Dua Lipa is my mom.
Not really, but you know what I mean.
She was born in London, and at the age of 14, launched her music career by recording covers and putting them on YouTube. Her demos, released in 2012, caught the attention of Lana Del Rey’s management team, which put her on the track to getting her record deal.
Now 22, Dua Lipa has come out with a shimmery, sometimes sardonic, synth-pop debut album, which features a collaboration with R&B singer Miguel. Her self-titled album recently earned her the top spot on Billboard’s revamped Emerging Artists Chart.
I’ll be honest, a lot of what Dua Lipa is doing isn’t that exciting. The album has a lot of fun moments, like on the reverberating “Begging,” or my personal favorite, the sultry and ostentatious “Blow Your Mind (Mwah).” However, aside from the handful of excitement the album provides, most of it is pretty forgettable.
Despite this, the album’s stronger moments and Dua Lipa herself have a presence so infectious and intriguing, any weaker cogs in the machine don’t seem to matter as much.
“Dua Lipa” features a couple of early singles, including “Be The One” and “Hotter Than Hell.” In both tracks, Lipa’s voice drips honey over thick harmonies and danceable slaps of drum, a production style seen throughout most of “Dua Lipa,” including “New Rules.”
“New Rules” is a dancehall-inspired, musical guide to getting over a big ol’ fuckboy. In the now-viral music video, Lipa is in a motel room with a group of waifish, beautiful women that I would hypothetically wear the skin of but not really in practice because I’m a very mentally stable person.
There is choreographed hair-brushing and a lot of pastel as Lipa lists off the rules: “One, don’t pick up the phone / You know he’s only calling ’cause he’s drunk and alone,” ending with “Three […] / You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning / And if you’re under him, you ain’t gettin’ over him.”
Incredible. I just quit therapy.
The video currently has over 236 million views and has landed Dua Lipa top spots on music charts internationally. The video is also testament to Dua Lipa’s interest in female empowerment, both through the song’s lyrical content and images of the dancers holding each other. Because of this, “New Rules” has also saved Dua Lipa a spot in the increasingly long line of female musicians making music with female audiences in mind.
Similar to major players Lorde, Tove Lo, and Charli XCX, Dua Lipa has discography pervaded by feminist pop anthems, and a fan base significantly populated by young girls. She tweets out messages of affirmation (“I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE COOL. YOU ARE SPECIAL”), and often depicts intersectionality in her music videos, like in the video for “Blow Your Mind,” where women fly the LGBT flag alongside signs saying things like “You Can Sit With Us,” and “Dua for President.”
I agree, and have nothing but respect for my president. Who is also my mom.
Dua Lipa’s contagious, dark-pop beats mix effortlessly with her message of feminine self-empowerment. Her presence in pop is light, elegantly modern, and with just enough bite to keep you watching, waiting for more.
I’ll definitely be watching.
Dua Lipa is my mom.