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January 28, 2023

Dua Lipa’s new single and music video fall flat

By YOOSOO YEO | February 6, 2020



Dua Lipa released a new single for her album Future Nostalgia this week.

You’ve probably heard of Dua Lipa, whether you’ve danced to her music or glossed over her name on Spotify’s top pop songs list. An English singer, Lipa has not only become a pop sensation at home but has also broken into American charts in recent years. 

She has collaborated with various famous artists such as Martin Garrix, Calvin Harris and Sean Paul and much to my liking (as a mega Blink), she even worked with K-pop girl group Blackpink on her single “Kiss and Make Up.”

The queen of dark pop released another much-anticipated single on Jan. 31. While fans will have to wait until April 3 to hear the full album Future Nostalgia, she has given fans a taste of three of the songs so far. This latest single “Physical” is a strong candidate for one of the songs that will fill dance floors this summer.

She wasn’t wrong when she told Billboard that the song is “definitely my craziest of high energy songs.” The song starts and ends with high tension and energy and like many of her previous songs, this feel-good banger surely brings us up from our blues. From the monochromatic outfits to the techno-esque disco dance moves, the music video definitely gets you on your feet.

Lipa had gotten inspiration for her song from Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 hit song “Physical,” the song from which she directly took the lyrics “Let’s get physical.” 

Lipa attempts to interpret the lyrics in her own way by mimicking the upbeat pop style of the song while revamping the dull music video that uses a double entendre of suggestive content and a literal interpretation of the word “physical.”

Following the release of two other songs of the album, “Future Nostalgia” and “Don’t Start Now,” “Physical” was much anticipated by fans as a retro-themed song. 

While the melody and beat of the song and the music video kept true to the theme, they fail to complement the content of the song itself.

I would say the beginning of the music video is the most fitting to the content of the song, but it really only goes downhill from there. A dark red fills the screen and the sexual tension between Lipa and her dance partner overwhelms us just enough. The sexual tension Lipa intends for us to feel stops the moment we start to feel it. 

In a not-so-smooth transition, the singer soon finds herself dancing in a kaleidoscopic layout among a sea of dancers. Throughout the video, the color of the scenes change from all purple to blue then yellow. The color blocking motif and use of spotlights only made me think that I was watching a retro High School Musical remake. 

Lipa’s own interpretation for the use of these colors is undoubtedly unique, but I don’t know if I would trade it for Newton-John’s music video. What also puzzles me are the clips of animation inserted between scenes. Maybe it’s that my artistic understanding falls short, but it just seems random and out of place. 

The repeated lyrics “Let’s get physical” and the sentiment it carries is not even close to well executed in the music video. If she had continued the initial sexually physical imagery we are given, the whole picture would have improved at least twofold. As a whole, the song and music video fail to complement one another.

I would say the main takeaway from this is that you should either just listen to the song or watch the music video with the sound muted.

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