In her first full-length studio album since Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa focuses on the confusing struggles of toxic love, moving on and everything else in between with her third project, Radical Optimism.

Lipa’s musical style is typically considered upbeat pop, as her discography moves between genres of disco and R&B. But Radical Optimism seems like a leap of faith across the bridge of experimentation. To many fans’ surprise, Lipa worked closely with psychedelic rock artist Tame Impala to produce an album that mimics the layered soundscape he gifts to his fans.

While each song on the eleven-track album is stained with her usual pop style, there is a new vibe that echoes throughout — 80s groove meets the UK rave scene energy with hints of synth-pop. But it seems her overwhelming, powerhouse of a voice is more often than not muffled throughout the album.

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A few of the tracks speak to that lingering sense of hope many feel right after a breakup, providing more days of sanity than misery. Her eighth track, “Falling Forever,” is an anthem of this sentiment. Lipa’s high-pitched, raw vocals plead on a held-out chord in the chorus, almost begging in desperation for her lover to stick around for as long as possible as she repeats, “Can it just keep getting better? / Can we keep falling forever?” 

This track describes that feeling in a relationship when the idea of a person becomes addicting and the red flags quickly turn to green in a state of delusion. Miss Lipa gets it.

“End Of An Era” is the epitome of a groovy summer track and a top contender for the album’s best song. As soon as the house beat begins, everyone listening is immediately transported to a resort near the sea of white cabanas. 

The unique way Lipa chooses to enunciate and elongate the end of her words leaves listeners craving more and more. Tame Impala’s influence certainly is prominent on this track with its deafening electric sound, high-paced tempo and overall out-of-body feeling. 

“Don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of something I’ve worked on on release day,” Tame Impala, whose real name is Kevin Parker, said in an Instagram post.

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Lipa reflects on her past experiences with a lover in the electric ballad, “Anything For Love.” Beginning with a slow, piano-driven instrumental, her vocals ring strong on this track, without the over-saturation of background tracks or heavy pop effects overpowering her.

That is, until the song’s second half begins and she can’t help but revert to her usual style. Her angelic sound is silenced by overproduction on a track that could have easily been one of her more relatable songs.

Most people can relate to the narrative of doing anything for love, but not as much when the sound of a synth instrument at its highest volume is drowning out the lyrics.

In contrast, the track “Happy For You” includes a chorus that belts the three words everyone struggles to say after a heartbreak. Except Lipa can say it, and does so proudly with the help of an exceptionally layered sonic tune. 

This song is everything “Anything For Love ” is missing and is jam-packed with a multitude of heart-wrenching lyrics, carrying a tone of genuine happiness for a former partner. 

With this as her end track, Lipa solidifies the rare relationship theme of optimism and proves her emotional maturity with the line, “She’s really pretty, I think she’s a model / Baby, together, you look hot as hell / And I didn’t even want to cry.”

While any artist should be given their flowers when they take a stylistic risk, it seemed to backfire for Lipa. The album was more of a decent try and nothing worthy of applause. Each new song was hardly indistinguishable from any of her other previous songs. 

But, can we blame her? Heartbreak and romance can sometimes be quite repetitive — at least she was optimistic about it.