New Releases

On New Album "Future Nostalgia," Dua Lipa Takes Female Empowerment to the Dance Floor

The English star's latest album is a fantastic collection of retro funk-pop.

Ever since first declaring her "New Rules" in 2017, Dua Lipa's music has come to represent independence, self-worth, and taking no s--t.

In the grand scheme of things, the English-Albanian singer rose to mainstream prominence fairly recently. But she first started uploading covers to YouTube ten years ago, and her new album, Future Nostalgia, isn't her first rodeo; she knows exactly what she wants, how she wants it, and how to get it. A thrilling dose of funk-pop, Future Nostalgia is the sound of a rising star long ready to stake her claim in the scene.

The title of the record itself even echoes the prestige Lipa has rightfully earned for herself. This is an album that you'll remember years from now, she seems to assert, and the album's glossy aesthetic borrows a handful of yesteryear's trends. The staccato strings of early single "Don't Start Now" demand to be spun at disco dance parties, while the jazzercise vigor of "Physical" nods to Olivia Newton-John's eponymous 1981 hit. "Hallucinate" parrots the oonzt oonzt of the late-2000s bloghouse boom that spawned DJs like Calvin Harris (who, a decade later, would enlist Lipa for their Top 40 hit, "Electricity"). Channeling the brilliance of predecessors like Madonna and Kylie Minogue with a modern twist, Future Nostalgia affirms that Lipa is one of the most important names in recent pop history.

Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Much of Future Nostalgia sounds fit for parties and club settings. "When this comes on, I want people to be like, 'OK, we're doing shots,'" Lipa said of "Physical," and her music has always radiated the cool-girl energy that would make you want to follow her on a ladies' night out. But past its disco-ball glow, Future Nostalgia boasts anthems of autonomy and confidence. On "Don't Start Now"—the kind of song that makes you want to lock down a boyfriend just to kick him to the curb—she declares to a pitiful ex that she's "so moved on, it's scary." On the braggadocious title track, she teases: "No matter what you do, I'm gonna get it without ya / I know you ain't used to a female alpha." Even when Lipa is lovestruck, like on the sizzling slow-jammer "Cool," she asserts that she's still "in control" of what she does.

During the album's latter half, Lipa delves further into her romantic side. But even at her most sensitive and vulnerable, sentimental moments like "Break My Heart" come with an impressive poise: "Had to love and lose a hundred million times / Had to get it wrong to know just what I like," she sings, her tone imparting that she won't settle for anything less.

Dua Lipa - Physical (Official Video) www.youtube.com


Future Nostalgia's final moments, however, feel like the club has suddenly been shut down. Slow-burning closer "Boys Will Be Boys" attempts to make a profound statement against sexism, although its half-baked jabs border on cringeworthy. "I know that there will be a man around to save the day / And that was sarcasm, in case you needed it mansplained," she coos, which sounds more like what a man would think mansplaining is. As a girls' choir comes in for the oversimplified chorus—"Boys will be boys / But girls will be women"—the song is a well-intended gesture that mostly winds up awkward and credulous. Female empowerment anthems don't have to be so reductively lucid; Lipa's most genuine girl-power moments meet her in the middle of the dance floor.

Culture Feature

Dear White People: AAVE Is an Actual Dialect, Not Your "Stan Culture"

Using a Black dialect isn't a meme—it's cultural appropriation.

As Black Lives Matter protests have rightfully taken the world by storm over the past couple of months, we're long overdue for thorough evaluations of just how often aspects of Black heritage have been co-opted by white audiences.

It should be obvious that much of fashion and music as we know it today was invented by Black people. We (hopefully) all know by now that we can no longer accept Blackface and use of the n-word by non-Black people as the norm—and Internet users have tried "canceling" offenders in the public eye, with varying degrees of success.

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CULTURE

How Celebrities Are Donating to Australia (and Where They Fall Short)

Climate change is turning small fires into cataclysmic events like the one that the world is witnessing in Australia.

Celebrities are rallying around Australia, which is currently engulfed in wildfires that have killed nearly a billion animals and have destroyed over two thousand homes.

Many have expressed their support for Australia and shared their wealth and calls to action. For instance, you may have seen these posts:











Other stars who have offered assistance include Lizzo, who volunteered at a warehouse in Australia during time off from her tour. Kylie Jenner donated $1 million, and Phoebe Waller-Bridges also auctioned off her Golden Globes suit in support of the cause. Actress Yael Stone said that she's giving up her green card and moving back to Australia to reduce the environmental impact of constantly flying overseas.

It's incredibly important that celebrities are raising money and donating to Australia, and it's even more vital that some are connecting what's going on to climate change. But it's also tragic that it took a calamity like this one, in a first-world country, for large-scale and widely publicized action to occur.

Though small actions in response to the Australia fires are important, everyone—celebrities, ordinary people, and particularly governments around the world—need to be taking preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.


Australian Bushfires: A Climate Change Issue

After all, though bushfires are natural events in Australia, human-caused climate change has significantly worsened the intensity of these fires—and the science is there to prove it. "Climate change is increasing bushfire risk in Australia by lengthening the fire season, decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature," said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Essentially, climate change is turning small fires into cataclysmic events like the one that the world is witnessing in Australia. This is, of course, far from an isolated incident. Climate change is contributing to the emergence and destructiveness of natural disasters across the world. Flooding, droughts, storms, and fires are already decimating the livelihoods of millions, leaving impoverished and vulnerable communities at extreme disadvantage and costing billions of dollars in repairs. Natural disasters have occurred in the 21st century at five times the frequency they occurred in the 20th century, and things will only worsen as the climate rises if we do not take extreme preventative actions.

Celebrities and ordinary people finding themselves panicking about what's happening in Australia would do well to follow in the footsteps of people like Jane Fonda, who have actively been putting their bodies on the line in order to persuade governments to take the threat of climate change very seriously.

If you're wondering how to help Australia, and if you feel your heart is breaking upon seeing the tragic photos of orange skies and dead kangaroos, then by all means, follow in the footsteps of Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman and donate to wildfire relief funds. But consider also donating to movements that might prevent or reduce the likelihood of events like this one. Consider joining a climate change protest movement. Consider taking action. Consider supporting organizations that will not only stop the bleeding but that will prevent new wounds from opening.