Dua Lipa – Pop Music’s Next Hit Songstress?


Dua Lipa
“New Rules” by UK artist Dua Lipa hit the airwaves on July 21st, 2017 and quickly gained traction in the UK and the US. The track details a list of rules to avoid the traps of a former boyfriend and is all about female empowerment and getting over a bad breakup. The music video for “New Rules” has amassed over 450 million views and even furthers the song’s message with the added themes of the importance of women working together and supporting each other. Dua Lipa was mildly unknown by most music fans before “New Rules” was released, which was in fact the sixth single from her debut studio album. After suggestions from a few friends to listen to New Rules, and seeing her all over social media accounts from music fans with similar tastes as myself, I decided to give the deluxe version of Dua Lipa’s self-titled album a try.

“Genesis” , the very first song on the album, serves as a true introduction to the artist and what she’s all about. It opens with, “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. For what it’s worth, I think that he might’ve created you first”, providing the first of many Biblical references throughout the album. After hearing her sing these first few lines, I immediately stopped the song and started it from the beginning, because she surprisingly sings these verses with a deep voice. After that moment, I knew this would be one of my favorite songs on the album. It repeatedly referenced themes of forgiveness and new beginnings in a clearly struggling relationship. When the song ended, I was excited to continue listening and had high hopes for the rest of the album. Unfortunately, most of those hopes fell flat once the album concluded.

Self-titled albums are supposed to be the most personal and emotionally hard hitting albums of an artist’s career, but this one was just nothing like that. Each song on the album was about the same thing; a guy, or some turbulent relationship. Now I normally wouldn’t have a problem with that, but she explicitly came out and said, “This album is me. It’s a pure representation of who I am as a person and as an artist”, and that sadly isn’t conveyed in most of the music. Every other song on the album sounded the same, minus the strangely out of place “Homesick”, a piano ballad featuring background vocals from Chris Martin, the lead singer of the band Coldplay. Certain parts of the album feel way too over-calculated and reach too desperately for the charts. The radio is already filled with old Disney stars, Chainsmokers, and past boy band members. Their increasingly electronically produced sound and anthems about partying aren’t helping distinguish themselves from each other at all. But that partially isn’t the artists’ fault. Thanks to music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the music industry is becoming less and less lucrative for new artists, giving major record labels more incentive to only capitalize on what’s popular and not take as many risks.

Now that I’ve gotten my major problems with the album out of the way, it might sound like I hate this album, but I really don’t. Over time, I’ve actually grown to like it and respect it’s ambition. Certain entries like “Be The One”, a bouncy, mid-tempo song about having the strength to fight for what you want, with vocals likened to Sia, and “Room for Two”a curiously appealing and monotone R&B influenced track about fate catching up with an unreasonable lover, showcase Lipa’s various vocal abilities. There are also more empowerment anthems featured on the album, like “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” and “Hotter Than Hell”fitting considering she recently performed at Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival. Although some of the album’s Biblical theming is neglected, “Garden” exemplifies it by focusing on a rapidly failing relationship that was once as adventurous and pure as the Garden of Eden and connects to “Genesis”, the album’s opening track. The UK artist also does some experimentation with “Dreams”building up the song’s potential with hypnotic verses that are blared and layered, until she just flat out yells, “You love me like yeah, yeah. You love me right, oh yeah” in more reverberated tones.

Overall, her album is a decent endeavor for an up and coming pop artist. Every song tries to cater to different popular music tastes, which guarantees it to have at least one hit song, but also hurts the album as a whole in result. The true standout of this album is definitely Lipa’s voice. Her bold and powerful voice carries a lot of songs that would’ve flopped in other hands and turned average pop into anthems for the heartbroken.