For Dua Lipa, 2020 started with a puddle of tears and it ended the identical approach. When her second album leaked in April, the singer sobbed her approach by way of an Instagram video explaining that she’d introduced the discharge of Future Nostalgia ahead by per week. She didn’t know if the early days of a pandemic-induced lockdown was the suitable time for a document so closely calibrated for the dancefloor. However she needn’t have anxious: in a yr fraught with nervousness and worry, a shot of future nostalgia was simply the factor.
The album fizzes with coiled power, every of the 11 songs delivering a euphoric excessive over an irresistible beat. The monitor that offers the album its identify incorporates the brassy line: “You need what now seems to be like, let me offer you a style.” It’s true, but it surely’s additionally not – the album owes an amazing debt to the musical previous, nostalgic itself for the costume jewelled glitz of disco and the Day-Glo of 80s powerpop and those that have gone earlier than. Amongst others, it references Olivia Newton-John, flip of the millennium Madonna, Nineteen Thirties bandleader Lew Stone (and by extension, Nineties White City), Nineteen Eighties INXS, Lily Allen and the Who. Deftly cajoling these disparate sounds right into a lithe 43 minutes of pristine club-pop music that does sound extremely now is nothing wanting alchemy.
This hasn’t been a yr for subtlety, and there may be completely no subtext to Future Nostalgia’s songs. They’re brazen of their desires, whether or not that’s for an ex-lover to eat humble pie or a future one to leap her bones. Levitating and Hallucinate skate throughout slinky bass strains and syncopated disco beats, Bodily and Break My Coronary heart invoke occasion highs at the same time as we hear in our residing rooms clad in loungewear or pushing by way of 40 minutes on a cross-trainer. The songs have taken on a really totally different function than their supposed ones. When making the album, Lipa should have had visions of sweaty golf equipment and frantic dancefloors, of drinks spilt and arms enthusiastically flung round one another. The identify alone means that we’d look again on these songs with completely satisfied reminiscences hooked up. However will we ever be nostalgic for 2020?
I believe that Lipa will: 2020 is the yr she turned a pop behemoth. She transcended the “nice look, serviceable songs” field she’d been marketed into and have become considered one of pop’s most fun main gamers: she out Gaga’d Gaga and out Kylie’d Kylie. In late November, greater than 5 million folks tuned in to her Studio 2054 livestream to look at her cavort round London’s Printworks with a gang of dancers and pop company, heavy with product placement, meme-able moments and bookended by large Lipa-helmed model endorsements. It was monumental enjoyable however much less unlawful rave than high-budget college disco, recalling the satire of Josie and the Pussycats and pictures of the Spice Women travelling by way of Occasions Sq. in Spiceworld, their very own gigantic faces grinning down from each billboard. There was no trace of wryness right here: Lipa is making hay whereas the solar shines. And why not, for a pop star who’s been constructing to megastar standing breaking by way of when arenas are closed and golf equipment left darkish?
The tears that bookend the discharge got here final week when Lipa was nominated for six Grammys, together with album of the yr. Future Nostalgia isn’t attempting to make a daring declarations in regards to the state of the world or interact with something past having a great time. If it’s making any assertion, it’s that Lipa is a bloody good pop star. She may solely have made it to second place in our listing, however make no mistake: 2020 was Dua Lipa’s yr.