In the 90s, there was Britney Spears. In the early 2000s, we had Rihanna. Ariana Grande shined in the 2010s. And now, it's 2021, and Dua Lipa is the new reigning princess of pop. Her recent Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy win for Future Nostalgia cemented her as a newcomer who's got game. You can't play a Top 40 radio station without hearing one of her songs every couple of minutes.
After a career in modeling, working as a cocktail waitress, and uploading original songs and covers to the internet, Dua Lipa signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2014. The move was a smart one, as Warner Bros. didn't have a big female pop artist to promote at the time. According to Dua's manager Ed Millett, "They really wanted her, so she had the focus of the team from day one."
Warner Bros. proved to be her breakthrough. Since 2014, Dua Lipa has released two acclaimed studio albums and several chart-dominating songs in the U.K and U.S. Besides her 2021 Grammy win, she also won two more in 2019: Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording. It's not an understatement to call her a global superstar.
Dua Lipa's other manager, Ben Mawson, has claimed, "We’ve seen artists who might get half a good song out of 10 writing sessions; with Dua, one in five or one in four is a banger." To honor Dua's astute songwriting abilities and meteoric rise as an artist, here's Live365's picks for the Top 10 Dua Lipa songs!
10. "One Kiss (with Calvin Harris)"
This single with Calvin Harris peaked at No. 1 in the U.K. and became the longest-running number-one single for a female artist in 2018. It also won Lipa a Brit award for Song of the Year.
During an interview for NOVA FM, Lipa revealed the song came to be after Calvin Harris reached out while she was in Jamaica. It's a persuasive love song with simple lyrics, but the music production is what makes this song a bouncy hit. The swanky keys, reverb, and beat give it a discotheque vibe that will make you think of 90s' fashion shows and California beaches.
In sillier news, this song will infamously be remembered as the backing track for Dua Lipa's hip "pencil sharpener" meme. The meme consists of Lipa twisting her hip during the song's intro...and nothing else. There's something about the dead look on her face that's awkwardly funny. Because of it, we have to deduct points from "One Kiss," but it's still a great song to dance to. Just do more than twist your hip like a pencil sharpener.
9. "New Rules"
Considered a breakup anthem, "New Rules" is a song about staying away from an ex despite their attempts to get back together with you. It's also a mental health-positive song, as it affirms using self-talk to fix problems and setting clear boundaries for yourself.
The music video is empowering, as it features several women and Lipa dancing together - literally and figuratively having each other's back. In a Variety interview, Lipa even said this song represents "girls looking after each other" and giving one another much-needed advice.
Besides its message, "New Rules" has a beat drop you can feel in your bones and was played everywhere during the summer of 2017. The electropop and tropical house song was created for the girl group Little Mix, but was rejected and sent to Dua Lipa instead.
We're glad she took it, because it proved to be the biggest single off her debut self-titled album. "New Rules" became Lipa's first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart and reached that position in five other territories. As of March 2021, it is the most streamed song by a British female in the U.K. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has also gained multi-platinum status in 12 territories.
8. "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)"
"Blow Your Mind" is a lot of things. It's edgy, energetic, rough, sassy, and self-affirming, all at the same time. Like "New Rules," it's got a killer beat drop, and the little "mwah!" sounds Lipa throws into the chorus give it playfulness. Not to mention Lipa's soaring vocals on this track are quite impressive.
While the lyrics of this song suggest it's about Lipa finding power in a messy relationship strung together by one night stands, "Blow Your Mind" is actually about being proud of who you are and embracing change. It was written by Lipa, Lauren Christy, and Jon Levine, and was inspired by Lipa's experiences in the modeling industry.
She told Genius:
"I used to do a bit of modeling. It never really went well. The people were like, 'Oh, if you want to be successful in modeling, you have to lose a lot of weight.' It was something that essentially didn’t make me happy. I felt like I had to change myself in order to become something that I wasn’t and something that didn’t make me feel happy in the end. The song is definitely inspired a bit by that and the idea of, when you’re in a relationship with someone, not forgetting who you are to make the other person happy."
The first song on this list from Lipa's Grammy-winning Future Nostalgia, "Hallucinate" is a trippy dance song with early 2000s' disco-house vibes. It's about loving someone so much that it makes you lose your mind, changing your perception of reality.
Critics have compared this song to Madonna's 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor, specifically the tracks "Get Together" and "Future Lovers." The song was co-produced by Stuart Price and the funky beat was made by producer SG Lewis. Dua Lipa has said "Hallucinate" is her "festival song" because of how fun it is.
The music video is also a joy to watch, as it features the rubber hose style of animation used in cartoons from the golden age of American animation (such as the work of Walt Disney). Maybe real-world clubs were closed due to COVID-19, but at least Dua Lipa's cartoon dance floor was fully operational.
6. "Electricity (feat. Diplo & Mark Ronson)"
Created with the help of production duo Silk City (Diplo and Mark Ronson), "Electricity" is a joyful gospel-esque song about the tingling sensation of falling in love. It's fun, fresh, and a little bit spiritual. The loud keys and beat make it very danceable. In only a few months, it went from a club song to a Top 40 radio hit. And in 2019, it won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
Dua Lipa talked about "Electricity" and its music video for a WIRED video:
"It’s a fun song. This was really a kind of turning point for me in terms of like confidence. When I shot the music video for “Electricity,” it kind of changed my life. I was like, for the first time I was in front of cameras. I was very much in the zone and I didn’t really care what anybody was thinking and I just kind of let it all out. And that song will always kind of represent that for me. And I made that with my friends, Mark Ronson and Diplo. So it’s always more special when you get to do stuff with your mates."
The music video also features Dua doing some of the best dancing she's ever done. Many fans have remarked Dua has improved her dancing skills since she was first thrust into the spotlight, and her moves in this song's music video definitely show progress.
The second single taken from Future Nostalgia, "Physical" is as retro as it gets. Containing slick synth pop sounds, Flashdance and Eurythmics vibes, and even a shoutout to Olivia Newton-John's hit "Physical," everything about this song cries 1980s' club hit.
"Physical" proved to be a popular-yet-simultaneously-underrated track off Lipa's sophomore album. It hit No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video has Lipa dancing through some crazy cool visuals. There's also an alternate music video called "Let's Get Physical Work Out" where Dua and her dancing troupe exercise to the song in a very 80s' fashion. It's pure fan service and makes us nostalgic for those Jazzercise days!
4. "We're Good"
A song with tropical vibes meant for the summertime, "We're Good" has Dua Lipa fantasizing about an amicable breakup with her partner. With profound lyrics like "I'm on an island, even when you're close," and "We're not meant to be like sleeping and cocaine," it's a bittersweet tune despite the chill backing track. It'll make you dance slow while also hitting you right in the feels.
"We're Good" was released for the "Moonlight Edition" of Future Nostalgia. During the week of May 1, 2021, the song peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. "We're Good" also reached No. 25 on the UK Singles, and No. 31 on the Argentina Hot 100. It's quite possible it could become a summertime anthem for 2021.
The music video is particularly memorable, with Lipa singing to a dining room full of wealthy passengers aboard the Titanic. Also, a lobster is the protagonist. Seriously. It's actually quite sad, and may make you think twice before ordering the crustacean at your local seafood place.
3. "Break My Heart"
Perhaps the song with the catchiest chorus in Lipa's entire discography, "Break My Heart" peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and still dominates Top 40 radio. Dua claims this is a song meant for "dance crying." It's about Lipa falling head over heels for someone, yet being scared the relationship will end and cause a heartbreak she'll never recover from.
"It’s the whole thing of being scared to be too happy," Lipa told Apple Music about the song, "like when your day is going really well and you think, ‘What’s the one thing that’s going to f*** it up?’ I’m a hopeless romantic and always ask myself: 'How am I going to protect this?' But it’s also a sweet and vulnerable place to be, because you also see how much you care."
The song also samples INXS's 1987 hit "Need You Tonight." The fun music video for "Break My Heart" has Dua Lipa jumping through several scenarios, including a backed-up street, a classy restaurant, an airplane with a carpet pattern from The Shining, and several apartment bedrooms.
2. "Levitating (feat. DaBaby)"
A song about intergalactic space travel, glitter, excitement, and Dua Lipa's "sugarboo," "Levitating" is a love song with an incredibly addictive beat. The song was already a hit when first released, but experienced a boost in popularity after DaBaby assisted in a remix.
Dua told Apple Music she wrote the song with Mike Myers's Austin Powers in mind, and said the middle eight is her "British version of Blondie’s rapping." There are also vocoded vocals reminiscent of Daft Punk songs. The music video featuring DaBaby has Dua and her friends partying in a flashy elevator-like rocketship.
"Levitating" was also one of the two songs Dua Lipa sang during her stunning 2021 Grammys performance. What was the other song? That's number 1 on our list...
1. "Don't Start Now"
The lead single of Future Nostalgia, "Don't Start Now" kickstarted a new era for Dua Lipa. It follows the album's disco blueprint while being like "New Rules" in the sense it has Lipa positively moving on from a needy ex. It's the perfect thesis statement for her sophomore album: looking to the future while being haunted by past nostalgia.
"Don't Start Now" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was produced by Ian Kirkpatrick, Drew Jurecka, and Caroline Ailin. While this song is ultimately empowering, it can also be viewed in a melancholic light. Sad iterations of this song like Hayley Williams's cover for the BBC Live Lounge prove the lyrics can also be about the singer heartbroken over the ex. For a party song, it's pretty thought-provoking.
"Don't Start Now" is another "dance crying" hit of Dua's, and because of how deep it goes emotionally for a disco jam, it deserves our number 1 spot. We're sure it will stand the test of time. And when it's safe to go back to the club, we can't wait to dance to this bop.
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