It’s only March but Dua Lipa has just delivered what could quite possibly be the album of the year.
‘Future Nostalgia’ is brief in duration with only eleven songs but creates a huge impact with it’s fine precision of production and lyrical exploration. In contrast it’s everything that her debut album should’ve been but instead it was self indulgently long and lacked cohesiveness. She’s learnt from that mistake and has instead delivered something that people are going to be talking about for a very long time.
Adapting her sound into this nostalgic synth layered world, she brings back the aesthetic of some of Madonna and Kylie Minogue’s best body of works.
Opening with the experimentally charged title track, Lipa effortlessly puts a spotlight on self-love while oozing a light hearted approach through it’s playful flair. It’s a unique moment that perfectly introduces the experimental foundations that this album is built upon and welcomes you into a whole new era for the British singer-songwriter.
Hit single ‘Don’t Start Now’ follows with it’s soaring confidence that left me initially gagged upon a first listen.
The sassy disco pop number feels like the mature sister to ‘New Rules’ as she euphorically sings about not taking a guy back and finding her own inner-confidence to walk away.
“Don’t show up, don’t come out. Don’t start caring about me now. Walk away, you know how. Don’t start caring about me now” she sassily sings during the epic chorus.
The next single ‘Physical’ took a page out of Olivia Newton John’s book, but only ever so slightly. Reflecting on the emotions the surround infatuation, she also explains how happy she is to live in the present as she parties through the motions of life.
From the song’s opening sci-fi injected intro, she immediately has your attention as the pulsating synths drop and her sultry vocals draw you in further with every word. The production starts building as all of the elements collide for a big euphoric hook which feels like a giant celebration.
‘Break My Heart’ was the albums last single before the release and this groovy little pop moment hears her effortlessly sampling INXS’ classic ‘Need You Tonight’ guitar riff. While this is a catchy pop track in it’s own right, there are a few stronger tracks on this album that would’ve been better suited as the next single.
‘Levitating’ is a flawless pop song that is pure 80’s realness layered with a fresh perspective. The hopeless romantic track is about the moment you meet someone and feel like your constantly levitating around them. It’s smooth, funky and a whole lot of fun.
‘Hallucinate’ follows in it’s footsteps while ‘Cool’ and the Julia Michaels co-written ‘Pretty Please’ takes a layer off and offers a mature groove within their sonics.
‘Good In Bed’ is a nostalgic Lily Allen esq track which is a whole lot of fun, but one of the albums clear standouts is the lush ‘Love Again’ which interpolates a sample from White Town’s ‘Your Woman’.
Lyrically the song reflects on a dark moment in time where Lipa no longer saw the light when it came to love. Struggling to feel empowered, she wrote herself an anthem to cuddle herself in the darkness, and what she’s created is a universal anthem of hope.
“So many nights, my tears fell harder than rain. Scared I would take my broken heart to the grave. I’d rather die than have to live in a storm like before. But goddamn, you got me in love again” she sings during the second verse.
Closing the record is the complimentary observational mid-tempo ballad ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ that acts as a first hand commentary on what it is like to grow up as a woman. The self empowering moment hears her finding her inner strength and overcoming the obstacles that are put in womens lives. And it’s the thought invoking lyrics “boys will be boys but girls will be women” that will leave a little food for thought. It’s a perfect closing moment for a record that is an uplifting piece of pop brilliance.
‘Future Nostalgia’ is truly a must listen album and will be one that artists will reference when putting together their own body of works and strive to create something that gives that immediate impact that this one has.