When Dua Lipa released “New Rules” in 2017, audiences went crazy. It was no surprise the track spent 48 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at no. 6. From that moment on, the Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter took the world by storm with her powerful energy and genre-defining music.
Lipa’s second full-length album, Future Nostalgia, proves that she’s nowhere near her peak. The album not only acts as an empowering love letter to women, but it also brings back a beautifully-made combination of ’70s and ’80s style music.
Lipa knew the success of “New Rules” and her first album, Dua Lipa, would be hard to replicate. Luckily, she didn’t want to produce a copycat of her previous success, but she wanted to push her comfort zones and create something unique. To make her music progressive with Future Nostalgia, she had to get regressive with her research. Lipa used inspiration from the disco genre and the ’80s, with funk, synthesizers, strong bass movements and dance beats to spare. The entire album is about creating music with nostalgic influences that translate to a modern-day style.
From the moment Lipa opens the album with the titular song, “Future Nostalgia,” it’s clear the rest of the album will be jam packed with excitement. That continues with two of the singles released before the full album became available: “Don’t Start Now” and “Physical.” The other pre-released track was “Break My Heart,” which packs a powerful punch with the staccato chorus combined with the complex instrumentation.
The cohesive nature of the album is clear and present, continuing on with the ever-romantic and galactic “Levitating.” Paired with the sultry quality of her vocals, the tracks captivate listeners. “Pretty Please” and “Love Again” woo audiences by having them hang on her every lyric. She keeps this trend throughout the entire album, especially with her only explicit track, “Good in Bed,” where she highlights the confusion between rational emotion and sexual desire.
The self-proclaimed “female-alpha” proves her status with the nature of her empowering and dominating lyrics. In an interview with Apple Music, the singer says “For me, it’s always about championing women and putting ourselves in the position of power. I want to show that women are allowed to take risks and try things different musically. And wear the pants, you know? We don’t have that enough in music.”
Lip does just that through her guide to heartbreak, healing and new love. It’s unfortunate that the worst track on the album — which let’s be clear, is still fantastic — is the track that perfectly encompasses her message. However, the message in the closing track is clearly stated, “Boys will be boys, but girls will be women.” It’s brilliant lyricism to add a hint of seriousness to an album otherwise overflowing with fun.
There is never a point in the album where it feels like Lipa is falling flat, or trying too hard to create music in the past. She’s not stuck in the past, she’s simply utilizing it in a sophisticated way that attracts the younger generations to an older style of music and reminds the older generations of music they know and love, with a twist. Simply put, the album truly is Future Nostalgia.
Close your eyes and you’ll immediately be transported to a nightclub, bursting at the seams with neon lights, disco balls and not a soul in their seat while everyone dances the disco. The 11 tracks flow with perfection, work to inspire women and are sure to be a go-to party album for listeners for quite a while. Lipa is without a doubt at her best with Future Nostalgia.