1. Track List (93)

Dua Lipa (Deluxe) Is The Album That Liberates Pop From Years Of Mediocrity, Due To Lipa’s Ability To Nail Precise Sounds And Styles

taylor
Written by taylor
/ 11 mins read

I don’t have much of a personal story related to Dua Lipa, but a couple observations. Such as – when she first hit the scene, I was immediately struck, not by her absolute beauty, but by the fact that she had brown hair. Not colored blonde or seafoam rainbow. But natural. And what else was natural, besides her look, was her voice. Not even the faintest wobble of autotune support. Just raw soul laden over Pop tracks. I assumed this breath of fresh air would somehow dissipate in popularity for some trivial reason, and above all, I assumed in a cynical fashion that the very young singer would not have much more depth than the couple of singles that I had heard. Boy, was I wrong, as song after song, there was something very ‘old head’ about the girl, like she had actually physically experienced the various music scenes that all had their heyday before she was born. What’s more, these weren’t simply retro takes, but rather brand new patches freshly stitched into a rich sonic quilt. More than just another Synth Pop song or piece of Tropical EDM Pop with no sense of musical possibility, a New Wave brilliance of romance and funk shape a clear bop called “Genesis”, priming me for the precision sound of the whole album with this first track. There are tons of older New Wave influences throughout, recalling the sound of Prince collaborators Andre Cymone and Jessie Johnson, or Prince himself for that matter, but even in this, there is an appeal to contemporary Pop convention which help cement Dua Lipa’s mass appeal too – ultimately though, Dua Lipa is a perfectionist and well versed in the multiverse of sounds and influences that are just begging to be incorporated into new Pop music by the ones willing to take risks. Even “New Rules”, arguably the most popular song on the album, is risky, because in many places, the formulaic elements present could have taken over, yet instead, the song serves as an introduction to a whole world of trippy beats and funky tricks. Lipa in my opinion is the best Pop Artist in the industry now, and her strengths are not one-note; she simply can’t be summed up by lines like ‘oh, she is so soulful’ or ‘oh, she understands real House music’ or ‘oh, she knows how to make Reggae Fusion not sound so typical.’ Rather, I have a theory that any style of music would be fair game for such a keen musical mind.

A Keen Musical Mind Approaches All Genres With The Same Passion

While it’s hard to pick a favorite song on an album chock full of multi-genre bangers, I will just have to rely on my goosebump meter, and no other song gives me a body high quite like the hyper romance and synthetic Pop perfection of “Lost in Your Light.” It completely arrests me, seeps into me, and it all starts with the sophisticated choice of chords used, that serve as the beating heart of the whole song which never ceases to be compelling or redundant. The actual motoring sound of the synth used is some of the best in the business, but what especially makes this song stand out is the laid back yet aching delivery of both Dua Lipa and Miguel’s voices, whether they sing languidly on the verses, or stretch out their words on the chorus, making sure to add compellingly haunted notes here and there to break up the melody and ensure that it is a track that is eternally re-listenable. For me at least, this was the Pop song of the year, and one of the most romantic things I have ever heard. “Hotter Than Hell” finds Lipa applying one of her most rockin’ versions of her vocals, approaching a lot of the same flavor that Miley Cyrus often exhibits, and here, she nails the vocals in a belt-out-to-the-sky way. Minimizing the epic-ness of her voice somewhat is the fact that, while the song is appropriately loud in all the proper places, and heavy hitting on the toms and bass drum, it is quite typical of the genre. Switch this out for Alessia Cara’s “Wild Things”, and it is basically the same vibe. “Be the One” continues the all encompassing sound of love exhibited on “Lost in Your Light”, with only the best synth and vocal reverb being applied, as Lipa sings in a far off way which makes you want to seek her out in the middle of whatever ethereal environment her siren call emanates from – and likewise, she is also searching for something intangible – someone who sees red when she sees blue, and it is her hope that she can be his ‘one’, hoping that their opposite qualities will attract.

This Megastar Pivots From Chart Topping Dance Songs To Sultry R&B Like It’s Nothing

“IDGAF” has a child-like harmony to it, already made most popular in recent years by artists ZEDD and Sia, yet the hook here is decidedly more of a Lipa version, as with the accompanying beat, the sound leans more towards the odd and original. I like how the guitar line is languid and syncopated, while the other rhythms seem to be going at brisker rate, with everything tied together by the occasional piano rhythm creeping in and out. Though the beat is a concussive boom clap one, as one can tell by the choreography displayed in the video, this can be a dance song, though I generally feel it leans more toward Alt Rock and head nodding. It’s interesting how today’s Soul music is actually run by Brit artists, though we would never know it, as they copy American accents. “Blow Your Mind (MWAH)” is one of the few songs where Dua Lipa allows her London accent, tinged with a Caribbean patois, to come through on the verses, yet by the time of the big hook, it is decidedly Chicago House Vocals and an infectious booming dance beat. “Garden” is one of several marching beats on this album, and probably the most boring of all, and the song is not really improved by the mixing in of Reggae Fusion rhythm. Cool little digital dub effects give color and some excitement, though I would say this is a sort of flat ballad. The only thing that stands out for me is that Lipa sings with the same attitude and inflection as Annie Lennox here. “No Goodbyes” is the very typical Pop Love ballad replete with pounding toms and the Shangri-La’s late drum hits, and honestly, because it sounds so close to other Pop acts’ material, a song like this simply doesn’t move me, yet, even this track benefits from Lipa’s sense of style and innovation, where there is nice piano section which is unexpected, underscored by these cool faint guitar line rhythms that remind me of the robbery scene soundtrack in the movie Heat. On “Thinking ‘Bout You’ I am mesmerized by the raw rasp and soulful vibrato that this singer can produce, and especially love the little emotive ‘yips’ and ‘squeaks’ at the end of certain words, while the acoustic here is supersized by little odd melodic notes and ultimately a hard R&B beat – allowing Lipa to channel Lauryn Hill’s desperate aching emotion in several bittersweet areas. “New Rules” is easily the most famous song on the whole album, and is one of the oddest Dance Pop songs to come out in years – containing all of the bubblegum production of a Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, except it is so much more challenging in every way. Starting off as a list-styled song where the rules to keep an ex at bay is supposed to mirror a countdown to the break, this part of the song is almost designed to sound wonky if you will – and absolutely, if the song was nothing more than this Egyptian Lover type melody line, I would have ended up hating it, yet flipping the song upside down, at the end of this countdown, instead of a straightforward beat, we are blessed instead with a tripped up, behind the beat fill which throws the explosive downbeat of the hook off in a super funky way – slapping the listener in the face and motivating them to actually dance they’re ass off in a more excited, skippy way than what a typical four on the floor beat could have achieved.

A Phenomenal Portfolio Of Work Makes Me Impatient For Her Sophomore Album

Something about Dua Lipa’s vocal uniqueness really comes through on “Begging” – and where I find a bazillion other female artists tend to mimic each other with a couple obvious similarities such as over breathiness and out of the nose moaning, Lipa’s just doesn’t contain any of that trickery for me, as she can hit any place she sends her voice, adding a little lilt here and there for style – and not because she lacks the resources to close her delivery. “Begging” also shows off how styling’ both Lipa and her production team are, as a track that could have been dull and too-simple-too follow is energized by an unpredictable yet attractive dance rhythm, mixing hi-tech sounds with jumpy funk that could have accompanied either a Chaka Khan or Nu Shooz song from the mid eighties. “Homesick” is a final song that is soft and warm, showcasing high notes from Dua Lipa what show her range can move beyond low and husky vocals. The reverb here is present but not overdone, and the simplicity of a piano and two voices harmonizing (thanks to guest Chris Martin) is sometimes all you need to translate such emotions; “when I'm walking on water / all my dreams have come true / still, nothing means nothing / without you, you.” Here, Lipa is explaining to us that even after accomplishing fame and success, there is an emptiness in her life that is tied to a lover and his location. Though the word ‘homesick’ is not mentioned, the idea of a couple and a life together in some familiar hometown is what the mind conjures up. Bonus songs that actually feel like bonuses are a rarity these days, yet each of the 5 new songs included here on Dua Lipa (Deluxe) are stellar, and quite distinct from each other to boot. “Dreams” is a sultry and soulful Diva House techno number, initially mixing a nineties New York vibe with Euro Dance, yet then out of nowhere, the song switches to an equally effective Reggae Fusion rhythm. I am both fascinated and thrilled by this seamless transition, but this achievement comes as small surprise, as Londoners have always been some of the most attuned artists at mixing several electronica trends on one track. “Dreams” is exactly the eclectic style of dance song which London Braxton duo Basement Jaxx is famous for producing, which is probably why I respond especially well to it. “Room for 2” is a hazy and freakin’ sexy downtempo march, which thankfully doesn’t stick eternally to it’s layered tempo, deciding to take out lots of the instrumental elements out during the measure part to just focus on Lipa’s hypnotic delivery and a very melodic bump of the bass-line – managing to also fit in a piano-noted bridge. With “New Love”, this additional downtempo march has me worried that it will be the same concept repeated, yet this song has a digital ace up its sleeve, hitting ridiculously emotional chords that cascade with synth while Lipa applies such a low and soulful voicing. “Bad Together” keeps things moving with explosive sound design, especially on the orchestra hits, and while there is a similarity here with the energy and melody line of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”, it is subtle one – and besides, this song is more moody, reliant on a busy Trap based back beat rather than the bubbly club one. The last song is appropriately called “Last Dance” and it is a tribal House beat that is noticeable because of its 808 bass line, definitely designed for girls rolling to a Miami night club. With that, the album is finished and a complete success, with tons of replay value. By the time I play this one out though, it will probably be about time to hear her next highly anticipated album, which she says will be influenced by Prince – which is the perfect sonic lane for her, as she understands the various tones that made his music so haunting, funky, and catchy at the same time.

3. Official (16)

4. Audio (91)

5. Live (214)

6. Featuring Remixes (359)

7. Albums (15)

8. News (52)

9. Covers (518)

11. Similar Artists (14)

12. Artist Info

About

Dua Lipa (/ˈduːə ˈliːpə/; born 22 August 1995) is an English singer and songwriter. After signing with Warner Music Group in 2015, she soon released her first single "New Love".
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Born

    1995-08-22

Active

    2015–present

Label

  • Warner Bros.
  • Vertigo