Whatever stylistic descriptions can be broadly thrown at Future Nostalgia, of which there are many, it is perhaps simpler to state that this album, in its deep dive into the underbelly of 1980s aesthetic and culture, is a modern pop masterpiece.
This isn’t to suggest for a moment that we have an album that merely relies on the thematics of a past generation for inspiration. Instead, Lipa has transformed them – they are cleaner, crisper, more sophisticated, and yet manage to not lose themselves in flamboyant pretension or fall into inauthentic pastiche. Influences are worn proudly, but not dwelled upon for a second.
Personifying this sound is the titular track and album opener, which leads with a catchy synth bassline and Lipa’s empowered, near-spoken poetics before exploding into a chorus of defiant attitude and heavenly tones. Further on, we are met by the urgent punchiness of ‘Physical’, that takes root in the majestic-synth-splendour of Eurhythmics complimented with an added intensity and vigour.
To dismiss Future Nostalgia as a straightforward throwback is much too easy. Rather, it is an elaborate expedition and respectful recognition of trends of old, brought back to the present and given a significant revitalisation and new relevance to create something new in itself. With Future Nostalgia, Due Lipa achieved new feats in questioning the limitations of pop and set a new standard for releases of this, and next, year.