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A celebration of British pop music

Dua Lipa by Melanie Smith As a 70s child, one of our writers Paul Clarke has always loved pop music and recently he has returned to his first love thanks to Dua Lipa. Here Paul explains why he thinks a new generation of young British pop acts should be celebrated not sneered at.

A few years ago my best mate got into an emerging young British singer called Dua Lipa who was on the road promoting her debut album. The Kosovo-born singer turned out to be his gateway drug into following a whole new generation of up and coming – mainly British – singers who could be broadly lumped together as pop acts. It also resulted in me and his long-suffering daughter being dragged along to see them at various Manchester venues.

I’ll admit that when he had what appeared to be a late, late, late midlife crisis I was sceptical. Not because I am against pop acts – after all, who doesn’t like Abba – but more a fear it was going to be wall to wall auto-tuning, backing tapes or, the horror of horrors, lip-synching.

I am not afraid to admit I couldn’t have more wrong as it has been the exact opposite. Dua Lipa at Manchester Academy was the game-changer.

I’d seen countless indie bands in the different Academy venues over the years and sadly most of them thought a stage show was the occasional mumbled ‘Hello’ or ‘cheers’. The low point was enduring Nine Black Alps sullenly play virtually a whole gig as if we weren’t in the same room.

In complete contrast, Dua bounced onto the stage clearly glad to be there and from the first second was totally connected with a mainly young and slightly overexcited crowd. This continued throughout the gig and it was as if she realised her fans had paid hard-earned money to be there, so a big show with dancers and a crack band wasn’t an unreasonable expectation. Her powerful voice filled this aircraft hangar of a venue, and her band offered a funkier live version of tracks from the record.

Dua Lipa
It’s certainly a different experience being in this sort of crowd. The first thing you notice that as soon as any act comes on there is a sea of smartphones straight up into the air to the point you can barely see the band, and you feel like saying in a slightly old man way: ‘just enjoy the moment’. But this is a new generation, and Dua’s lyrics about bad relationships, and the pressures of modern life, clearly struck a chord as virtually everyone in the room is gleefully singing along.

It might seem a stretch, but for blokes of my generation the anger of Anarchy spoke directly to my experience and fears, but songs like Boys Will Be Boys from Dua’s second album speak to her fans in exactly the same way. Snobs may sneer at that comparison, but my view is sod ‘em.

Since then I’ve been thoroughly entertained by Mabel and her hard-working gang of backing dancers at a freezing Warehouse Project. I loved both Sigrid shows as she bounded around the stage in front of her band offering a Sucker Punch of a show. The more sophisticated indie-pop of Shura playing a hometown gig at the Ritz was a lovely surprise, and to be honest, the only real disappointment was a lacklustre Zara Larsson at the Apollo, but that might have been that soulless venue as much as anything else.

We were even treated to a marriage proposal as Essex girl Anne-Marie at the Ritz invited a shaking bloke onstage to pop the question. The answer was yes if you were wondering, and there something endearing about the former karate champion spilling her guts about her messy love life in front of a group of strangers. Mind you, Anne-Marie soon got her own back happily blasting out numbers lambasting those dickheads.

It is true that none of these acts are doing anything particularly groundbreaking, but, in a subtle way, they have reinvented the pop genre to create banging tunes full of honest words that speak to their fans because they have lived it too.

In a world where young music fans are accused of being glued to their devices the fact that Dua, Sigrid and Mabel can effortlessly sell out big venues introducing their fans to the joy of live music is something to be celebrated rather than rewarded with a cynical shrug.


Dua Lipa – IDGAF ft. Charli XCX, Zara Larsson, MØ, Alma, in the Live Lounge

You can follow Dua Lipa on Facebook and Twitter.

~

Words by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to contact the photographer please email: mel@mudkissphotography.co.uk

Photos by Melanie Smith. More work by Mel on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be found here

The post A celebration of British pop music appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Watch this! Dua Lipa releases We’re Good from new extended edition of her second album

Pop’s hottest act Dua Lipa releases new single We’re Good from Future Nostalgia – The Moonlight Edition that includes previously unreleased tracks.

The album has been nominated for six Grammys and for this one Dua drops the tempo for a sensual tale of two lovers needing to go their separate ways. The video sees the British star serenading the guests in an exquisite looking restaurant on a ship from the turn of the 20th Century. In the same restaurant, a lobster’s fate takes a very unexpected turn in a surreal video directed by Vania Hetmann and Gal Muggla.

Future Nostalgia – The Moonlight Edition is now available on all digital platforms featuring three more previously unheard tracks If It Ain’t Me, That Kind of Women and Not My Problem (feat. JID), and will include the top 10 smash single Prisoner with Miley Cyrus, which has reached 250m streams worldwide.

Also on the album is Fever with Angèle, which spent three weeks at #1 in France and 11 weeks at #1 in Belgium, and J Balvin, & Bad Bunny UN DIA (ONE DAY) (Feat. Tainy) which has hit over 500m streams.

At the end of 2019, Dua performed her Number 1 global hit single Don’t Start Now at the MTV EMAs, ARIAs and AMA’s, and her sophomore album was released in March 2020 surpassing 294 million streams in its first week, and has now exceeded 6 billion streams across all of its tracks. 

Future Nostalgia also holds the record for the most-streamed album in a single day by any British female artist. Dua is the most listened to British artist on Spotify globally and the most listened to female artist on the platform. She has also had the longest run of 3 tracks in the top 10 by a female artist since 1955, and the album has spent 26 weeks in the top 10 since its release.

You can follow Dua Lipa on Facebook and Twitter.

~

Words by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.

The post Watch this! Dua Lipa releases We’re Good from new extended edition of her second album appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Weekly Gems 134

Caspian Pool – Insider

Caspian Pool

French synth-dance duo Caspian Pool likes to keep us on our toes with their wide-ranging selection of electronic music. Cue the colour-fuelled visuals for the foot-thumping ‘Insider’.

Sounds like: Nimmo, The Chemical Brothers, Hercules & Love Affair, Goldfrapp, Joe Goddard, Chvrches, Digitalism, Holy Ghost!, Boys Noize, Little Dragon, Cut Copy, Icona Pop

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Psyence – Retrospect

Psyence by Mark Vyse

Psyence by Mark Vyse

Anthemic alt-rock band Psyence returns with psychedelic sensibilities in rousing new single ‘Retrospect’, reminding us that every bitter end has a new beginning.

Sounds like: Queens of the Stone Age, Kasabian, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, The Blinders, Wolfmother

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Beharie – Me & My Lonely

Beharie

Distinctive Norwegian voice, Beharie shares his soulful, folk and ambient blend in the form of ‘Me and My Lonely’. Pastoral and beautiful, the track orbits a peaceful finger-picked acoustic riff.

Sounds like: Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Bombay Bicycle Club

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Flechettes – Chasing Youth

Flechettes

Wigan-based four-piece Flechettes share the radio-ready and uplifting ‘Chasing Youth’, with blazing indie-pop guitar riffs and catchy vocals, making for a seriously dynamic record.

Sounds like: Sea Girls, Red Rum Club, The Blinders, Stanleys, Garden Party

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Chillhum – Dancing (Alone)

Chillhum

22-year-old producer, songwriter and musician Ethan Bedell – aka Chillhum – shares ‘Dancing Alone’, a stripped back and melodic blissed-out track that celebrates the joys of being alone.

Sounds like: Gaspar Narby, Couro, Flume, Ed Sheeran, Flume, Louis The Child, Petit Biscuit, Troye Sivan, Robotaki

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Bre Kennedy – Where Did Summer Go

Bre Kennedy by Lindsey Patkos

Bre Kennedy by Lindsey Patkos

Songwriting heavyweight Bre Kennedy winds down for the cooler months with her acoustic track ‘Where Did Summer Go’, a nostalgic ballad that symbolises the passing and loss of time and dreams that never got to see the heat of summer.

Sounds like: Charli Adams, Taylor Swift, HAIM, First Aid Kit

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Izza – Lows

IZZA by Sam Rockman

IZZA by Sam Rockman

Dark-pop artist Izza chronicles the ups and downs of dealing with anxiety and depression in a world where people are obsessed with the perceived perfection of their online selves, in new single ‘Lows’.

Sounds like: Dua Lipa, Gracey, Call Me Loop, Mabel

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