With delays leading to a release nine months after its intended September date, Dua Lipa’s debut album could’ve been damaged by its injection into a busy summer release schedule. With Katy Perry, Lorde, Lana Del Rey and Haim all releasing albums within the next couple of months, Lipa has found herself surrounded by stiff, established competition but thankfully for her sake, the extra work she has put into her debut album over the last nine months has paid off.
Across the crowded 17-track listing, Lipa shows off versatility and range, with the album’s two duets proving her worth assuredly. Firstly, on ‘Lost In Your Light’, Lipa goes toe-to-toe with sultry R&B crooner Miguel and holds her own and on forlorn ballad ‘Homesick’, Lipa links up well with Chris Martin on supporting vocals. Elsewhere, she fulfils the prospect of pop stardom; ‘Hotter Than Hell’ acknowledges bombastic pop trend without sacrificing Lipa’s powerhouse vocal or her artistic distinction and ‘Blow Your Mind’ is unapologetically confident even if the lyrics go slightly amiss at times.
As with most pop albums, especially debuts, there are a few predictable moments. ‘No Goodbyes’ descends into repetitiveness and ‘Garden’ succumbs to overly-dramatic euro-pop tropes after a promising intro. But these are mistakes that can be easily ironed out with the onset of artistic maturity- let’s not forget that Lipa is still just 21. What she already has going for her is that smoky, versatile vocal. Even when the tracks don’t quite hit the mark, Lipa is accomplished enough already to salvage the situation.