Future Nostalgia- Dua Lipa Album Review

Dua Lipa’s sophomore album delivers in some aspects, while failing to be truly inventive or boundary pushing.

Tap through a few Instagram stories and you’ll most likely see a bevy of Spotify shares of the new Dua Lipa album Future Nostalgia. After listening it’s no surprise why, Future Nostalgia is the kind of music everyone can get behind, the throwback instrumentals and non offensive vocals make for perfect playlist fodder. That’s not to dismiss the album entirely though, Dua Lipa’s commitment to the 80’s synth pop aesthetic both in sound and in looks is commendable. The use of these song styles makes for a much more enjoyable album than most mainstream pop in the 2010s. The best moments on Future Nostalgia come when these sounds are fully fleshed our like “Physical” and “Levitating”. The worst moments come when she disregards then 80s aesthetic for generic pop, which is exactly what happens on the penultimate song “Good In Bed.” The problems on this song extend past the instrumental though, the lyrics are painfully corny and fail to deliver the sexy tone they were written to achieve. She seems to abandon her strengths once more on the closer track “Boys Will Be Boys,”where Dua Lipa tries her hand at some woke pop that comes off so lifeless it hurts.

Dua Lipa’s musical style usually balances her softer more flat vocal performances with entertaining instrumentals. For me personally, there are spots on the album where those flat vocals are just too lifeless to be entertaining, namely the opening track. Most of the positive reception around Future Nostalgia tends to stem from the 80s sound that it was built around, and while I appreciate the throwback sound and I think it leads to some good songwriting, there is not anything terribly unique or inventive happening here. The 80s revival has been done to death in pop by albums that did it well like Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION and others that didn’t do it so well like Taylor Swift’s 1989. Dua Lipa is just not bringing anything new to the sound besides tricking casual music fans into thinking its inventive. It may seem like I’m being overly negative but that stems from the amount of hype this album had going for it, my disappoint was compounded by that. There is praise to be had here and there, mainly in the album’s commitment to a singular aesthetic or how it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at just 11 solid tracks, but Future Nostalgia is nothing to remember for years to come even if there is some fun to be had while listening to it.

6.5/10

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