Getting to write on a brand new song for this column is like winning the lottery now - I had already begun mentally preparing to try and write something original on Despacito for the umpteenth time. Yet, thankfully, here we are this week with 21-year old Dua Lipa’s recently released electropop track, New Rules.
The song itself is quite fun to listen to. Dua Lipa has a striking, alto voice which suits the track wonderfully, and is similar to, but more powerful than Daya’s vocals in The Chainsmokers’ Don’t Let Me Down. The tune is, as expected, very catchy, and already stuck in my head after two listens. However, I’m personally a bit sick of electronic synth-songs topping the charts, which probably explains why my least favourite portions of the song are the instrumental breaks which contribute nothing to the track and make it sound a little more mediocre.
As someone who’s usually pretty critical of recent pop lyrics, I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the songwriters of New Rules. The track describes the “new rules” the subject has after a breakup with an unworthy boyfriend to get over him, and the list is pretty entertaining to follow, including items such as, “One, don’t pick up the phone / you know he’s only calling ‘cause he’s drunk and alone” and “Three, don’t be his friend / you know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning”. I would have been pleased to have such an empathetic song to listen to determinedly during some stage of a breakup, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Looking at the charts this week also made me realise that I hadn’t listened to several of the Top 10 during the Despacito monopoly over the past few weeks; a quick listen to some of them made me remember why. Feels, the Pharrell/Katy Perry/Big Sean collaboration holding second place this week is a tuneless track with a decent beat which doesn’t show off the talents of anyone involved. DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller’s Wild Thoughts in fourth place is a notch better melody-wise, but full of cringeworthy lyrics. P!nk’s new entry into the charts, What About Us, holds the fifth spot, and while her voice is as powerful as ever, the song itself isn’t as memorable as some of her older, popular tracks.
I think Dua Lipa deserves her spot at the top this week, especially given the quality of the rest of the Top 10. Nevertheless, here’s the problem with any song that I have to review for this column now: do I genuinely like it, or do I like it just because it’s new? Do I genuinely think New Rules is a decent track, or am I just grateful that Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee won’t be chanting “pacito, pacito” anytime in its 3 minutes and 40 seconds? I guess we’ll have to give it a few more weeks to find out…