REVIEW: Future Nostalgia

Around the time I first listened to this album, I saw this article discussing Dua Lipa’s 80s inspiration for the music video to her song “Physical.” That same modernized 80s feel is easy to see in the rest of her latest album, Future Nostalgia. Every song has the bright percussive beat, rounded guitar plucks, and electronic effects similar to those found in classic 80s songs. Similarly, there is little dissonance in the chords, giving the songs a welcoming, sunny feel. This is probably a good part of why I like this album so much. It evokes the same feeling as the actual 80s music that is my go-to for comfort food in music form. As I discovered while writing my review for Niall Horan’s album Heartbreak Weather (the title song of which, incidentally, was also featured in the article I mentioned above – I’ve clearly got a type), the presence of a moving base line also makes a major difference in my enjoyment of a song, and I can hear that in her songs. Her use of backing strings, perhaps most clearly seen in “Love Again,” provides added depth to the music. Musically, the songs in this album are all unique creations. They evoke this nostalgic, familiar feeling, yet the melodies and chord progressions are not generic at all. The songs surprise me as they develop, which makes the listening experience exciting.

I don’t have too much to say about the lyrics, since that’s not usually my focal point in music, but there are occasional phrases where she hits the nail on the head perfectly: for example, “I don’t wanna live another life, ’cause this one’s pretty nice,” she sings in “Physical.” Similarly, the song “Boys Will Be Boys” (though its martial music and social message seem out of place when the rest of the album is about the thrill of romance) is a concisely written summary of the still-daily struggles women live through, encapsulated in lyrics like “It’s second nature to…put your keys between your knuckles, when there’s boys around.”

My favorite part of the album, though, is the fact that all its songs are danceable. That, of course, is a function of the musical elements I wrote about above, but it’s worth a separate mention that the songs on Future Nostalgia make it impossible to listen passively. Like any 80s pop anthem worth its salt, these songs will make you want to move with them, even if you’re just sitting at your desk.

Neha Srinivasan

I'm a landscape architecture master's student who's doing her best not to loathe her design software. When I'm not designing (what a broad word), I'm probably reading, listening to music, dancing Brazilian Zouk, or talking to my houseplants.

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