I listened to Future Nostalgia the day my country went into complete lockdown. They say art is an escape from the most turbulent of times – which is why, it only felt right to be transported into Dua Lipa’s dazzling, 80s-inspired dance party while I was dreadfully quarantined at home.
The Grammy-winning artist’s sophomore album is smooth, impeccably produced pop studded with thick baselines and funky beats. It’s a distinctive dash of neon in the bland, trap-infused world of modern day music – and perhaps, her boldest statement yet.
If anything, it’s a testament to the fact that Lipa has finally owned her sound. Right from the album’s opener, Future Nostalgia, where she expresses her female-alpha nature over groovy, Prince-inspired guitars, to its final track, ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, where she tackles sexism in the most badass way possible – Dua Lipa exhibits a blasé confidence. It’s an unmistakable quality which gives us her strongest moments on the LP, of them being ‘Cool’ – a synth-heavy track showcasing Lipa’s gorgeous, raspy voice. Heavy bass is sprinkled across the song’s chorus, leaving you with no option but to dance along. It helps in setting the right tone for the rest of this musical journey through the decades.
But the party has just begun. As the album progresses, Lipa’s tracks burst with increasing energy and euphoria. ‘Don’t Start Now’ is a triumphant anthem about successfully moving on. ‘Physical’ (inspired by Olivia Newton John’s hit of the same name) is an absolute disco banger. ‘Break My Heart’ and ‘Love Again’ are her most vulnerable moments on the record. Both tracks feature incredible disco strings and hypnotic verses. They convey the common anxieties about falling in love and risking heartbreak.
However, the subtly-produced ‘Pretty Please’ is an unexpected highlight. Lipa’s voice is the undisputed star of the track. It shifts from fluttery falsettos to harmonies, giving it a charm that’s alluring and effortless at the same time.
There’s no doubt that in Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa has somehow crafted the perfect mix of contemporary pop and retro sounds. Although its upbeat nature juxtaposes the gloomy timing of its release, it is an album the world desperately needs right now.
Not only does it provide a surge of happiness that distracts us from our worries, but also makes us nostalgic about a time when our dance parties weren’t just for one. “I wanted to make music that takes your mind away from that,” Lipa told Vogue Australia recently. “I wanted to just make it a bit easier for me to get out of bed and not think about the negative things that are going on in the world all the time.”
While her previous effort Dua Lipa saw her trying to find her niche between generic tropical and dark indie sounds, this album marks the success of her experimentation. Her meteoric rise to fame may have been faster than the time taken to count her ‘New Rules’, but Future Nostalgia proves that she’s here for the long run. And although Lipa doesn’t deliver any heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics or stirring emotional moments on the LP, she still manages to create an impact in her sphere.
Through her brilliant, technicolor attempt to bring grooviness back into the world, Dua Lipa has provided a glittery dose of positivity to me, and millions of other people around the world. Future Nostalgia may be an album made for the clubs, but its euphoria can still be experienced within the limited territory of your four walls. It’s an absolute blast through and through and cements Lipa’s place as the disco queen of the new decade.