After a few enormous hits and two enormous delays, Britpop’s new ‘it’ girl Dua Lipa has finally shared her self-titled debut album. But was Dua Lipa worth the wait? Well, yes and no – depending on the context.
From a business perspective, the delay should definitely pay off. Dua’s profile has raised astronomically since the initial September 2016 release date, thanks to inescapably big collabs with Sean Paul and Martin Garrix and her own solo hits, certifying the 21 year old as a sure-fire hitmaker; it’s not just the sassy Internet gays checking for her music anymore.
In terms of the actual music itself though? Not so much. A dizzying six singles plus two additional promotional singles means a meaty chunk of the album had already been thoroughly digested well in advance. Indirectly, this put a lot of pressure on the remainder of Dua Lipa’s material to be as incredible as all of the hits which broke the Brit into the mainstream consciousness throughout 2016. But, honestly – it isn’t.
Dua Lipa‘s album material is not dreadful, but expectations were simply not met; after a nine month wait and five out of the six singles being phenomenal, Dua Lipa‘s new material falls flat. The problem lies in the fact that much of Dua Lipa loses the uniqueness Dua was coated in, back in 2015. The shiniest standouts are Dua‘s debut single “New Love” (outrageously relegated to the dreaded deluxe edition) and “Be the One” – both of which we heard two years ago. Miraculously, both still sound as fresh as they did in 2015, and “Be the One”’s sleeper success is a pop music fairy tale. But since then, the delays seem to have diminished Dua‘s sound to more generic offerings, with the six singles in particular embodying this.
The soulful elegance of “New Love”, breezy pop brilliance of “Be the One” and indie pop rhythms of “Last Dance” pale in comparison to the more radio-ready tropical dance sounds of “Hotter Than Hell”, Britneyfied “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” and the droning and unadventurous “Lost In Your Light”. The same can be said of Dua Lipa’s album tracks; “New Rules” and “Bad Together” show the personality and truthfulness she hoped to achieve, and while cuts like “Garden” and “No Goodbyes” are obviously heartfelt, they are also generic snoozers. “IDGAF” is almost certainly the type of material Selena Gomez would be forced to record in a calculated attempt to rebrand her as an “edgy” recording personality.
While Dua’s sound depreciated since the 2015 debut, her vocals definitely haven’t. The unwavering distinctiveness of her strikingly raspy singing voice is the true heart of Dua Lipa, and one which will sound fantastic on the inevitably more unique music to come later in Dua Lipa‘s fruitful career.