Dua Lipa, Dua Lipa | Album Review
Under appreciated for much of 2017, English-Albanian pop star Dua Lipa drops a stellar, self-titled, debut album comprised of much more than smash single “New Rules.”
Up-and-coming English-Albanian pop star Dua Lipa seemed to come out of nowhere in 2017. For most of the year, unfortunately, she wasn’t on the radar. Why exactly? That’s a good question. For whatever reason, it took infectious single “New Rules” – among the best songs of 2017 – to bring attention to the star and her magnificent, self-titled debut album. It shouldn’t have taken that long though – Dua Lipa is special.
“Genesis” commences the album remarkably. Dua Lipa showcases her husky, robust pipes in all their nuanced, soulful glory. As superb as she sounds in her lower register on the verses, she’s equally bright ascending into her upper register on the memorable chorus.
“I need your love / And I’m dying for the rush / ‘Cause my heart ain’t got enough / I need your touch / This is getting serious / Tell me that it’s not the end of us.”
Miguel provides a fantastic assist on the danceable, electro-urban-pop thriller “Lost in Your Light.” Once more, Lipa flaunts her prodigious pipes. Besides strong vocal performances, the chorus, once again, is a selling point. “Hotter Than Hell,” another production victory, is anchored by a thudding four-on-the-floor beat (early-on) and sleek synths. Vocally, she’s is in her zone, showcasing her rich lower register on the verses, and growing more gritty and powerful on the chorus.
“Be the One” maintains the intrigue of Dua Lipa, delivering another consistent, soundly executed performance and song. It’s catchy, bursting with exuberance, and soundly executed by all means.
The attitude and feistiness is amped up to the nth degree on “IDGAF,” which stands for exactly what you think it does: I don’t give a f**k. Dua Lipa “don’t need your love.” She retains a badass, I.D.G.A.F. attitude on infectious single “Blow Your Mind (Mwah).” On the chorus, she ‘matter of factly’ sings:
“If you don’t like the way I talk, then why am I on your mind? / If you don’t like the way I rock, then finish your glass of wine / We fight and we argue, you’ll still love me blind / If we don’t f**k this whole thing up / Guaranteed, I can blow your mind / Mwah!”
After keeping things quick, “Garden” slackens the pace a bit. This is no slow-jam but rather, a mid-tempo ballad. Still, it’s propelled by rhythmic drum programming. Dua Lipa flaunts expressive, powerful pipes on yet another impressive chorus. On “No Goodbyes,” the formula is much the same – verses that build up to a terrific chorus. “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” reminisces back to the contemporary R&B sound of the 90s and early 00s. You can totally envision Toni Braxton singing this one – Dua Lipa definitely has a voice with a similar tone and qualities.
On fierce hit single “New Rules,” Dua Lipa refuses to reconcile with or be ‘done wrong’ by an ex, no matter how tempting it is. To prevent this from happening, she’s set “new rules” for how things are going to roll. Regardless whether you’re a man or woman, this girl-power anthem is simply too good and too fun to resist.
Following up a juggernaut like “New Rules” is tough. Nonetheless, as she’s done consistently throughout Dua Lipa, she continues to shine. This time the winning performance comes by way of “Begging.” It doesn’t supersede the gems that precede it, but gives the pop singer another solid, enjoyable moment. “Homesick” concludes the standard edition of the album beautifully. It’s a radiant, kinder, gentler ballad. The deluxe edition ups the ante, adding five more songs: “Dreams,” “Room For 2,” “New Love,” “Bad Together,” and “Last Dance.”
Question: Why didn’t we embrace this fine, debut pop album more in 2017 when it bowed? Stuck in a week that included the new Halsey album (hopeless fountain kingdom) among a host of others, Dua Lipa found itself buried. It shouldn’t have been. This is clearly one of the best albums to come out of the year that didn’t get its just due. As awesome as “New Rules” is, it only scratches the surface of the magnificence of the album and artist. Dua Lipa is a winner, no questions asked.
Gems: “Genesis,” “Lost in Your Light,” “Hotter Than Hell,” “IDGAF,” “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” & “New Rules”