Feature: How Future Nostalgia changed the music industry

Pop pioneer Dua Lipa is taking over the world, and doing so flawlessly. Take a look at how the star is changing the game.

One year ago, rising pop-star Dua Lipa dropped her sophomore album, Future Nostalgia (albeit two weeks early, due to leaks) and it was what the kids would call a cultural reset. Not only was lead single “Don’t Start Now” her biggest to date, but the whole era’s rollout was impeccable. Following on from the global success of “New Rules”, the breakout hit from her critically-acclaimed debut record, it was unknown what venture Dua would take next to build on her widespread success. The answer? 80’s disco reminiscent style bangers with modern sonics and exquisite lyricism. In an industry saturated with pretty bubblegum pop music, this unexpected, retro dancehall fantasy record was the perfect creative decision for Dua to carve her own legacy and poke her way out of the stereotypical pop girl bubble. We’re breaking down just how she turned what could have easily been a sophomore slump into one of the biggest eras of music in the last decade.

Credit: Hugo Comte
Ambition

A ‘club remix’ album is something practically unheard of, especially from major artists such as Dua – making Club Future Nostalgia all the more impressive. It was a bold, ambitious move that not many artists would have the courage to take. Future Nostalgia may have been light on features, but the club version goes into overdrive in packing iconic artists onto the beloved tracks, including Madonna, Missy Elliot and Gwen Stefani. Remixed entirely by The Blessed Madonna, the fun-yet-stuffed project bounces between house, club and dance remixes that are screaming to be played in a gay bar. Although the conceptual album wasn’t received with open arms online, it must be applauded for its distinctive concept and stellar production.

Dua Lipa via YouTube
Production

The music videos Dua served alongside Future Nostalgia are, quite simply, the best collection of videos from a single album in years. Each one clearly had a sky-high budget, delivering gorgeous visuals and stunning set pieces. The cinematography seen in videos like “Physical” and “Break My Heart” is second to none, like something you’d expect to see playing on the big screen before you see a movie. The glistening visuals for “Levitating” see Dua dancing and rollerblading around a giant disco-themed elevator before ascending to the stars and having a boogie around the galaxy. The video for lead single “Don’t Start Now” (thankfully filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) follows Dua and her mates as she breaks up with her boyfriend and parties the night away with a club full of sweaty strangers. No artist had a patch on Dua when it came to music videos in 2020, heres to hoping she can keep it that way.

Dua Lipa via YouTube
Longevity

Even though the Future Nostalgia era has been underway for over a year, it doesn’t feel past its expiry date in the slightest. We’ve been blessed with two albums, eight music videos, countless live performances and the most successful livestream event ever. You’d think its cycle would be coming to a close, right? Wrong. Dua is still planning on expanding Future Nostalgia, having hinting multiple times at the release of a new ‘B-side’ album at some point this year (she really knows how to keep her fans happy). Of course, it helps that the music is really, really good; being so distinctive and unique whilst staying mainstream isn’t an easy task, but one Dua pulls off effortlessly. It seems the Future Nostalgia era still has plenty of gas in its tank, and we’re firmly buckled in for the ride.

Dua Lipa via Instagram
Record-Breaking

When Dua Lipa embarked on the disco-adjacent Future Nostalgia era, no-one could have predicted what 2020 had in store. But the cancellation of live shows and tours opened doors for new experiences that never would have seen the light pre-pandemic. We are, of course, talking about Dua’s colossally successful Studio 2054 live stream. Announced on 28th October 2020, she told fans she was curating a virtual livestream event, performing hits from her entire discography and revealing a whole host of star-studded guest performers including Kylie Minogue and Elton John. Revealed to be watched by more than 5 million people (smashing global livestream records), the multi-dimensional live performance was shot in a huge warehouse location that saw Dua travel through different locations, including roller discos, raves and vogue ballrooms. Since Studio 2054 aired, we’ve seen a wave of artists try to replicate its success, hosting livestream events of their own, but none have managed to top Dua’s success – and rightly so. Studio 2054 was a product of its time, and was effective in tiding fans over until we can experience a real-life Future Nostalgia tour, which is bound to be epic.

Dua Lipa via Instagram
Do you love Future Nostalgia as much as us? Let us know!

Featured Image Credit: Hugo Comte

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