Review: Dua Lipa searches self in ‘New Rules’

Review: Dua Lipa searches self in 'New Rules'

By Lucy Kiefert, Round Table entertainment managing editor

Don’t pick up the phone. Don’t let him in. Don’t be his friend.

These are the three rules Dua Lipa assigns herself in her newest single “New Rules” to prevent herself from returning to an ex she is determined not to be controlled by once again. A fast-paced song accompanied by a sweet yet cutting voice that ushers in anticipatory builds in all the right places, “New Rules” is a proper jam.

Lipa exhibits a melancholy honesty in “New Rules” and all of her material that allows her to make pop music, but escape the normal constraints belonging to a pop artist. Compositions of driving bass and dreamy synths blanketed by a darkly beautiful voice make up Lipa’s discography, and create sweeping landscapes for her tellings of love and loss. But what sets Lipa apart is her honest duality, her ability to be both soft and hard as she exhibits her open heart and toughened skin that make her both a lovable romantic and a bonafide fighter.

Coming from such an artist, “New Rules” is more than a simple pop song; it is an empowerment anthem for young women everywhere who have been wronged time and time again, but continue to fall back into familiar patterns that, paired with uncaring significant others, create their heartbreaks. Even the music video for “New Rules” is arguably targeted towards a female audience, with Lipa tempted to “pick up the phone” and repeat past mistakes, but inevitably stopped by her battalion of fellow girls who refuse to let her.

From the message associated with the song, an undeniably female strength can be drawn by listeners, perfectly sculpted to remind any woman (or man) that they do not need to depend on a significant other – especially one who hurts them each time they let him in. However, “New Rules” also offers a space of solidarity for those who, like Lipa, continue to struggle with detaching themselves from unsatisfactory relationships. Both demanding and consoling, this song is every positive reminder an impressionable youth could hope for. And it’s catchy, too.

Already in the midst of a world tour for her self-titled debut album with “New Rules” being one of the many songs on her nightly setlist, it is obvious that Dua Lipa depends on no one to help her achieve the success she craves. And with an album’s worth of songs of strength at their hands, one hopes that Lipa’s fanbase attains and maintains that same mindset, with her words of wisdom guiding them along the way.