A leak brought forward the release of Dua Lipa’s second album. Lady Gaga’s forthcoming LP Chromatica, by contrast, has been delayed in response to coronavirus. A cordon sanitaire should exist between the two, because Future Nostalgia is a pop behemoth, one that frequently recalls peak Gaga and any number of proven hitmakers.
If the album’s title makes the bold claim that records-to-be will hark back to the second outing of this “female alpha” as a high-water mark, the British-Kosovan singer has actually succeeded in audaciously mulching several decades of party music into an album so relentless it doubles as a playlist.
There are no tiresome ballads to curtail the female-positive forward motion, just an acerbic outro, Boys Will Be Boys, that mourns how girls grow up too fast. Big, obvious disco and 80s tropes loom large everywhere, notably on pre-album bangers such as Don’t Start Now or Physical.
Elsewhere, aggressive basslines worm along and beats slap hard on Hallucinate, violins scythe mercilessly and cowbells clang. Best of all is the impeccably produced Pretty Please, where Dua Lipa pleads with a lover to stay, because he slows down the whirring of her mind. Her vocal is giddy and half-rapped, then it slows down to a sultry coo.