Dua Lipa, is a young woman who’s just two years older than I am. Like many of us young people, she had a shit ton of experiences that has molded her present, and will continue to shape her future. Compared to her previous works, we see that she has undergone heartbreak and that now she is healing from that, in this album. Our pop radio queen, is falling in love again and I’m here for it, bitch!
Bops for the Club (that we can’t enjoy, due to Miss Rona)
The third overall promotional single for the album, is a clear-cut bop for the dance-floor. Physical speaks to Dua’s newfound love and how their experience is unlike any other. We see this in her opening words “common love isn’t for us, we created something phenomenal” and honestly, that’s what this song is- phenomenal. Physical invokes a wanting to get up, go out (not in this time of course), dance and probably even get physical (wink wink).
Keeping up with the high energy of its sister song Physical, Dua tells us how this new love of hers is making her feel as if she is, well, levitating. Whoever this man is, she is really feeling him and what can I say? I’m happy for her! By using astronomical metaphors, she lyrically illustrates – just like in Physical – that this isn’t your average love. You can see for yourself below:
I got you, moonlight, you’re my starlight,
I need you, all night,
Come on, dance with me,
Undoubtedly, this is a smash hit right here. Although it is placed one song below Levitating, Hallucinate, continues the high energy of sister song. However, instead of hovering due to love, Dua is seemingly losing her mind whenever he calls her name. A key difference between the songs is that here, Dua is letting him know that she can control the relationship and manipulate him to get what she wants, but she decides not to:
Body make you silly, make you do what I want
Oh, baby, I can make it pretty, I could string you along
But I’ma love you like a fool
Breathe you in, till I hallucinate (Mm, mm)
She decides not to go that route for the relationship, as her feelings for him are too strong. Dua compares her love, her interactions with him, and the man himself, to doing drugs (stay away from drugs, kids). Homegirl is legit head-over-heels for him as she can’t get enough.
I’m seeing where Hallucinate attempts to showcase a clingy side of Dua as well; one that is not found in the sister song, Levitating.
Don’t Start Now
In 2017, Dua blessed our ears and hips, with New Rules. In that song, she lists new rules (well, duh) that she follows to emotionally navigate a rough relationship, towards growth. Don’t Start Now, seems to catalog the second part of this growth process. Dua has (scarily) moved on quickly, and is now out and about. She tells this ex-lover of hers to stay at home if he doesn’t want to see her at events, because she doesn’t care what he thinks anymore.
This bop, is one of empowerment for anyone who has been weighed down by the chains of a toxic relationship, and I am here for it.
A title track that I love! In December 2019, Dua decided to shook us further, by releasing this track as a single. Miss Lipa says listen, I’m going to shake shit up and huknee, she did just that. She asserts her bad bitch persona in this track and I- i have to stan!
You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game,
Like modern architecture, John Lautner coming your way,
I know you like this beat ’cause Jeff been doing the damn thing,
You wanna turn it up loud, future nostalgia is the name
By comparing herself to a 20th century genius who revolutionized modern architecture, she’s letting us know that this album, which is a blend of old musical elements such as disco, funk, and electronic, with nowadays pop- is the new wave. You best believe, Dua is riding it high.
Essentially, this title track is a self-conscious bop, that is setting high expectations for the album.
Break My Heart
At this point, it is evident that Dua prides herself in being conscious of her actions and is able to notice when things are going wrong. After experiencing love and good feelings in Physical & Levitating, she slows it down and starts to think if everything is as well as it seems. Dua begins to question if she is falling for someone who will put her back at square one, that being the Dua in New Rules & IDGAF.
This is important as oftentimes, many of us get so carried away with euphoria, that we are unable to spot any red flags that announce impending doom. Thankfully, Dua’s doing just that with Break My Heart.
Good in Bed
Our last club bop, is Good in Bed. Here, we learn that she is in a toxic relationship (again) and that they are unable to communicate well. Dua says its sad (sad, sad) that they drive each other mad (mad, mad), but apparently, that’s what makes them good in bed, LOL. The chorus is mainly those lines, by the way. Very catchy, but also worrisome.
Certainly, I think we all can relate to this. A relationship where, it’s not the best…but the sex is good. If only you two could work things out and just talk, things would be better. But, alas.
Songs to vibe to/Evoke feelings (these have us feelin’ some type a way)
This seems to be a few of my friends’ fave! Cool is a banger from start to finish, with a focus of not being so much a club bop, but a closer to home, feelsy type of song. Now, don’t get me wrong, a few of the songs in the category above do touch this category as well, but their beats are more oriented towards the dance floor, than these are.
With Cool, Dua lets us know that this newfound love has her changing and acting like what seems to be a fool, as she is losing her cool. I smile whenever I hear these lines in the song, as it has me picturing Dua as a school girl failing to maintain her composure every time her crush walks by. Cool certainly does a good job in showcasing a more playful side to her.
Also, this song starts her storytelling of how she’s falling in love again, post heartbreak.
It’s hard to love again (pun intended) after a breakup; we’ve all been there, and so has Dua. Playing after Hallucinate, Love Again does a perfect job in expressing how love is changing her for the better, whilst also recounting the pain that she has experienced in the past. This is seen in the opening lines:
I never thought that I would find a way out
I never thought I’d hear my heartbeat so loud
I can’t believe there’s something left in my chest anymore
But God damn, you got me in love again
I used to think that I was made out of stone
I used to spend so many nights on my own
I never knew I had it in me to dance anymore
Here, a refreshing feeling of hope, licks [hits] Dua for six (Jamaican domino game reference) that comes after her despair. Such a feeling, is one that I am familiar with. Breakups are hard, and as a Psychology major, I can tell you a number of reasons why. I can agree with Dua, that, when you find the right someone, it can surprise you and change your whole perspective on life. She has become hopeful for the what the future holds, and is happy that this person, has reinvigorated a feeling that has long been dead within her.
Now that Dua has the man, she needs to make sure that he gives her all the attention and loving she needs. She lets him know that even though she may seem stressed out and even frustrated, she’s fine and happy that he’s there with her. Essentially, she just wants some lovin’ and she seems to be getting just that. When you have that special someone who can stop your overthinking, make the world pause and drown the voices out, it’s a euphoric sensation that words really fail to describe.
She neatly places this song between sisters Levitating and Hallucinating, as the emotions she expresses here, act as a bridge between the ones expressed in those two.
Boys Will Be Boys
Dua closes us out with not so much of a bop, but a conscious, emotionally-filled message that showcases her feminism, yet again (the title track being the first). She sings about her experiences growing up as a girl, having to be afraid to be out in the dark. She further asserts that she had to place her keys between her knuckles when walking home from the bus-stop, as she readied her defenses.
This absolutely broke my heart as I could not believe that she and undoubtedly, many other young girls, have experienced this and probably continue to! In our current political and social climates, where women are being more vocal about their experiences with toxic men, this song joins that conversation.
Dua’s aim, is not to call out anyone or to point fingers. Instead, she wants to add to the conversation about how boys and men, make girls and women feel uncomfortable and downright unsafe. She wishes to educate young boys on this topic, whilst being a figure of solidarity to let other girls and women know that she has been through it herself.
Dua’s newfound love experience, is almost child-like. Which, in truth, it is because she is 24! To put things into perspective, she says in Boys Will Be Boys that “girls will be women”. She has been forced to adapt and mature in response to these experiences and I am sure they have had their tolls on her. Thankfully, she persists and metamorphoses into a beautiful and smart young woman. One capable of forgiveness, understanding, self-love and giving new experiences a try.
Future Nostalgia, sonically depicts Dua’s transcendence from heartbreak, to her giving love a second chance. Our baby girl is pretty much becoming the embodiment of the heart-eye emoji -> 😍. Thus, her brain is like “hol’ up, wait a minute!” (kudos you know this reference LOL) which leads to her questioning if everything is alright and if she’s about to don her clown makeup yet again. The mature elements of the album, that can be found in the songs Pretty Please, Good in Bed and Physical, showcase her blossoming adulthood and how she isn’t afraid to display this side of her- the sexual Dua Lipa.
Honestly, I only wish the album was 2-3 songs longer. I can see that Dua was able to express all she possibly could, in her life currently, as she finished recording in February 2020. Maybe we will get a deluxe edition later this year or next year? Who knows; I won’t be greedy.
Future Nostalgia is a wonderful body of work that has helped its listeners in this dark time of COVID-19. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Dua Lipa.