I don’t think there will ever come a time where we become nostalgic for this period we’re currently living in. But should we get to that point, Dua Lipa made that concept just a smidge more fathomable. While many artists have already postponed their albums weeks and even months ahead of their original release date, Lipa opted to debut her highly anticipated “Future Nostalgia” where it was planned on March 27th, even with the other unplanned events happening in tandem. In a world where keeping six feet apart is currently the norm, the album evokes an era of individuals not being away to keep away from each other, or the dance floor. Let’s go track by track on what is the exact opposite of a sophomore slump for the 24-year-old English singer.
Future Nostalgia: A confidence not seen from Lipa in her prior effort is evident right from this title song. It’s no secret that these sounds are influenced by her predecessors, including Madonna and Gwen Stefani. Yet, she makes clear that she has no plans of taking a backseat to these tried and true sounds and letting them be the stars. “You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game.” And already, this is bound to be a game changer in a today’s climate of games being changed across the board.
Don’t Start Now: Released during the “innocent” time of November 2019, this is a song that most have already become familiarized with. Now THAT’S nostalgic! Despite its familiarity, it remains fresh and acts a seamless transition from its preceding track. While “Future Nostalgia” talks the talk, “Don’t Start Now” walks the walk by increasing the adrenaline of its listeners in preparation for the party ahead.
Cool: My absolute favorite off of the album, the drums and synth are absolutely infectious right from the get go. Those, combined with her squeaky vocals, take you to the 1980s high school prom that you’ve never ever been to. Even if you’ve never been, it doesn’t stop you from getting those butterflies you love to hate and hate to love. The limo is already full of vomit because of your pregaming friend, but you’re eyes are on the prize.
Physical: This is another familiar one to audiences, and not just because of the Olivia Newton-John song it pays homage to. The 80s vibes that “Cool” brought in continues, but this one actually makes you feel cool. Those aforementioned butterflies are swapped for stinging bees. And while Newton-John’s classic plays to the aerobics crowd, this falls right into the toned laps of today’s soul cyclers.
Levitate: Lipa levitates us all back to the 70s in this bouncy tune that will surely have your frequently-washed finger pointing to the sky, or in a more probable case, your ceiling. The collective anthemic “Yeah, yeah yeah”‘s provide company that a Zoom call could never match. Alright, maybe I wouldn’t take it that far. But seriously, no mask can muffle the lyrics you’ll be belting out with this one.
Pretty Please: Sick of bouncing? Well, sorry, you’ll be doing it for another three minutes. The sultriest of the songs presented thus far, there’s cowbell sufficient enough even for Christopher Walken. And returning to that prom scenario, you’ll be walking with your respective prom date to the secluded area of your choice, whether it be the graffiti-covered bathroom stall or the single classroom they forgot to lock.
Hallucinate: You’re running back to the dance floor and manically searching for the rest of your group. You can’t get there fast enough. This is your SONG! The steady bouncing has transformed into full on swinging. That supposed good-good your pukey friend’s sketchy date gave you? It was the oregano from the pizza place you all ate at before. Not that that matters, anyway. This song gives you that same feeling. You’re in the ZONE!
Love Again: While certainly 70s in nature, this next one actually samples 1997’s “Your Woman” by fellow English artist White Town, itself sampling the trumpet line from “My Woman” by 1930’s jazz performer Al Bowlly. It’s back to you two, and a circle is beginning to form around you. Now’s the time to show everyone who’s your grade’s IT couple. Those dance lessons are really paying off.
Break My Heart: I cannot believe they stepped on your foot towards the end! Maybe if they actually showed up to all of the lessons that wouldn’t have happened. You’re a total laughing stock now, and have relegated to the stall that just moments earlier housed the most intimate moment of your life. The song is muffled, but your head is telling you the same thing the song would: “I should have stayed at home, cause I was doing better alone.” Two of your closest friends try to get you back out there. They manage to get you out of the stall, but you remain in the bathroom bopping your heads just the three of you. Anyone else who dares to come in will get your dolled-up daggers.
Good in Bed: For me, at least, the party ended with this song. That’s not to say that there aren’t good elements to it. The piano portion and even the singing style reminds me of other English female singers such as Lily Allen or the late, great Amy Winehouse. My issue stems from the chorus, which is repetitive to the point of coming across as annoying and even lazy. Not only that but this style doesn’t totally fit with what’s being presented. You ended up getting back with your date to complete the moment you’ve truly been waiting for. You’re still mad, but it’s fueling what makes it so great.
Boys Will Be Boys: There truly is no after party with the direction of this song, but at least it’s a little more meaningful than the preceding track. No, it’s not the most prolific lyrics ever presented. But surely it’s good enough to be plastered on plaques and pillows to be sold at a discount store. I know, I’m being harsh. It can’t be all fun and games, and the message is still critical even if she could have taken it further. It’s the next morning, and you’ve officially come to your senses. You’re breaking it off, for good.
Regardless of whoever made this decision, Lipa deserves credit for putting herself out there in the midst of all of this chaos. She’s put together a fun album that wisely uses proven elements while still ultimately making it her own. How grateful are we to have gotten this! Otherwise, we would have been stuck with Gal Gadot’s painful “Imagine” collaboration. Who knew we’d need a digital quarantine as well?