Review: Dua Lipa, Self-Titled Album
The powerhouse vocalist who went from 0-100 real quick with the release of her first studio album.
When speaking about being the opening act for artists, Dua Lipa stated that “you're going to show them what songs you've got. You've got to leave your mark" (Billboard Argentina). Not only has Dua Lipa “left her mark” but she has shown the world after the release of her self-titled debut album that she is here to stay and redefine the way we view pop music forever. Lipa has bombarded mainstream music with her upbeat hits such as “Be the One” and “IDGAF,” but paved the way to stardom with her empowering single “New Rules.” The lyrics of the song are relatable to almost anyone who has been through a bad breakup but mainly caters to the women who have had that one boy who only calls “'cause he’s drunk and alone” and did them dirty. The self-titled album is a smorgasbord of instant jams, party favorites, and soft classics that showcase the talented individual that is Dua Lipa. Her sultry and low yet impressive range is one that will keep you listening to her lyrics on repeat.
The first song on the album, titled “Genesis,” seems very fitting to kick off her career. "Genesis" as a song title represents the birth of something new; something great. What a clever move on Lipa’s part, putting Genesis as the first song on her first album, symbolizing the birth of a star and the birth of an iconic album. We all see what you’re doing here Ms. Lipa, and we applaud you. In addition to her strategic placing of songs on the album, (note: “Last Dance” as the last song), it is also important to see that the second song on the album titled “Lost In Your Light” is not only a dance song with a techno esque beat and relatable lyrics, but one of the only songs on the album with a featured artist. Singer/songwriter Miguel’s silky-smooth vocals are the only noted vocals on the album different from Lipa’s (aside from a tender duet with Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin on “Homesick”). The self-titled album works so well with Dua Lipa’s voice alone that she does not need the features of veteran artists to help her break into the industry on her first album and does it perfectly on her own. Lipa is raw, different and very much herself in the entirety of the album which makes it stand out to listeners: it’s new and unique.
Themes on the album include past relationships and breakups, hope for new love, and female empowerment. Dua Lipa captivates audiences with these themes through love-giddy, electro-pop hits on the album such as “Hotter than Hell,” “Blow your Mind (Mwah),” “Garden,” and “No Goodbyes,” among many more classics. These songs in sequential order on the album never fail to make you bust a move and channel your inner pop queen-self. More notably from the album, however, are the two slower songs titled “Thinking ‘Bout You,” and “Homesick.” Out of the 17 jams on the album, only these two show a vulnerable side of Lipa. Her husky, soulful voice and stunningly emotional lyrics brings listeners into her world of reminiscing and regret that can surely resonate with everyone for one reason or another. She proves to her audience that not only is she a powerhouse vocalist and dance-pop legend, but also has the skills and musicality to show her more emotional side through hauntingly beautiful vocals and instrumentals that will put you in a somber yet reflective mood. The beauty behind it all is that after she makes you feel all the feels with these pretty ballads, she brings you right back to that feel-good mood with bop after bop. For example, directly after “Homesick” starts “New Rules,” and “Begging,” and right after “Thinking ‘Bout You” is “Dreams,” possibly the best comeback from a ballad on the album with a killer beat and breakdown towards the end. Strategic Lipa strikes again.
So, the age old question looms around: where does Dua Lipa go wrong? Well, I can answer this question in two parts. The first part to the answer is that overall, she really doesn’t go wrong at all. And that is truly beautiful. Her first album is very highly regarded and a sneak preview at what she can do as an artist (and she’s only 22)! Not one song is like the other, everything is uniquely great in it’s own way. With that being said, this is where the second part to my answer comes in. After “Dreams” comes “Room for 2,” “New Love,” and “Bad Together.” They aren’t low-quality songs by any means, they are actually quite good. The problem is that all the other songs are just… that good that these three songs seem to be overlooked. I don’t necessarily think this problem is anything that can be fixed, but I just wished the energy that is existent in most of the album held up through those three songs so that I could say with confidence the album is consistent throughout. The energy, however, definitely comes back in “Last Dance.” At the end of the day, however, this one problem does not even begin to take away from the fact that the album is filled with hit after hit, making it the first complete game-changer for pop music in a long time.
Dua Lipa has danced her way to the top of the Billboard charts with a mixture of hits of her own and features on party-smashers such as Martin Garrixs’ “Scared to be Lonely” and Sean Pauls’ “No Lie.” She has claimed the industry with the release of just one album but more importantly has changed pop music for the better. The greatest thing about Dua Lipa is that the best is yet to come. We have not seen the last of her, and I am sure in the upcoming years we will see just as many dance-hits, beautiful ballads and female empowerment through Lipa’s wise words. So, Dua Lipa, congratulations. You have most certainly left your mark.