disco world and this one feels so natural. Unlike Physical which drives ahead at a forceful pace, Levitating is a relaxed dance track. The synths are hypnotic but the beat commands dance while Lipa lays down playful vocals. The whole album is fun but lighter moments like these feel particularly exciting. “I’m feeling so electric, dance my arse off,” could be the tagline of the record.

Pretty Please

Lipa can sing her arse off but sometimes her finest moments are when she doesn’t use everything she’s got. Pretty Please is one of those moments and we can’t stress enough how brilliant this song is. Julia Michaels has a co-write on this one and you can tell because it has her trademark slinkiness with light touches of experimentation. Lipa never sounds more present on this album than when she sings, “Put my mind at ease.” This one is an early favourite.

Hallucinate

Pulsating bass opens this one and you already know that it’s going to be a banger. Produced by SG Lewis, this might be one of the most club-focused tracks on the record. Like much of the album, it’s about love on the dancefloor with a giddy, love-drunk chorus that’s going to be so much fun live. It would be very surprised if this didn’t end up as a single at some point.

Love Again

We love a grandiose disco moment and the strings at the start of this serve. You think we’re going into ballad territory but then it zips straight into dance track that has us bopping once again. Honestly, at this point, it’s difficult to pick a favourite. Every single song is coming through with the goods. Love Again is a swelling, adventurous disco tune that uses the phrase “god damn” which is always a good thing in pop. There’s something about this song that feels instantaneously recognisable and comfortable.

Break My Heart

The new single is another showstopper. It’s a lean, alluring cut that turns an INXS sample into a shimmering disco chorus. This song rises and falls like all good pop songs should housing both a killer bridge and a decadent chorus. The video is excellent too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this takes over TikTok very soon particularly given the relevancy of a line like, “I should have stayed at home.”

Read our Rapid React review of the song here.

Good In Bed

Lily Allen mentioned earlier in the week that she’d heard this one sounded like her. She’s right. The perky keys in particular are an obvious nod to Allen but Lipa brings her own twist to it. Good In Bed is the anomaly of the album but it’s a rare chance to see Lipa’s personality shine. It’ll confuse you on the first listen but soon you’ll notice its intricacies like the fact that Lipa sings about, “good pipe”. Every classic pop record needs an oddity and this is Future Nostalgia‘s.

Boys Will Be Boys

For an album that’s been mostly danceable fun, we weren’t expecting a statement moment at the back. With luscious strings, Lipa finds a way to make her point while keeping with the aesthetic of the album. Boys Will Be Boys sticks the knife in, concisely expressing the everyday female experience with vivid depictions (“It’s second nature to walk home before the sun goes down”). This could’ve easily come off like an attempt for headlines but Lipa has been outspoken about inequality and it’s a stirring message delivered by her.

Overall

There’s no other way of putting it. Future Nostalgia is a pop classic. We’ll be dusting this record off in years to come for a dose of nostalgia, remembering the moment that Lipa brought bold, danceable pop music back to the forefront. At this point, it’s very obvious that Dua Lipa is the best popstar in the world.