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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Dua Lipa turns back clock on ‘Training Season’

Nathan Rich

Dua Lipa’s album rollout continues with her latest single, “Training Season.” Released to streaming services on Feb. 15, the song takes cues from disco music, repackaging the bygone style with a contemporary sheen.

It comes as no surprise that Dua looks to the past for inspiration. Her last album, 2020’s “Future Nostalgia,” was an amalgamation of pop styles from various decades, with glimmers of the 70s, 80s and 90s shining throughout. The record was a smash hit, topping the UK albums charts and winning a Grammy. Critics fawned over her saccharine choruses and infectiously funky synthesizers, hailing her as a “pop visionary.”

Following the release of “Future Nostalgia,” Dua Lipa contributed to a scattering of songs, most of which continued her appreciation for music of the past. In 2022, she appeared on Megan Thee Stallion’s single “Sweetest Pie,” a track that takes stylistic cues from Atlanta bass, a subgenre of the Miami bass style that originated over three decades ago. That same year, Dua also appeared on Calvin Harris’s “Potion,” alongside Young Thug. Due to the track’s sultry synthesizers and rhythmic percussion, “Potion” feels like it was pried straight from a sweaty dance floor in the 70s. Towards the end of 2023, Dua Lipa kicked off the hype train for her new album with the single “Houdini.” The song could be categorized as a “Future Nostalgia” B-side, as its familiar electro-disco bend elevates Dua’s catchy choruses with glossy chord progressions.

Much like “Houdini,” “Training Season” focuses on Dua Lipa’s frustration with romance. The lyrics reference the failures of lovers past, laying down ground rules for any suitors on the horizon. Lines like “Don’t wanna have to teach you how to love me right” and “Someone with some potential” highlight Dua’s need for an experienced lover — this can’t be his first rodeo. She claims that his inadequacies will work against him, as those flaws will be exposed in the dawn of their entanglement. In the chorus, Dua shares her idea of an ideal man, singing that she needs someone who “Knows just how to take control / When I’m vulnerable.” Her preference for decisiveness isn’t born out of bitterness; rather, it is out of a desire for comfort and security. Although she struck out at this year’s Grammy Awards, she previewed the song in one of the better performances of the ceremony.

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala handled a large part of the production for both “Houdini” and “Training Season.” His solo work gleans a good deal from past eras of music, so it makes sense that he would work with someone who pays homage to older records so frequently. Disco music has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years. Artists like Kylie Minogue and Jessie Ware have built on the genre’s foundation with their albums “Disco” and “What’s Your Pleasure?” Even more mainstream artists, such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Doja Cat and The Weeknd have dabbled in that retro sound. Despite its obvious influence from disco music, the instrumental for “Training Season” shirks the label of a blatant pastiche, instead using complicated scales, pitch-shifted vocal chops and programmed sub-bass — techniques that weren’t prevalent in the 70s. The result is a refreshingly frank dance track that teases at the potential of Dua Lipa’s next album.

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