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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Dua Lipa’s New Album Brings Optimism and Illusion

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Dua Lipa’s new album, “Radical Optimism,” has received mixed reviews.

As the disco ball shattered in Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” music video, fans sensed that the “Future Nostalgia” era was ending and a new album would soon drop.

On March 13, Dua Lipa shocked the internet by going live on Instagram and announcing that her new album, “Radical Optimism,” would be available to stream on May 3. In her cover story for the February 2024 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Lipa described her new album as a “psychedelic-pop-infused tribute to UK rave culture.” Additionally, she hinted that “Radical Optimism” would differ from her most recent disco-pop-infused “Future Nostalgia.”

However, despite all the anticipation and a four-year wait, I was underwhelmed by this album. When I saw that “Radical Optimism” was only 36 minutes and 11 songs long, I was enraged at Lipa. Despite a few standout tracks such as “These Walls,” where Lipa’s voice shines with natural emotion, and “Falling Forever,” a classic pop gem, the rest of the album melds together, making it difficult to distinguish individual tracks.

Lipa started the album with “End of an Era,” a track with breezy harmonies and a soft tropical house beat. Overall, I think this song was a perfect opportunity to set a high bar for the rest of the album, which unfortunately was not reached.

Up next was “Houdini,” which was the lead single for a good reason. Everything flowed together seamlessly. From the flawless beat to the ‘80s-synth pop vibes, Lipa created an effortless song that proved she could still produce a hit.

The second single released at the outset of 2024, titled “Training Season,” emerged as another electrifying pop anthem, contributing significantly to its resounding success. Despite not being included in the latest album, this track elevated expectations due to its exceptional lyrics and flawless execution, igniting anticipation for the album’s release.

Freshman Myla Robertson said, “Out of all the songs I have heard from the album, ‘Training Season’ is the one that stuck with me because of the incredible beat and lyrics.”

“These Walls” and “Whatcha Doing” were up next. As I said, “These Walls” is one of my favorite Dua Lipa songs ever released because of her flawless voice, which she finally allowed to shine. “Whatcha Doing” was a good song to follow “These Walls” because of the swagger embedded in the song.

Freshman Arden Brown said, “‘These Walls’ and ‘Watcha Doing’ were the album standouts for me because they did not blend like the rest of the album [did].”

Following “Whatcha Doing” was “French Exit,” one of the worst songs on the album. It was boring and disconnected from the rest of the album, with the random placements of French-speaking portions, throwing off the whole beat.

After this disgrace of a song came two saviors of the album, “Illusion” and “Falling Forever,” which gave me some optimism for the rest of the album. Between the catchy chorus and summer vibes, “Illusion” was the first single that had that smash energy that her previous hits, such as “Physical” and “Don’t Start Now,” had.

Sophomore Beth Rosenow said, “‘Illusion’ is my favorite because the beat is so catchy and it gives good vibes.”

The final stretch of the album, “Anything for Love,” “Maria,” and “Happy for You” unfortunately fell flat, failing to capture the summer vibes of the album’s earlier energy. These tracks felt rushed, with the repetitive lyrics and predictable beats that detracted from the overall experience. Seeing such a decline in the album quality toward the end is disheartening, leaving me disappointed at the lack of effort invested in these closing pieces.

While Dua Lipa delivered some undeniable hits on “Radical Optimism,” the shortness of the album, especially given the extended timeframe, leaves the album with an overall rating of 6/10. Without question, “Radical Optimism” stands as the weakest album in her repertoire when measured against her self-titled album and “Future Nostalgia.”

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About the Contributor
Myles Antelis
Myles Antelis, Staff Writer
Myles Antelis ('27) is delighted to be able to write for The Forum this year. He is interested in covering all of Latin’s news and making entertaining articles for the Latin community to read. The Forum has been a wonderful place for him to express his passion for writing with others. In his spare time, he enjoys working on his fashion design creations, hanging out with his friends, and running.

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