Dua Lipa (Complete Edition)
With hindsight, it’s hard to imagine that Dua Lipa’s globe-conquering success was ever anything other than a foregone conclusion. But her breakout smash, “New Rules,” was preceded by seven singles and her debut album was twice delayed, arriving several months after originally planned. Even then, Dua Lipa was something of a sleeper hit, reaching its UK chart peak 38 weeks after release. While her debut LP’s rollout may have been shaky, Lipa herself has never appeared anything less than assured, with a vocal style so cool it borders on aloof. Her rich, sultry stylings here anchor a collection that isn’t afraid to genre-hop, brooding over the tropical pop of “Hotter than Hell” as it boils to its euphoric climax. “Be the One” is similarly summery, with a persistent chorus that drips yearning over a Europop beat—evoking all the wistfulness of a holiday romance—and even “Thinking ’Bout You” morphs from a laidback acoustic jam into something more full-throated. The pace only slows on the closing track “Homesick,” a piano ballad co-written with Chris Martin about those you leave behind when your pop-star dreams come true. MNEK co-write “IDGAF” lambasts a good-for-nothing-ex over a military drum line (“You say you’re sorry/But it’s too late now/So save it, get gone, shut up”) and definitively establishes that Dua knows her way around an anthemic chorus. In that regard, it’s a perfect companion track to the album’s centerpiece “New Rules.” Over a shimmering tropical beat, Dua dispenses breakup wisdom with the firm hand of a no-nonsense agony aunt (“One: Don’t pick up the phone/You know he’s only callin’ ’cause he’s drunk and alone”). It effortlessly marks the precise moment of her rise to the upper echelons of the pop stratosphere. Indeed, if anything is to be gleaned from the album’s staccato ascent, it’s that good things come to those who wait.