Dua Lipa - Radical Optimism

He/Him
I get having those expectations based on the producers involved, but I feel like she's made her mission statement clear from the start (90s britpop inspired album) and has hammered it down every chance she got, so I find it a bit simplistic to go "Danny L Harle? Oh she's doing hyperpop! Tame Impala? Here comes her Same Old Mistakes!"

The psychedelia argument is another thing that I've seen being thrown around, mainly on Twitter. When she said she was inspired by the psychedelic movement I guess everyone assumed she was doing 70's rock...? There are clear, neat references to the psychedelia sound (which goes way beyond languid guitars and midtempos) all across the album and it seems to be going over some people's heads. No wonder there are still so many "it's just Future Nostalgia part 2" tweets going around, which I find so blatantly ignorant.

I totally agree that there are moments across the album where the influences she talked about peak through, in fact those moments where they do are some of the albums’ highlights (the crunchy guitar riff outro on Houdini sizzles my brain every time), but my issue is that they never really come out of the background and take centre stage for more than a fleeting few seconds here and there.

I never expected a ‘hyperpop’ album from Dua, but I was expecting her to play around with the soundscapes that Danny in particular is known for and Dua-fy them. And maybe she has and this is exactly what she wanted to make, and if that’s the case so be it. It is a fine, lean pop record with some great tracks. But it just doesn’t feel as tight and cohesive as Future Nostalgia did, it just never truly soars for me and I think that’s because I feel like she’s held back.
 
It's missing the highs (and lows) of Future Nostalgia but overall it's a much more consistent album and can definitely see it being a grower. I love all the different production flourishes that make each song individual but still feel like they belong on the same album.

Highlights so far: These Walls, Whatcha Doing, French Exit, Falling Forever and Maria. Plus all of the singles which are some of the best of her career.

Overall I would say nothing touches Houdini which was the perfect evolution of her sound and still one I keep going back to but it's a really fantastic album.
 
I totally agree that there are moments across the album where the influences she talked about peak through, in fact those moments where they do are some of the albums’ highlights (the crunchy guitar riff outro on Houdini sizzles my brain every time), but my issue is that they never really come out of the background and take centre stage for more than a fleeting few seconds here and there.

I never expected a ‘hyperpop’ album from Dua, but I was expecting her to play around with the soundscapes that Danny in particular is known for and Dua-fy them. And maybe she has and this is exactly what she wanted to make, and if that’s the case so be it. It is a fine, lean pop record with some great tracks. But it just doesn’t feel as tight and cohesive as Future Nostalgia did, it just never truly soars for me and I think that’s because I feel like she’s held back.
I totally agree that it holds back. The instrumentals are threatening to do something bold but then the songwriting is so safe. It creates a weird dissonance.
 
Ok, just finished my first listen girls. I enjoyed it, but need a bit more time with it. It's no Future Nostalgia, but it's definitely a good, consistent/cohesive album and it makes me feel like I'm on vacation (her mind). There's nothing bad here by any means, but there were a few that felt a bit "meh" on first listen but I'm sure they'll grow on me.

Early faves:
-Houdini (still absolutely stomps)
-Falling Forever
-Anything for Love
-Maria
-Happy for You
 
just made it to MARIA
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