Future Nostalgia is an Empowering, Uplifting Album

Dua Lipa's second album will leave listeners in awe

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Source: Gatefold Records

Dua Lipa's second album Future Nostalgia may be short but speaks volumes through its clever lyrics about female empowerment.

Avery Marr

English singer and songwriter Dua Lipa released her second studio album Future Nostalgia on March 27 to a lot of fanfare. After she rocketed to the top of the charts with “New Rules” of her self-titled first album and won the 2019 Grammy for best new artist, fans and critics alike had high expectations for her sophomore effort. Fortunately, Dua Lipa hits home with this release.

While only 37 minutes long, Future Nostalgia is a thoughtful effort meant to inspire and empower women. Dua Lipa began writing the songs for this album after a particularly difficult breakup. This is the theme of the first song on the album, “Future Nostalgia,” where she speaks about ending a chapter and moving on from her recent breakup. Several of the songs on the album that follow touch on how women need to grow beyond being defined by their relationships with men and how women need to fight against sex discrimination.

This isn’t to say that  Dua Lipa has gotten preachy–she is still firmly entrenched in the pop genre and all of her songs showcase a fun and uplifting beat. The perfect example of this is the second track of the album and it’s first single “Don’t Start Now.” This song became popular on the app Tik Tok and for good reason: “Don’t Start Now” is one of the catchiest songs on the album, with a great dance beat and soaring vocals. While it is a great party song, it also carries through a message of female empowerment in the lyrics: “Aren’t you the guy who tried to hurt me with the word goodbye?/Though it took some time to survive you, I’m better on the other side.” It may be the most fun breakup song ever.

The next few songs double down on the club sound of the first two songs. “Cool,” “Physical,” “Levitating,” and “Pretty Please.” The pace is rapid and I couldn’t help but dance when I heard them. Between these four songs, “Physical” has to be my favorite: the use of percussion and rhythm reminds me of The Weeknd–I wouldn’t be surprised if she releases this as a single soon. Meanwhile, “Levitating” gives off a Katy Perry vibe and sounds like her early albums. Here, Dua Lipa’s sound starts to become a little flat and dated, but the clever lyrics and great beat save these songs from being boring.

Dua Lipa gets a little more serious with her next four tracks, “Hallucinate,” “Love Again,” “Break My Heart,” and “Good in Bed.” “Break My Heart” already has a lot of traction on Tik Tok for its catchy and uplifting chorus. Yet the song itself is a struggle between falling in love and knowing the person is bad for you (“Am I falling in love with the one that could break my heart?”). It’s counterpoint is “Hallucinate,” an airy and energetic song backed by a synth and bass guitar that would make Daft Punk jealous. “Hallucinate” is about giving oneself into love completely even while realizing it’s a foolish. The struggle of “Break Your Heart” is over–love wins.

Dua Lipa doubles down on this feminist message in the last song, “Boys Will Be Boys.” This song definitely deserves more attention: “Boys Will Be Boys” takes an unflinching look at how assault and rape culture is ignored by our society. With a driving beat and lyrics like “It’s second nature to walk home before the sun goes down / And put your keys between your knuckles when there’s boys around,” Dua Lipa powerfully verbalizes the fear most women have of being harassed by men for no reason. Her lyrics are able to make the song haunting without diverging from her usual sound–while most artists would have made this song slow and ethereal, but Dua Lipa uses a backing chorus and a powerful strings and piano to keep the energy up despite the series topic. The song is bold–the lyrics literally say “If you’re offended by this song / You’re clearly doin’ somethin’ wrong”–and it pays off, ending the album on a satisfying and important message.

I cannot recommend this album enough. It is not just catchy and energetic but has a strong and important message for women. While her songs are very dance pop, they are so well composed that almost anyone will enjoy the aalbum if they give it a try. If you are in need of an album to get you through quarantine, check out Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa.