The pop pantheon consists of icons such as Madonna, Britney Spears and Prince — if her new album is any indication, Dua Lipa should join this list one day.
On the heels of her smash-hit single “Don’t Start Now,” Lipa dropped her sophomore studio album, “Future Nostalgia,” a 1980s-inspired electric dance record, March 27. The 11-track album is a succinct, refreshing and bombastic homage to unapologetic dance-pop that should be an easy contender for Album of the Year.
“Future Nostalgia” isn’t merely an ’80s imitation — it’s a reinvention.
The production is sharp and diverse, each track cohesive with the next while offering innovation. Lipa’s confident, crisp vocals carry the album with ease, backed by the euphorically groovy, disco-influenced production.
Title-track “Future Nostalgia” opens the album with a bang — Lipa fiercely talk-sings the album’s message. “You want a timeless song, I want to change the game,” the star proclaims in a lyric that swiftly encompasses the record. “Future Nostalgia” isn’t merely a taste of Lipa’s potential but a magnum opus through and through.
Paced like a sprint, the album maintains its momentum throughout with ease. Each song is expressive and danceable without ever feeling like a retread. From suave bop “Cool” to the heavenly “Levitating,” the album is pure bliss.
‘80s-throwback “Physical” urges listeners to pop on some leg warmers and toss in a Richard Simmons dancercise video. It’s a synth-driven blast to the past with infectious production. “Physical” would fit perfectly into a dramatic teen-movie montage as the main character races to stop a certain disaster.
“Hallucinate” takes listeners on an exhilarating, hypnotic adrenaline ride. The entrancing verses lead to a massive, head-banging chorus of sheer ecstasy. The track builds with ease and already feels like a dance-pop classic.
Alone, the songs all stand tall. Together, they create a monumental piece of pop music. “Future Nostalgia” could very well sit among Spears’ cult-classic 2007 album “Blackout” and Lady Gaga’s acclaimed 2009 album “The Fame Monster” on the pop throne.
The production simply keeps listeners moving. There’s seldom a lull or moment that takes the listener out of the songs. Particularly, “Love Again” stuns with the cinematic, bittersweet electro-swing production. Lead single “Don’t Start Now” is also an easy production standout with a beat that only grows in danceability and climaxes immaculately.
The funky “Pretty Please” stands out with its glimmering production. The cowbells are fresh and amusing and contribute to a fantastic breakdown.
It’s almost hard to soak in the lyrics due to the captivating production. Even then, they feel purposeful and personal, furthered by Lipa’s writing credits on each track.
Lipa sings “I can’t believe there’s something left inside my chest anymore” in “Love Again” as she discusses her past heartbreaks in pure earnestness. The lyric “I never knew I had it in me to dance anymore” surmises the struggles Lipa has overcome and the deeper meaning behind this dance album. “Future Nostalgia” is an invitation to leave suffering in the past and jump into a world of pure, unadulterated elation.
The album’s only bonafide misfires come in its final track, “Boys Will Be Boys.” The song tackles politics with its “Boys will be boys, but girls will be women” hook. The topicality is poignant and lyricism works well here, but the track feels almost out of place in this timeless album and the kids’ choir chorus is a bit jarring.
As a closer, “Boys Will Be Boys” leaves a little to be desired. But on its own, the track is still a well-done, unconcealed feminist statement that contributes to Lipa’s strong, defiant image through the album.
“Future Nostalgia” is a transcendent album of pop perfection. The tracks have an ethereal, eternally comforting aspect that is so refreshing in the age of moody pop. It’s one of the strongest dance-pop albums in years and has the charisma and innovation to cement Lipa as a pop icon. The title’s certainly onto something because this album is an instant classic that’s sure to age like fine wine.
“Future Nostalgia” is available now on all streaming platforms.