Album Review: Dua Lipa - 'Future Nostalgia'

The second album from pop powerhouse Dua Lipa sees a slight departure from the style of her debut, but is no less fun - if anything, Lipa has truly found her groove on this sophomore record.

After Dua Lipa hit the music scene in the summer of 2015 with her single New Love, she has grown to become one of the largest names in the pop industry today. The Westminster-born singer released her eponymous debut album in 2017, which achieved a number 3 spot on the UK Albums Chart featuring the UK No.1 single New Rules – a track that I’m sure we are all familiar with, whether that be for the song itself or the widely adored accompanying music video. In 2018, Lipa won the Brit Awards for both British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. To add to this collection, her single One Kiss, which became the longest running number one single for a female artist, won 2019’s Brit Award for Song of the Year. Now, Lipa hopes to brighten these dark days of quarantine and self-isolation with her second studio album, Future Nostalgia.

Image courtesy of JC Olivera.

Future Nostalgia was released on 27th March 2020, a week earlier than originally scheduled and a pleasant surprise for fans of the self-proclaimed ‘dark pop’ singer. However, this decision was not made lightly, as explained by Lipa’s emotional Instagram live which expressed her concern over releasing the album during the current global crisis. Despite the concerns, observing the coherent happiness among Lipa’s fanbase over the past few days confirms that the early release was the right move.

This new album provides a contemporary twist on the retro-electric vibes of the 80s whilst allowing Lipa to voice her thoughts on important social issues such as gender disparity. Future Nostalgia features writing contributions from Tove Lo as well as Madonna’s producer Stuart Price, and this shows in the disco-like, dance-pop music reminiscent of Kylie Minogue and Madonna herself. Every track on this album makes you want to throw worries to the wind, get up and dance. There is a feeling that all generations can lovingly embrace during these stressful times – even my parents, whom I am now concerned will dig-up those forgotten neon leg warmers and attempt to bring back the mullet hair style.

'This new album provides a contemporary twist on the retro-electric vibes of the 80s whilst allowing Lipa to voice her thoughts on important social issues such as gender disparity'.

Lipa truly channels her inner 80s diva in Hallucinate, Levitating and Love Again, tracks that shine as the perfect blend of contemporary and retro, demonstrating that it is indeed very possible to bring disco into 2020. Nods to the likes of Prince and INXS seem like they belong among Lipa’s funky sound, which transports you back to another dimension where 90s club culture is still rife and Windows 95 is the pinnacle of technological advancement.

As mentioned, over the synth-pop backing of these tracks you can find Lipa expressing her views on numerous societal issues. This is perfectly exemplified by the concluding track Boys Will Be Boys, one of the strongest on the album. Here, Lipa hopes to start a conversation about the issues girls and women face, both on a day-to-day basis as well as in the music industry specifically. Interviews about the album revealed the personal issues Lipa faced as a child when it came to gender and led to her, rightly, calling out the sexism within the music industry, stating: ‘there is a lot less scrutiny of male pop stars’. This point acts as a friendly reminder that, whilst you enjoy this frankly excellent album, be sure to listen to and understand Lipa’s lyrical expression and the emotion behind each and every word.

What Dua Lipa has demonstrated with this latest release is that she is not a vessel for the music industry. After the incredibly successful release of Dua Lipa in 2017, many would have expected the conventional series of events to follow – a few collaborations with some big names and the release of another album that sits comfortably within multiple genres to maximise the audience gained. Well, it is safe to say Lipa defied those expectations and produced something that is exquisitely Lipa, if there ever was such a thing. Listening to this album, you sincerely feel that she is enjoying what she is creating and that allows us to enjoy the finished product even more.

The Future Nostalgia Tour will be the second concert tour by the English-Kosovo Albanian singer and will visit Europe. As many fans will already know, the tour has been delayed due to the global pandemic currently occurring and is now due to begin on 3 January 2021 in Newcastle, concluding in Madrid on 16 February of the same year. For those who have fallen in love after listening to the new album, tickets are still available!