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  • Isabel Mays

Album Review: "Radical Optimism" - Dua Lipa



I have been a fan of Dua Lipa for a long time. I have always found her music to have the perfect blend of dance pop and emotional ballads. So, when she announced her newest album, I knew I was going to love it. Radiacal Optimism is actually the first of Dua's albums that I've listened to in full, and I feel that it's arguably her best. Radical Optimism is Lipa's third studio album, and has a tracklist that left me reeling after each song.


TRACKLIST

End Of An Era

Houdini

Training Season

These Walls

Whatcha Doing

French Exit

Illusion

Falling Forever

Anything For Love

Maria

Happy For You



Dua Lipa has been releasing music professionally since 2016, when she released her debut single, "New Love". Her debut album, Dua Lipa, released in 2017, and today has around 5 billion combined streams. As for her second album, Future Nostalgia (released in 2021), the strem count jumped up to nearly 10 billion total streams. Fast forward to 2024, and Radical Optimism is sweeping the floor of the music industry with it's jam packed tracklist. So, let's get into each of the songs that make up this energetic masterpiece!


End Of An Era

Relationships can lead to a rollercoaster of varying emotions, both positive and negative. And in the first track of this album, Lipa explores exactly that theme. "End Of An Era" is a song that inspires hope and excitement towards the start of a new relationship, and that you're finding beauty and cloure in the bigger and better things ahead. I thouroghly enjoyed this song, and especially loved the meaning behind the lyrics. The feelings you get when you kiss someone new, the sparks pulling you both together... I felt all of those feelings and more listening to this song, so I loved it.


Houdini



"Houdini" is one of my favorite of Lipa's songs. and I think is one of the best representation's of Lipa's range. "Houdini" centers around the need for commitment from your partner before you dissapear like Houdini. It's quite obvious even just from reading the title that this song carries a lot of connection with the magician Harry Houdini, a man known for his illusion and escapism magic. The lyrics showcase the feelings of vulnerability and intimacy toward wanting a loving, stable, and commited relationship. I think this is easily one of the best song's Lipa has written.


Training Season



Similarly to "Houdini", "Training Season" is another song on this album that explores the emotions one feels when they long for a deep connection. The title carries a lot of meaning for when we focus on improving ourselves before we can open up to others. And as she sings the lyric "Training season's over", we explore the transition from working on that self-improvement, to wanting a relationship filled with love, trust, and deep connection. If you long for a love willed with passion and longing, then maybe "Training Season" is the song you need to hear right now. 10/10.


These Walls


One of my favorites on this album, "These Walls" captures the tension, emotions, and conflict one may feel in regards to a failing relationship. I love the symbolism of "walls" that are essntially keeping this failing relationship intact, and the acknowledgement that the relationship is no longer sustainable. And so, the "walls" would urge them to break up. Coming to terms with the end of a relationship isn't easy, and it's nothing anyone would want to even slightly consider. However, I think it was refreshing to view a relationship from the perspective of knowing it's unhealthy and should end, but not wanting to let go.


Whatcha Doing



Do you find it easy to open up to others? Or do you prefer if you are in control of every aspect of your life? "Whatcha Doing" is the next song on the list, and focuses on just that. I sensed a lot of growing internal conflict in Lipa as she sang, making me believe she is fearful to losing the bit of control she holds in the relationship in exchange for showing more of her emotions to her partner. I think it's a struggle many of us deal with, not only in a romantic sense, but platonic as well! I thought I connected with this song on more than one level, so I enjoyed it very much.


French Exit


"French Exit" is one of the slower songs on this tracklist, but still had me dancing around my room without a care in the world. If you didn't know, a French exit is when someone leaves a party, social gathering, or event without saying goodbye. Essentially, leaving unnoticed. This connects with the feelings of when one makes a choice on whether or not to end a relationship without closure, or even without talking with the other person. I think for those who know what French exit means will connect with this song easier. But, it's an easy enough term to pick up on, and I think Lipa tied in her own personal experiences perfectly.


Illusion



"Illusion" is one of the singles from this album, and I think it's also one of the most catchy. The song explores the themes of being aware when you are being manipulated. We all want to live in the moment without any fear of being decieved by those we thought we trusted. So, we try to stand out ground and make our worth known. I also think we tend to ignore "red flags" in exchange for some kind of connection, as the lyrics suggest. I really enjoyed this song, and there's even a part of me who likes the extended version more!


Falling Forever


If you needed any proof that Dua Lipa has incredible range and vocal talent, look no further than the next song on the album, "Falling Forever". The feeling of falling in love is so special and so personal, so I think Lipa hit the nail on the head while writing this song. Lipa repeats the lyric in the chorus, "Can we just keep getting better / Can we keep falling forever?" I feel like that lyric hold relation to the feeling of falling deeper and deeper into love, and never wanting that feeling to end. There are also so many belts in this song by Lipa, even right at the start! I think it honestly tied everything together for me, I loved this song.


Anything For Love



I was a little confused when this song first started playing, because it opened with what sounded like a group of people sharing dinner together. However, soon after, it cuts so a piano solo, and Lipa's stunning vocals. I was expecting this song to be slow, emotional, and gut-wrenching. However, it had a steady beat and some killer producing that gave it a more upbeat sound, so I thought it was perfect! As for the meaning, it's about commitment and not giving up on things when times get tough. She even sings "I'm not interested in a love that gives up so easily", which is telling enough. I think I was able to connect with Lipa more on this song than others, and it's quickly become of my favorites. It was short, sweet, and simple. It was perfect.


Maria


Have you ever had a love that left a lasting impact not only on you, but on your futute relationships? "Maria" is the next song on this tracklist, and introduces us to a character who has left a positive impact on the narrator's future relationships. I also liked how Lipa acknowledged that this past relationship has helped the new one to improve, but how their precense can still be felt at any time. I haven't heard a song about a relationship from this perspective, so I think Lipa wrote this very well.


Happy For You



The final song on this album is "Happy For You", a ballad that conveys the emotions one feels when they realize a relationship is truly over. Your ex has found someone new, and you didn't quite realize how much you loved them until that moment. Unfortunately, many of us have faced this issue in our lives, but I think this song did a great job of illustrating the pain and hurt one feels in this situation. I also think this is one of the song's I could sense the most emotion in. Clearly, Lipa knows what she is talking about, and is an expert of translating her emotions onto the page. This song quickly became a favorite.


Overall, I think it's safe to say this is my favorite of Lipa's albums. Every song in Radical Optimism was expertly crafted and written. I resonated with so many on a personal level, which is not an easy fete to accomplish. I guess now the only thing I'm wondering is... when is the next one? Dua Lipa, you're a true mastermind of our generation. Thank you for bringing Radical Optimism to life. Go stream it everywhere, now!


Written By Isabel Mays



*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.

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