Dua Lipa's 'Radical Optimism' Is Kinder Than Radical

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Dua Lipa's 'Radical Optimism' Is Kinder Than Radical

Dua Lipa releases her new album today, 'Radical Optimism', which will be presented at Mad Cool. The successor to 'Future Nostalgia' (2020) has been waiting four years and, logically, offers a different sound from that one, although not so different at certain points. Not so radical: in 'Radical Optimism' “optimism” is the key word.

Dua has disputed claims that placed the album's first single, 'Houdini', in the realm of disco music. She hasn't gotten together with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker and Danny L. Harle for people to say she's doing the same thing as before. Dua is right: 'Houdini' is an electro production, harder and darker than anything included on 'Future Nostalgia'. In sound, 'Houdini' presents an evolution and, as a single, time has proven it right: its time on the charts has not ended months after its release.

The supposed influences of psychedelia, Britpop and groups like Massive Attack, Oasis or Primal Scream have not been as noticeable in the following singles. In these coordinates the second single, 'Training Season', can be located -more or less-, already more disco, but also more sixties on a melodic level. However, the third preview, 'Illusion', does not hide its proximity to the 'Future Nostalgia' sound. She is the sister of 'Hallucinate' even in name.

But the sound of 'Houdini' was just that, an “illusion.” In reality, 'Radical Optimism' doesn't sound that forceful in any of its points. The proposal is more friendly than “radical.” 'These Walls', today's “focus track”, is directly indie-pop and the approaches to disco music are various throughout the album and occur between day ('End of an Era') and night ( 'Whatcha Doin'). Indecisive, 'Anything for Love' doesn't know whether to be an interlude or a song.

In 'Radical Optimism' nostalgia is also present, although it focuses not on the seventies and eighties, but on the two thousandths. The production is rich in nuances and textures and, at certain points, such as 'French Exit' or the Latin 'Maria', the Mediterranean inspiration of the album is brought to the table, already exposed on its cover. But perhaps it was not the All Saints sound of 'Happy for You' that the public expected to find on the album after the influences cited in interviews.

Dua is having the last laugh seen the commercial performance of 'Houdini' and 'Training Season'. Two songs that, without having reached number 1 on the global charts, are demonstrating a longevity that contradicts the accusations of supposed “flop”, which are unfounded. The magic of 'Radical Optimism' may also blossom over time. For now, the cover couldn't be more symbolic: Dua gets wet, yes, although she remains away from danger.

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.