With the release of Future Nostalgia, we are invited to see the title of Queen of Pop fall firmly onto Dua Lipa’s head – the sophomore album to challenge all sophomore albums, it sees Lipa shake off the shackles of modern day pop convention, embracing pure, undiluted disco to rival the legends. Her debut album was ground-breaking: rife with irresistible hooks and acting as a call to arms in its empowerment of teenage girls everywhere. It became heralded as an album defined by its “sassiness”, something which sticks with Lipa on Future Nostalgia. Yet, this quality has grown with her – her self-assured tunes have become coy and sultry, and it feels like magic at work on this album.
Its distinctly undefinable – this is not your average pop album, dipping generously into a myriad of different genres and eras. Its titular track is tongue and cheek, leading way for a non-stop selection of cohesive, ambitious bangers. ‘Cool’ is borderline cinematic in the way it crafts such an effortlessly sun-kissed soundscape, whilst ‘Levitating’ does exactly what it says on the tin – as uplifting as it is physically possible for a single song to be, if you can resist the urge to dance that comes with this track you’d have to be impossibly strong-willed.
It’s safe to say that its singles see the album at its strongest, particularly the whirling, fluorescent ‘Physical’. Nonetheless, the rest of the album remains some of the most impressive pop tracks of the last few years. ‘Hallucinate’, produced by the wonderful SG Lewis, is absolutely titanic, hailing back to early noughties house and destined for a festival stage. Dua Lipa manages to be vulnerable, seductive and unapologetic about it consistently – her rich vocals carry the album, but the lyrics, smattering of synth and heavy bass contributes massively.
‘Pretty Please’ sees Lipa implore someone to “put my mind at ease”, and that is exactly what Future Nostalgia does – it takes you out of the world around us seemingly crumbling at the hands of this pandemic, carrying you to a different planet where disco is the name of the game and any worries are seamlessly danced away. It’s a journey away from heartbreak which sees Dua Lipa falling in love with others, and crucially herself, so masterfully that it is destined to have you falling head over heels with the songstress yourself on perhaps one of the best albums of 2020 thus far.
Header Image by Hugo Conte.