Radical Optimism: Dua Lipa’s New Album Falls Short of Expectations

Dua Lipa’s newest release leaves a lot to be desired.
A picture of pop star Dua Lipa during a live performance.
A picture of pop star Dua Lipa during a live performance.
Image/Graphics by Raph_PH

Dua Lipa is a name that needs no introduction. Whether that be her 2021 album Future Nostalgia, which is packed front to back with hit after hit, or the massive hit song she made specifically for Barbie, “Dance The Night,” she’s been a hitmaker. Late last year, she released a single called “Houdini,” which was eventually revealed to be the first single for her newest album, Radical Optimism.

The first two singles, “Houdini” and “Training Season,” are both great pop tracks, with the former being one of the best pop songs of the last decade. The third single, “Illusion,” is less catchy and generally less interesting as a whole but still had me interested in the full project. As a whole, Radical Optimism is sort of a regression from her last album, Future Nostalgia. The last album was filled to the brim with hits, and Radical Optimism feels much more subdued. None of the tracks are outright bad, but each song feels like an average pop song you would hear on the radio. While there’s nothing wrong with that, each song doesn’t really stand out like they did on Future Nostalgia. Songs like “These Walls” and “Happy For You” are fun pop songs and stand out compared to the rest of the album.

As a whole, Radical Optimism is a decent pop record with multiple great pop songs, but as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. The lyrical content and generally a more optimistic attitude is a nice change of pace. In an interview with AP News, Dua Lipa says that she’s “Optimistic about life overall, everything that comes with it,” and that is reflected across the album. Sadly, the soundscape leaves a lot to be desired. I would rate this album a 7/10, with my favorite tracks being “Houdini,” “Training Season,” “These Walls,” and “Happy For You.”

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