Introspection and somber reflection regarding the State of Things Today are important elements of modern pop. But in the current climate, which often feels heavy with personal confessionals, anxiety and depression-themed anthems and worldweary political commentary (and, well, that general underlying sense of global tension), finding music that inspires us to get up, get out, and briefly escape our own worlds is every bit as vital, too.
In short: your disco needs you.
Enter Dua Lipa, who’s bringing big, bright, euphoric dance floor bangers back into the mainstream in 2020 – and not a millisecond too soon.
As has become abundantly clear, Dua is doing this whole Main Pop Girl thing right. If “Don’t Start Now” wasn’t enough of a disco ball-refracted light sparkling at the end of the largely gloom and doom-filled tunnel that was 2019, the 24-year-old Albanian stunner is back to supply even more unnnff with “Physical,” out Thursday (January 30) – a love-at-first-listen, ’80s-leaning synth-y stormer with just a hint of an ominous energy.
“Physical” ticks all the right boxes for a banger from start to finish, kicking off with an instant, eye-raising synth flare that just vaguely recalls Madonna’s “Hung Up” – an already winning move. Dua cooly comes gliding in above the kicking beat, sultry and satisfied with her special someone.
“Common love isn’t for us. We created something phenomenal. Don’t you agree?” she purrs. (Honestly, I have to say I do.)
The song was co-written by Clarence Coffee Jr. of The Monsters and the Strangerz, the same songwriting and production team who just hit it out of the park with Selena Gomez‘s “Vulnerable,” the extremely cool Sarah Hudson, responsible for everything from Jeffree Star‘s “Beauty Killer” (!) to Katy Perry‘s “Swish Swish,” Koz (who also did a bunch for Dua in the past, including “IDGAF” and “Hotter Than Hell”), as well as the unstoppable Jason Evigan, most crucially of Britney‘s “Man on the Moon” fame.
Add in a bit of speak-singing before the chorus for good measure: “Who needs to go to sleep when I got you next to me?”
The shout-along chorus is nothing short of a rush (do what you will with the poppers twinks, just don’t bring them to the meet and greet), providing a brief lyrical nod to Olivia Newton-John’s classic (“Let’s get physical!”) – and maybe even some slight ’00s UK dance-pop energy, a la Rachel Stevens‘ Come & Get It.
A random, favorite line in the second verse: “I don’t wanna live another life, ‘cause this one’s pretty nice.”
There’s even one hell of a bridge, another rarity in pop these days: “Come on! Hold on! Tell me if you’re ready, come on! Baby, keep on dancing!” It’s the perfect scream-sung, hand clap-happy encouragement to keep you planted on the floor with your friends at 2:53 AM for that one last song.
In a world of moody, mumbly midtempos, we should be grateful that Dua’s opted to push the pedal and veer into the fast lane with a much-needed BPM bump.
FUTURE NOSTALGIA – THE ALBUM – COMING TO YOU APRIL 3RD – SHOT BY HUGO COMTE – 🌕🔐💛 pic.twitter.com/rRSiSbl2Oe
— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) January 30, 2020
“Physical,” like “Don’t Start Now,” exemplifies a concept like Future Nostalgia; joyous escapism, rich with references to the past, that ought to provide the soundtrack for some fond memory-making many years from now. She’s getting everything right – and seriously, that album artwork is a complete win.
The whole era’s really shaping up to be something phenomenal. Don’t you agree?
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