Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
dua lipa at the barbie premiere
dua lipa at the barbie premiere
Warner Bros
Culture > Entertainment

Dua Lipa’s New Song Is The Beginning Of The Disco Revival

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

Earlier in October, pop star Dua Lipa began teasing fans by deleting all her Instagram posts and writing cryptic messages on the internet, all while debuting her new red hair. Fans began speculating this to be a new album announcement, as this is a very common marketing tactic used by musicians when preparing for the release of new music. Ever since the release of her second album in 2020, Future Nostalgia, the pop artist has become a multi-media danger, featuring on the cover of numerous magazines, hosting a podcast for BBC, and collaborating on a high-end clothing collection with Donatella Versace. The 28-year-old is a fashion icon to many and her Instagram feed was a style bible in itself, full of casually glossy photo dumps from glamorous locations — until she deleted it to celebrate her return. 

Although Lipa’s third studio album hasn’t been formally revealed yet, she did previously confirm that she would be making a comeback in an interview with the New York Times earlier this year. However, she did announce her new single, “Houdini,” which was co-produced by Kevin Parker and released earlier this week. The pop singer’s third studio album is expected to be released in 2024, and the aforementioned Times story states that it is greatly influenced by the psychedelic sounds of the ‘70s. Her current single heavily showcases these motifs, as her gorgeous vocals combine to create the ideal blend of Tame Impala-esque psychedelic pop and groovy Dua Lipa vibes. Lipa makes a forceful, impressive disco return with yet another unforgettable lyrical idea. The idea that she chose the shorthand for performing a disappearing act for the name of her comeback song is a bit strange at first glance, but the message of the song and the lyrical play on the word ties the song together in a perfect little bow. “Houdini” is a  reinvention of Lipa’s liking for disco and her knack for leaving a clean, poetic theme rather than a psychedelic daydream or avant-garde fantasy. It’s brutally catchy without being too repetitive, and it does a better job than Future Nostalgia of fusing her love of classic sounds with pop songwriting techniques.

The song begins with a messy-sounding beat that later gets built up with the introduction of an ’80s-inspired synth. The catchy chorus that features the lyrical wordplay on “Houdini” is introduced, hooking listeners immediately. The production almost feels like a time capsule from the ‘70s and ‘80s with its eerie synths and dance beats, similar to that of music by Michael Jackson and other notable musicians of that time period. While modern-day artists like The Weeknd have been incorporating old motifs and musical styles into their new sound, Lipa is combining the energetic styles of ‘70s disco music with ‘80s beats and adding a touch of her own style to create a new wave of psychedelic pop that is uniquely her own. I could totally picture this song being played at a disco in the ‘70s or at a club in 2023. 

With the release of the single on streaming platforms, Lipa also released the music video on YouTube. The production levels of this video are more relaxed than her previous music videos, which often have elaborate sets, choreography, and costuming. This video is set in an empty dance studio and mainly showcases Lipa dancing. In some scenes, she’s dancing with a group of male backup dancers as they carry her in the air and follow along with her elaborate choreography. The format of this video shares a great deal of stylistic similarities with Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 music video “Physical,” which could show just how much inspiration Lipa takes from the decade. Some fans also compare the music video to that of Troye Sivan’s “Rush,” which was released earlier this year, as it too featured Sivan doing complicated choreography with a group of male backup dancers. Lipa has undergone a great deal of scrutiny throughout her career for her dancing and stage presence when performing. She has since proven her critics wrong by showcasing her dancing skills and improving her stage presence in performances, with her most notable being her 2021 Grammy performance. This music video is just a further reassurance that she, in fact, can dance.

“Houdini” is, essentially, a further indication of what Lipa does best, and that is making catchy pop music that people can dance to. With her new album ahead, we can expect a growing popularity in disco and the rise of psychedelic pop in mainstream media and the music world.

Sheila Rafizadeh participates actively in Pace University's Her Campus. She is currently a junior majoring in criminal justice with a minor in pre-law. Sheila works as a staff writer for the Pace Press, the campus newspaper, in addition to Her Campus. For the academic year 2023–2024, she also serves on the university's social justice committee. Outside of school she is also a part-time volunteer at her local animal shelter that she’s been working at since high school. Sheila’s also an active member of the University’s Muslim Student Association as well as the Criminal Justice Society, and is on the Pre-Law track. Some of Sheila’s interests include reading, listening to music, and playing the guitar. She’s been playing piano, bass, and violin since she was a child and is very eager to write album reviews and music related articles for Her Campus. In the future she hopes to go to law school on her path to becoming a family lawyer