Future Nostalgia Dua Lipa album review

May 13, 2020

Future nostalgia is the album of now. Being one of the few albums to have been released since global quarantine/ lockdown started, it is sure to be nominated during awards season. It has a wide variety of tones but a clear sound throughout. 

The title song, Future Nostalgia is a very ‘retro’ sounding dance song. Robotic voices akin to Daft Punk start the song repeating the words ‘Future Nostalgia’ and they can be heard punctuating lines throughout the verses. She is very assertive and confident in that her album is unlike others, repeating this in her lyrics.
Paying attention to the lyrics she makes many pop culture references in the song, which was fun to hear as a pop culture journalist. She mentions the group the Rolling Stones as well as American architect John Lautner. Who I ended up looking into and really appreciate his work as they seem to be the imagined “modern home” of the ’60s. When looking him up the third google option was “John Lautner Dua Lipa” which tells me I was not the only one looking into this reference. As a song, it’s a Hodge Podge of lots of aspects that a modern listener would clump as ‘retro’ which pulls the song together.

Don’t Start Now has reached new heights, from top 40 to TikTok favourite. With the seemingly ever-present nature of this song, it's surprising if you hadn't heard the iconic line “Did a full 180” as it has been used for comedy on the app TikTok.
As a long time listener of Dua Lipa’s music, this gave me nostalgia in itself. Reminding me of her 2017 single New Rules in its chorus listing format. New Rules listing things not to do when an ex returns in order to move on and Don’t Start Now feels like a continuation, telling the ex to leave if they’re unhappy seeing her happy, listing a few ‘Don’ts’ for the ex to follow. As a song, it’s a very fun dance song, altogether very upbeat and carefree.

The intro of Cool reminds me of the beginning notes of a movie outro song. Clean vocals with ad-libs that echo between lines. It's incredibly fun listening. The chorus reminds me of a scene in a movie of a car ride with a girl in big heart sunglasses, her hair flowing in the wind as she sits passenger in a convertible with the boy of her dreams. The song very much encapsulates the feeling of being “ready for the summer” which is a prominent line in the chorus.

Physical, like the rest of the album, is very nostalgic. She seems to have taken Stranger Things intro for her song. This song could easily fit with one of Netflix’s '80s themed shows. It has the feel of a song that would go over a workout montage in GLOW.
Pre album release this song was unavoidable, but unlike Don’t Start Now I didn’t find it as enjoyable. Something about the workout nature of the song – even having a workout video as an alternate music video – made this song annoying to me. Making it the only skip on the album for me.

Levitating is a groovy song. Dua sort of talk-raps in this song and unlike when other greats tried it and I wasn’t impressed, I think it suits this song. It resembles the fast pace your heart goes at when you first meet someone you think you could love, someone that makes you feel like you’re levitating.

Pretty Please has a killer baseline. And like Charlie Puth’s attention, it makes the song. In fact, it is the song for 80% of the runtime under her singing. Drums barely kicking in for the chorus and finger-snaps joining the bass for the rest of the song, this only really changing for the instrumental bridge later in the song. Like the song topic, the baseline begs for attention. The simplicity of this song makes it one of my favourites.

Hallucinate starts strong with an upbeat tempo and fun atmosphere. This is very much a classic dance song, even having a classic drop. This song belongs on a party playlist once we're allowed to have them again, as it is a very catchy song and after a chorus, you’d be able to sing along with no problem.

After a quick slow violin intro, Love Again comes in hard with a Star Wars Imperial March-esque melody. Before falling back into the groove theme this album has had so far. The first chorus talking about her new love and how afraid she was “of love and what it might do,” punctuated well by stripping the song down to the violin and acoustic guitar before picking with the melody. This song is a fun yet grand-sounding song. A standout on the album for me.

Break My Heart starts with a groovy bass guitar and drum intro, that fades, giving it the effect that you’re hearing it through a door for part of the first verse. This is third single from her album and like the others the chorus is catchy as hell, the instrument matching her voice perfectly, working together like magic.

The penultimate song to the album Good In Bed has that sort of continuum feel to New Rules that Don’t Start Now has. Unlike the “I’ve moved on so you should too” feel the lyrics of Don’t Start Now has, this is more of a nostalgic look back on a doomed relationship. The song itself has a cheeky feel to it, with a basic “chopstick” piano melody under the witty lyrics. The use of repetitive lyrics in the chorus makes it a fun song to sing along to. 

The last song Boys Will Be Boys is the most important song on the album. The lyrics are clearly presented, talking about things girls are expected to overlook and expect just because they are girls. It’s a powerful song because its carefully outlining the society we live in from a new perspective in media. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Future Nostalgia and the sheer amount of groove it had. It was a pure pop album that even when venturing into different styles kept that upbeat energy going throughout the album. It’s very engaging and there’s bound to be a song for everyone on this album. Dua Lipa has avoided the sophomore slump with this 9.5/10 album.

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