Dua Lipa’s second album, the brilliantly titled ‘Future Nostalgia,’ is more than just a pop album. It is a revelation. She is wildly successful at doing what many artists before her have failed to scratch the surface. Harking back to modern pop music of the past fifty years, Dua puts a refreshingly modern and exciting twist on an era of music without it becoming exhausting to listen to. Even more astonishing is the variety she displays across these eleven songs. So many artists boast about having a song for everyone on their records. Only to have them sound choppy, incohesive and tasteless. What Dua proves wonderfully is that you can have a little bit of everything.
“You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game,” Dua sings on the album’s opening track. A swaggering declaration of self worth and confidence sung over a throbbing 1990s influenced dance beat. Later, on the intoxicating, Kylie Minogue-influenced house-club track “Hallucinate,” she says “I’m gonna love you like a fool, breathe you in till I hallucinate.”
So many of these songs (“Love Again”, “Cool”, “Hallucinate”) are an ode to falling in love. However, in later songs, Dua displays the anxiousness some of us feel in these moments. “If I would’ve known it baby, I would’ve stayed at home, cause I was doing better alone,” she sings on “Break My Heart,” which is a deeply personal song about the risks we take when we trust other people with our hearts. Building upon that sentiment, on album highlight “Cool,” Dua belts about the rush of adrenaline that comes with stepping into a new relationship. This track is significant in that it is the closest thing to pop perfection any of us have heard in years.
This is not just your typical happy-go-lucky pop album, mind you. Dua also manages to make some foreboding jabs towards modern society. In the last song on the album, “Boys will be Boys,” Dua creates a rallying cry worthy of becoming an anthem for the Me-Too movement. She points out that women and young girls often have to grow up faster in our modern society. “Boys will be boys, but girls will be women.” This song is a lushly produced, orchestral take-down of the sexist society we currently live in. For generations to come, this sublime pop song will inspire many women to fight for the noble cause of equality.
It is my understanding that an artist’s sophomore album is an even bigger statement than their first. The pressure to create something more successful than your previous effort is unimaginable. For Dua, the pressure didn’t appear to phase her, as she has created one of the most powerful, incredible and enjoyable pop albums of this decade so far. In a time when we could all use some positivity, put on “Future Nostalgia,” and dance like it’s the most fun you’ve ever had. “Lights out, follow the noise, baby keep on dancing like you ain’t got a choice.”