THE BREAKDOWN

Releases from March 27th

Table Of Contents

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Future Nostalgia

By Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa came to the attention of most in 2017 upon the release of her single “New Rules” as it took pop radio stations by storm. In the years following, Dua Lipa faded to the background, calling into question whether the impact she made on her debut would last into the future. On November 1st, 2019, Dua Lipa appeared on the charts once more with “Don’t Start Now” a bona fide breakup anthem and the debut single for her sophomore album Future Nostalgia.

The eponymous title track “Future Nostalgia” is, in essence, the album’s thesis. Bult on a solid foundation of 80s electropop, the song exudes the energy of pop from decades past while carrying its own modern aura. This extends beyond the sound of the track, as the lyrics make a clear statement as to what the next 37 minutes will be all about. “You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game” deftly sums up the nature of this album, as the next half hour masterfully mixes 80s pop elements with the trends of the current day. But beyond all that, “Future Nostalgia” is catchy. Everything from the staccato post-chrous, to the attitude-loaded verses and the sublime hooks has the making of a pop anthem.

“Don’t Start Now”, an anthem in its own right, is what immediately follows. Released in November, the single reminded general audiences of Dua Lipa as she prepared for the release of Future Nostalgia. With a bass-heavy electro-funk instrumental, the track is irresistible and the perfect continuation of the foundation laid down by the album’s title track.

The third track of the album, “Cool” doubles down on the echoing 80s synth-pop aesthetic, with a punchy earworm chorus that can easily hold its own when compared to its predecessors. If “Cool” embodied the more romantic side of pop from decades past, “Physical” is its more kinetic counterpart. With a pulsing bass-lead instrumental that feels ripped straight out of an 80s workout video, “Physical” is an infectious, enrapturing example of Dua Lipa’s effortless command over sounds of decades past.

The album’s 5th track, “Levitating” is full of strong, rapid delivery over glamorous, funky instrumentals. The shiny disco aesthetic of the track is irresistible enough on its own, not even considering the captivating performance from Dua on the track. Immediately following is “Pretty Please”, a flirty and sensual track continuing the theme and sounds of the project.

As the album continues past its halfway point, general trends become more apparent. “Hallucinate” is a trance-inducing track with a more 90s/early 2000s influence, while still staying close to the general retro concept of the album. “Love Again” has a slightly different pop flavor, still based on addictive bass grooves but accented by delicate violins and other grand instrumental flourishes.

As the album reaches its conclusion, it starts to lose a bit of its shine. “Break My Heart” is another solid vocal performance over another recognizable, and perhaps a bit generic instrumental. Aside from this, little about the track stands out. Following is “Good In Bed”, which is surprisingly sloppy and loose for such a sexually loaded title. Although the sound of the track isn’t bad necessarily, it doesn’t blend with the romantically-focused nature of the song’s lyrics, cheapening the experience as a whole.

Concluding the album is “Boys Will Be Boys”, a more grandiose, fully developed song dealing with general themes of sexism, womanhood, and societal double standards. While there are some lines that ring out strongly, there are also plenty that come across as somewhat half-baked. Still, the unapologetic and confident energy of the song rings out over most of the issues I have with it, ultimately coalescing in a fitting ending to the record.

Future Nostalgia is a modern pop record drenched in retro flavors and concepts. Perhaps it doesnt deliver on the “future” side of its concept as much, but the album still achieves everything it sets out to and is a milestone in contemporary pop music.

 

Other New Releases

There’s not enough time for me to give a full review to every project that comes out – so here’s the rest of the new music that I listened to this week but didn’t have a chance to review. Releases with a star next to the title are the ones I liked most!

Ooh, La La ⋆

By Run The Jewels // Single

Gigaton

By Pearl Jam // Album

PARTYMOBILE

By PARTYNEXTDOOR // Album