The star ropes the producer in to rework her stellar Number One album. The result flits between modern pop, '80s soul and floor-filling house.
This summer Dua Lipa should have been celebrating the success of her hit-packed, UK Number One album Future Nostalgia on the road. Arena dates across Europe were locked in, with the final victory lap being a handful of festival shows, including a trip down to Worthy Farm for Glastonbury. But we all know what happened next.
With this summer’s music calendar halted, how do you fill your time after releasing your critically acclaimed (five whole stars from NME) second album? Inspired by a fan’s Zoom dance parties soundtracked by the record, Lipa opted, she’s said, to “take the party up a notch” and secretly work on this remix project. She enlisted the help of American house and techno DJ The Blessed Madonna, and together they set about reimagining each song from the record (and a few extra) for the club.
Club Future Nostalgia is less of a remix album, and more of a lovingly crafted mixtape. In among reworking of songs from Future Nostalgia are snippets and samples from pop classics (including Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance and Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl) and house and soul records.
The remixers and collaborators are genre-spanning and varied. On the one hand you have a glittering roll call of mega-stars that includes Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliott and Mark Ronson; and on the other there’s exciting new talent in form of Yaeji and Jayda G. And they all rub shoulders with cult legends such as Detroit House hero Moodymann and Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard.
Club Future Nostalgia is a pick-and-mix bag that flits between modern pop, ’80s soul and floor-filling house. There are moments of total euphoria – the jubilant opener from Joe Goddard, who adds his own twist onto title track with Hot Chip-style synths and Daft Punk-inspired whirrs, is the sound of a secret Glastonbury DJ set at 3am. Horse Meat Disco’s take on Love Again is equally exhilarating, filled with strutting beats and funk-laced instrumentals. There are moments of icy coolness alongside this, too, as when Yaeji reimagines Don’t Start Now, fusing the bombastic pop with stonking trap and house, turning it into the sound of pranging out at a rave in the early hours of the morning.
There are also outings for several unreleased songs. That Kind Of Woman, which oozes early noughties disco à la Kylie, gets the remix treatment by Jacques Lu Cont (the moniker of English artist and DJ Stuart Price); and The Blessed Madonna’s version of Love Is Religion is a pop-house belter with a singalong chorus.
High profile team-ups add some star power into the mix, but sometimes feel shoe-horned in for this purpose. While the recent The Blessed Madonna remix of Levitating, which features Madonna and Missy Elliott, is a fist-pumping call to the dance-floor, Mark Ronson’s squelching version of Physical, which includes guest vocals from Gwen Stefani, is lacklustre.
Largely, though, it’s an exciting and eclectic adaptation. It was a savvy decision to recruit The Blessed Madonna: the result is a collection exciting, genre-splicing remixes that you could genuinely imagine hearing in the club. It may not have been the album celebration Lipa was planning, but Club Future Nostalgia feels like a party all the same.