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Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia (Album Review)

Thursday, 02 April 2020 Written by Laura Johnson

“You want what now looks like? Let me give you a taste,” Dua Lipa sings in a new wave drawl on the eponymous opener of her second album, ‘Future Nostalgia’. She then proceeds to deliver on that promise in style across a record that serves as a snapshot of the current pop landscape swathed in signifiers from previous eras.

Lipa may have namechecked Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Moloko, Blondie and Outkast among the LP’s influences, but she casts her net much wider than that. In a bold departure from the sleek, and somewhat typical, contemporary pop of her 2017 self-titled debut, Future Nostalgia deals in ‘80s synth and funk riffs, immediately putting the listener on the back foot in the best way possible.

The decade’s greatest hits are revisited throughout, with Cool sounding like it could soundtrack a John Hughes remake and Physical recalling a beefed up take on Olivia Newton-John’s track of the same name.

Elsewhere, though, Love Again offers up big band strings and Good In Bed delivers ‘It's Not Me, It's You’-era Lily Allen vibes thanks to its lo-fi keys.

On this “difficult second album”, Lipa drafted in an A Team of producers, including Grammy Award-winner Jeff Bhasker—who’s namechecked on the title track—and multi-platinum hitmaker Ian Kirkpatrick. The main thing they have in common? Eclectic back catalogues starring collaborations with the biggest names in mainstream pop, including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Justin Beiber and Britney Spears.

Despite the long shadow cast by these past glories, ‘Future Nostalgia’ does not succumb to the common pitfall of over-produced tracks devoid of any personality or live performance element. That’s an intentional move on Lipa’s part. “Because of the time that I’d spent on the road touring with my band I wanted ‘Future Nostalgia’ to have a lot more of a live element, but mixed together with modern electronic production,” she said.

Refreshingly, Pretty Please features clear, autotune free vocals that complement the song’s laid back groove. Another left turn arrives in the form of the provocative Boys Will Be Boys, which finds Lipa adopting a no holds barred approach to sexism: “If you’re offended by this song, you’re clearly doing something wrong.”

It’s something that’s touched upon during the opener—“I know you ain't used to a female alpha”—and the sentiment also fuels empowering tracks like Don’t Start Now, which is this record’s New Rules. Here, she’s unapologetically assertive. 

‘Future Nostalgia’ is a record of style and substance. Lipa has managed to present her diverse personality across 37 transformative minutes that prove she’s got the chops needed to lead the charge in the next phase of pop.

Dua Lipa Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun January 03 2021 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Utilita Arena
Mon January 04 2021 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Wed January 06 2021 - LIVERPOOL M&S Bank Arena
Fri January 08 2021 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Sat January 09 2021 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Tue January 12 2021 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Wed January 13 2021 - BIRMINGHAM Arena
Fri January 15 2021 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sat January 16 2021 - LONDON O2 Arena
Tue January 19 2021 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Thu January 21 2021 - MANCHESTER Arena
Fri January 22 2021 - LEEDS first direct Arena

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