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Initial Thoughts on Dua Lipa’s “Radical Optimism”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Conn Coll chapter.

2024 has been quite the year of exciting album drops and catchy tunes… and it isn’t even half over yet! While Beyoncé’s COWBOY CARTER and Sabrina Carpenter’s new song “Espresso” have been dominating my Spotify queue for the past few weeks, I am, first and foremost, a Dua Lipa girl, and I have been eagerly counting down to the release of Radical Optimism.

Since the big drop yesterday, I have seen mixed reviews of the album. But, I have to stand by my opinion that no one is doing Dance Pop like Dua. My primary concern, however, was that Radical Optimism would struggle to live up to the genius of Future Nostalgia

The business decisions behind the promotion of Future Nostalgia are my “Roman Empire.” Not only did Dua and her team release singles and music videos before the album’s release, like “Don’t Start Now,” she continued to drop extras after the album’s original release on March 27, 2020. The fifth single of Future Nostalgia, “Levitating (feat. DaBaby),” dropped in October 2020, giving the album a huge push as the bonus track dominated the radio, streaming services, and social media, and the last single, “Love Again,” was sent out in March of 2021… a whole year after the album was released. This plan also coincided with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the corresponding exponential rise of TikTok—the perfect concoction needed to boost Dua Lipa’s stardom into the stratosphere. 

I’ve heard there have been some changes to Dua Lipa’s management team recently, but I will be eagerly waiting to see what follows the immediate release of Radical Optimism. And if Dua just wants to continue traveling the world and living her best life… I’m okay with that too. 

Dua Lipa and her writing team have a deep understanding of what it takes to release the “song of the summer.” I am loving Radical Optimism so far, and I am excited to see how my opinions shift as I try to emulate Dua Lipa’s fun and adventurous lifestyle after graduation this summer. Here are my thoughts on each song… the day after the album’s release:

“End of an Era”

An outstanding album opener, “End of an Era” captures the exact vibe I want to take into Summer ‘24. It has a different sound than some of her previous songs, but still fits perfectly into the dance party vibe she cultivates with her music. The “Vogue-esque” speaking lines are, by far, my favorite part. If anyone catches me dancing to this repeatedly throughout my house for the next three months… I’m really not sorry. 

“Houdini”

Dua dropped “Houdini” as the first single on Radical Optimism last November and, let me tell you, I love it more every time I listen. I also hold a deep appreciation for the music video, with its dance studio setting and cool mirror effects. As a dancer, I have to say that the effort that Dua has put into her movement the past few years is incredible… and rare amongst her peers. I have to repeat myself—no one is doing it like Dua Lipa. 

Despite what some critics say, I think this song fits perfectly within the vibe of the entire album. My only qualm: Houdini was an escape artist… he didn’t really “disappear” during his acts. I don’t tend to think about historical accuracy when the beat hits, though. 

“Training Season”

Dua Lipa not only opened the 2024 Grammy Awards, she opened it with one of the best award show performances I have ever seen, teasing the second single of Radical Optimism, “Training Season,” a week before it dropped. As someone who watched live, I have to delusionally claim that I loved this song before anyone else. 

I know part of the genius of this song is the callout of Dua’s many famous exes, but I really can’t think about all of that when I’m on my feet and dancing as soon as the beat starts. The music video is iconic, as well. 

“These Walls”

“These Walls” feels like the drive home after a perfect day at the beach—the groovy happiness that comes with a sudden appreciation for life… despite being about an unhappy relationship. Well, I’ve never really been a lyrics girlie, anyway. 

“Whatcha Doing”

My favorite song on the album at the moment, “Whatcha Doing” was immediately added to my Summer 2024 playlist. It’s funky, it’s groovy, and it makes me want to strut down a boardwalk somewhere. I’m obsessed. 

“French Exit”

Perhaps the most unique song on the album, “French Exit” is sure to be a fan favorite. The rich, instrumental backing is my favorite on the album, and perfectly supports Dua’s vocals. I can only hope this song comes on while I’m walking through festivals and carnivals this summer, fueling the “girlboss” vibes. “French Exit” is what we all needed this May.

“Illusion”

“Illusion,” the third single off Radical Optimism, is currently my least favorite on the album, although it is starting to grow on me. If it comes on while I am out and about, I will be heading directly to the dance floor. The chorus is definitely the highlight and makes up for some lackluster verses. 

“Falling Forever”

This song has a bit of a “strolling through Kohl’s vibe…” but Dua’s vocals really shine. I have a feeling this is one of the songs that will grow to be my favorite in three to five months.

“Anything for Love”

One of the shorter songs on the album, “Anything for Love” is a stunning work that contrasts with Dua’s typical dance hits at a perfect moment on the track list. This is the “driving at night” song on the album. She can do it all. 

“Maria”

I was nervous at first, because there are so, so many songs titled “Maria…” several of which are already in my usual Spotify rotation. However, I love the storyline that Dua paints in this song, which is refreshing from all of the men typically pining over this Maria. Anyway, this is absolutely a tune for the treadmill. 

“Happy For You”

A great ending tune. “Happy For You” feels like spinning in a circle in the middle of a field of flowers. Although melancholy, I am choosing to feel empowered by this song, which will certainly be making the track list for my daily commutes to work. 
Overall, this album marks a fantastic new era for Dua Lipa and her fans, released at the perfect time for the “Hot Girl Summer” vibes. Radical Optimism is a hit, and I, for one, will be living my best Dua Lipa summer with these tunes as my soundtrack. Here’s to all the Dua fans out there!

Lara is a senior at Connecticut College, where she is pursuing a double major in environmental studies and economics with a minor in dance. Her interests include choreography, sustainability, the performing arts, and conservation.