The album to make you ‘Love Again’
Dua Lipa pulls no punches on ‘Future Nostalgia’
March 27, 2020
Dua Lipa’s second studio album Future Nostalgia effectively weaves its forward-minded lyrics with sounds from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. This is my track-by-track take.
Favorite line: “No matter what you do I’m gonna get it without ya / I know you ain’t used to a female alpha.”
Comments: The spoken parts complement and build to the chorus, a feat few songs are able to accomplish. The bass is well done and supports the song. Empowering and catchy, the song strikes a balance between sassy and socially relevant. Overall, it’s an excellent opening track that sets up a theme of empowerment throughout the album.
Don’t Start Now
Favorite line: “Though it took some time to survive you / I’m better on the other side.”
Comments: One word comes immediately to mind: groovy. The production elevates the deceptively simple bridge and outro, allowing them to work together to sandwich the final chorus. The omnipresent clap track and laugh near the end of the song are delightful.
Favorite line: “Got me losin’ all my cool / ’Cause I’m burnin’ up on you.”
Comments: The pre-chorus and the drums in the chorus are my favorite parts of this contagious song. The verses are not as catchy, but the bridge is excellent. The song has disjointed and delirious motifs like “pill,” “juice,” or “summer,” but it somehow incorporates them seamlessly within its staccato chorus.
Favorite line: “Who needs to go to sleep when I got you next to me?”
Comments: Lipa again strikes the balance between spoken and sung, with the spoken pre-chorus setting up the perfect mood for the reverberating chorus. The song has an 80s feel with its smooth synths, yet it feels anything but outdated.
Favorite line: “I feel like we’re forever every time we get together / But whatever, let’s get lost on Mars.”
Comments: This song has a quick tempo and contains some of the most astronomical (ha, ha, get it?) lyrics yet. The clap track in the verses maintains the momentum of the chorus, and the most impressive part of this track is how well its space-age lyrics work with its nostalgic sound.
Favorite line: “I said if we took it there, I wasn’t gonna change / But that went out the window, yeah.”
Comments: Although it may not be the catchiest track, the lyrics deliver. The meat of the song comes from the verses and pre-chorus. In particular, the song’s mellowness fits appropriately with its message about how it’s easier to pretend to be cool with questionable things at the start of a relationship.
Favorite line: “But I’ma love you like a fool / Breathe you in till I hallucinate.”
Comments: I love the vocal hall effect and key change on multiple instances of “hallucinate.” The club dance-party feel of the song is complemented by some of the neon, arcade-themed lyrics, such as “Don’t wait, you can push to start, lose control.”
Favorite line: “So many nights, my tears fell harder than the rain / Scared I would take my broken heart to the grave.”
Comments: This might be my favorite song on the record. It has an upbeat feel to it, but one hears its melancholy undertones loud and clear with the mirrored strings solo in the intro and outro. If partying to numb the pain were a song, this would be it.
Break My Heart
Favorite line: “Am I falling in love with the one that could break my heart?”
Comments: This song also has an intro that resembles Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too.” By the time it got to the chorus, I was pleased to discover that Lipa has sampled INXS’s “Need You Tonight.” This guitar-strummed sample works effortlessly in this Charlie Puth-esque dance song.
Good In Bed
Favorite line: “Got me thinking it’d be better / If we didn’t stay together / Then you put your hands up on my waist.”
Comments: The atmosphere of this song is a standout from the album. The chorus is absolutely cynical. The effect that cuts off an anticipated fifth repetition of “bad” near the end of the chorus is a nice touch. The bridge summarizes the song well, although it’s probably best if I don’t quote it.
Boys Will Be Boys
Favorite line: “Isn’t it funny how we laugh it off to hide our fear / When there’s nothing funny here?”
Comments: Lipa closes Future Nostalgia with this moving song, condemning society’s normalization of men catcalling and sexualizing women. This is perfectly summarized by the line “…boys will be boys / But girls will be women.” This closing track is a much-needed conversation starter.
Future Nostalgia, as catchy as many of its songs may be, addresses heavy topics with a sensitive hand. Although many songs will get people dancing, paying closer attention to the lyrics will no doubt spark thoughtful discussion.