Three years after the release of her self-titled debut album, Dua Lipa is back with her second album, “Future Nostalgia.” It’s a musical retrospective of the music the singer grew up with, with influences ranging from eurodance, ’90s futurepop to 00s nu-disco. The overarching influence throughout the album, though, is clearly ’80s electro-funk, the synth-heavy sendup to disco.
The album starts with the title track, “Future Nostalgia,” a futuristic empowerment anthem. “I know you ain’t used to a female alpha,” the singer declares, name checking, among other things, Modernist architect John Lautner, a nod to the album’s claim to modern classic status.
The first single “Don’t Start Now” is a power pop banger serving as a strong antithesis to her previous hit “New Rules.” Whereas the latter veers into an almost desperate self-plea not to give in to temptation and get back with a bad ex, “Dua Lipa doesn’t care on ‘Don’t Start Now.’ She doesn’t care about you, the bad ex-boyfriend who, now, suddenly, seems to care because she’s ‘so moved on it’s scary.’ And she’s dancing with someone else, or at least she could if she wanted,” writes Pitchfork.
“It’s an empowering statement about being stronger than you think. I always want to make music in the hope that people can relate to it. When it’s honest and about real subjects and things that have happened, I feel safer,” Lipa shared in an interview with Apple Music.
Lipa is also known for speaking out about topical issues. She admits this herself in the same interview, saying, “I spoke about like women in Saudi Arabia and the rights and the things that happen or like if I’m supporting different charities and talking about certain things, especially women protesting about women’s rights…it does wind people up. I think that the whole abortion rights as well, that definitely kicked up a fuss…I’m never going to shy away from that and I feel like I have to be a voice for my audience as well because they gave me that platform for that reason.”
This is reflected in the album’s final song, “Boys Will Be Boys,” which walks through the thought process and mental activity women make everyday. “It’s second nature to walk home before the sun goes down / And put your keys between your knuckles when there’s boys around / Isn’t it funny how we laugh it off to hide our fear / When there’s nothing funny here?” she intones, following it up with, “If you’re offended by this song / You’re clearly doing something wrong.”
“Future Nostalgia” has the singer’s signature dance-cry bops (go straight to “Break My Heart” for that), but it also showcases her strengths as a versatile pop artist, and she carries it with such bravado that backs her claim to icon status.