The cover art of Dua Lipa’s new album Future Nostalgia is evocative of the Art Deco painting ‘Autoportrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti)’ by Tamara de Lempicka from 1929, originally commissioned to celebrate female independence and empowerment. As Lipa sits behind the wheel of a retro car she looks cool and in control.
And it’s an confident album. ‘Don’t Start Now’ is a brilliant fuck-you to your ex song with the refrain “If you don’t want to see me dancing with somebody… Don’t show up”, with echoes of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and a bit of bisexual flirtation. ‘Future Nostalgia’ is a song for all the ‘female alphas’ out there and ‘Physical’ is a perfect song to do cardio to.
Dua Lipa’s also not afraid to get political with tracks like ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ which addresses the double standard young women and men are held up to with its anthemic refrain, “Boys will be, boys will be boys / But girls will be women”. The opening lines recall walking to your front door with your keys in your fist, in case of a sudden attack; “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 nothin’ funny here.” It’s a fitting song for such an empowering album. Hopefully it makes the girls and women listening walk a little taller and call out the men in their lives a little sooner.
Every moment of the album is tightly produced, though the sample on ‘Love Again’ is rather distracting, encouraging unfair comparisons with the marvellous one-hit-wonder ‘Your Woman’ by White Town from 1997, which uses the same muted trumpet line. Still, it’s a powerhouse of a song and you can feel your adrenaline rising with the opening strings. A perfect pre-drinks album when we can finally go out clubbing again, and a great work-out one in the meantime.
Check out the video to ‘Hallucinate’ too:
Words: Ana Hine