Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Dua Lipa – New Rules

“4. Any Dua Lipa song covered by the Jukebox henceforth shall automatically earn at least a [9.00]…” Hey, wait a minute!


Nellie Gayle: Bathed in pastels, resplendent with cinematic longing and regret, the music video for “New Rules” is now inseparable from any conversation about the single. On its own, “New Rules” is catchy and danceable, and the pulsing beat drives Dua Lipa’s emotional yet wry lyrics. Lipa doesn’t necessarily rely on impressive vocal runs here but instead prefers to let her naturally deep and sultry voice dance with club-esque beats. All of this is underscored by what, in my opinion, is the best video of the summer. Much like Charli XCX’s “Boys,” the video toys with the male gaze and enjoys some gentle irony. While surrounded by a diverse array of women, with no men in sight, Dua Lipa belts out lyrics about a toxic relationship with what sounds like the scientific definition of a f*ckboy. The new rules she’s outlining are ones that establish women, and friendship between women, as the top of the food chain.

Iain Mew: “New Rules” was an obvious album standout, and the way that it subsumes big-drop-EDM into a packed-tight pop structure is as brilliant as when “I Knew You Were Trouble” did the same with dubstep. The fantastic video has turned it into one of my 2017 favourites, though: its characterisation of the chorus as a series of loving but firm interventions between friends highlights a perfectly judged mix of humour and determination. 

Eleanor Graham: A Cosmo listicle in the form of a song that doesn’t pretend to be anything more. Someone’s got to make neatly constructed, highly danceable, personality-free trop-house; it might as well be Dua. The video however is a solid [8] and deserves to be recognised as such. It colours in the black and white outlines, fleshes out the song to the fullest version of itself. Not just good but exemplar.

Dorian Sinclair: I have a tendency to think in diptychs. A lot of the time when consuming a piece of media I’ll ask myself what I want to put it in conversation with, which is how I found myself considering “New Rules” as a sort of mirror image to Marina & The Diamonds’ “How to Be a Heartbreaker.” Two list songs, one on getting into a casual relationship and the other on getting out of a serious one. And while the studied detachment of the former does appeal to me, I think Dua Lipa does a good job of capturing the weird yearning and careful self-discipline of being in the latter state — I just wish the production captured the mood as effectively.

Will Adams: Dua Lipa continues to underwhelm me, at least when she’s not in the company of giant production, whether from Martin Garrix or Netsky. The jaunty breakbeat on “New Rules” makes it worth revisiting, even though there’s not much else besides a pretty standard take on the “getting over” concept.

Alfred Soto: What prevents “New Rules” from being a lethargic take on old ones (a collection of electrostutters and trop house accents, yawn) is Dua Lipa’s singing choices, notably her descent into her lower register. 

Leah Isobel: Like most of Dua’s output thus far, “New Rules” features a great concept and a great voice in service of a perfectly average song. I like that she acknowledges the work of cutting someone out, even when she knows it’s what she needs to do; the escalating tension when she lists off her rules is delightful too. But where exactly is the chorus?

Hannah Jocelyn: That chorus is lyrically brilliant and endlessly memeable; the second thing is likely what’s making this song in particular do well after numerous tries over the past three years. Ian Kirkpatrick’s production is muscular, but sometimes buries Dua’s performance to the point where the actual title —  “I got new rules I count em” — is easy to pass by. I want memes for this like the ones that place Halsey lyrics over Spongebob, not just a short clip synched to that admittedly sick drop. The lyrics are fantastic here, even as the extra measure of “you’re not getting over him” feels awkward. That said, those are all just nitpicks, and I have zero problem with this being the breakthrough single.

Julian Axelrod: Dua Lipa and Co. paint the modern dating scene as an unending hellscape of bad choices and worse men, like Groundhog Day with fuckboys and booty calls. This empowerment anthem pull off a deceptively tricky balancing act: while it acknowledges the protagonist’s complicity in this power dynamic, it never lays the blame at her feet. Her sometimes-lover is the obvious villain here, with Dua as the voice of reason talking back to her from the bathroom mirror. I could do without the klezmer-lite chorus drop, but overall this single is further proof that Dua Lipa knows what the fuck she’s doing.

Stephen Eisermann: Part “Good Girl,” part “Girl,” but mostly Dua Lipa warning her friends about the major pests that are exes. Maybe it’s the conviction that she sings with, maybe it’s the catchy lyrics and song structure, hell, maybe it’s the familiar (and slightly generic) dance-pop beat that accompanies the song, but something just resonates with me.

Mo Kim: There is toughness and tenderness in Dua Lipa’s admonitions and the way she repeats them; how she moves from being the recipient of these rules to their deliverer. The structure of “New Rules” reflects this earned wisdom, bridging each iteration of the chorus with an emotional progression that feels both interminable and, in its own way, quietly triumphant.

Andy Hutchins: “Loud-soft-loud vocals over soft-loud-soft production” is really less a new rule than an old rule inverted, and loud-so soft it is difficult to distinguish the words of a thinly-written hook-loud is, as it turns out, vexing enough to hollow out what is otherwise a very good pop song that proves “Bad Liar” producer Ian Kilpatrick had a trick in his bag that wasn’t flipping “Psycho Killer” or working with Jason Derulo and Andy Grammer. (Remember “7 Things”? Imagine how good “If you’re under him? / You’re not getting over him” would work in a space similar to “And the seventh thing / I hate the most about you? / You make me love you”?)

Thomas Inskeep: “If you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him” is an awesome lyric in a how-to-get-over single, first of all. “New Rules” has got a whole set of pretty good lyrics, in fact, and on top of it, the music is tricky, jumping around in slightly unexpected places. This track never sits still, which works to its extreme advantage. I’d like it if more pop in 2017 sounded like this.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “New Rules” is a tale of psychological horror. This song would love for you to believe that it’s just another trop-house hit but all the usual signifiers only highlight how tormented Dua Lipa is by her ex-lover. Thoughts of him leave her sleep-talking, but she’s also spending every waking moment trying to move past him. And as such, she establishes specific guidelines to come out of this post-breakup alive. The pre-chorus captures this anxiety perfectly: Lipa calmly recites these new rules and explains why they should be followed, but the climbing synth melody reveals the panicked state she’s hiding. The chorus’s switch to the first-person and beat drop convince you that she’ll be OK. But aren’t we forgetting something? She’s spent a lot of time admitting that this is still a process — “I never learn,” “I gotta tell them to myself,” “I’m still trying to learn it by heart.” Which is why the return of that synth line in the final chorus is a brilliant move — it ends the song on a haunting cliffhanger.

Ashley John: A song that is impressively boosted by a boring video and sounds like your single friend giving unsolicited advice on a breakup. Little Mix’s version of the post-breakup anthem is more convincing and interesting.  

Reader average: [6.93] (15 votes)

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19 Responses to “Dua Lipa – New Rules”

  1. “…boosted by a boring video”


  2. lol i’m sorry but they’re just doing bad choreo in pastel outfits!!! i don’t get why this is supposed to be novel!!!

  3. It’s not necessarily novel, just well-executed. Same with the lyrics – there’s nothing particularly new about listing reasons to stay away from your ex, but there’s something a little sinister in Dua Lipa’s deliverly, as if she’s planning murder, and the same goes for the video: there’s a serious, hard intent to every move.

  4. I shouldn’t have shied off from praising the video in my blurb, but I’ll just say what I needed to here: THIS is an example of somebody using a music video the right way.

  5. Gonna have to agree with the pro-vid people. If there’s a vid that deserves (deserved?) to get viral it’s this one.

  6. still think this is overall below average (the flamingos at the end?), but I am willing to reconsider it in a post-Bachelorette season finale world as the background music behind Rachel and Peter’s breakup interview

  7. Anyone else getting a kpop vibe from this video? I can absolutely see someone like IU doing this video, or even Red Velvet or Oh My Girl.

    The song is somewhere between a 6 and a 7 from me. I LOVED Be the One and New Love and somehow the following singles just haven’t grabbed me the same way. *walks off grumbling about major labels/mainstream music/corporate interference*

  8. “sounds like your single friend giving unsolicited advice on a breakup”

    Think that’s kinda the point of the song sis.

  9. the video reminds me of a pastel expansion of the xx’s “islands”, the beat inna at her most “amazing”, dua lipa’s vocal… um… something good. blanking on that one. anyway: LOVE

  10. Isn’t the first half of the video basically a scene from La La Land?

  11. @Marko yeah it’s exactly like the scene in La La Land where the girls are getting ready for the party! which is probably the least annoying bit of La La Land

  12. Flamingos symbolize beauty, balance, and grace. They also tend to represent confidence. Often flirtatious. Bold.

  13. Can someone explain to me the hate for La La Land? Like, besides the laughable and, frankly, offensive idea that a white man is fighting to save jazz and a black man is painted as a sort of antagonist in that fight, I thought the movie was stellar. I mean, Emma is a godsend.

  14. I think you answered your own question Stephen

  15. Also I ran out of time for this one but I love it – ~”song of the summer “~ (from someone finally emerging from winter hibernation)

  16. if only this song had a good chorus

  17. @Stephen, I was actually really excited for the film after being impressed by Whiplash but I honestly did not think the songs were that memorable, and “City of Stars” is especially bad (I am still legitimately shocked people like it so much). Neither Emma nor Ryan are great singers or dancers and I’m not sure I’d enjoy their performances more even if the film went for a “they’re not professionals! they’re normal people!” vibe.

    Ryan’s character in particular seemed sort of hollow… like he was transplanted from one of his films with Refn. Emma perhaps less so but both didn’t seem fleshed out beyond their occupations/goals. The film already made rooting for them challenging—we already know they’re talented, they just haven’t had their big break (cf. Whiplash, where the dude actually works to become a better drummer)—so scenes where the characters fight (why were these not musical moments?) and are going through these emotional moments did very little for me.

    I’m ok with “style over substance” (because in my book, that often means the style IS the substance) but I’m not even sure I agree with a lot of the stuff Chazelle was going for. The opening sequence in particular is a disaster; people need to stop caring about doing things in one take and should maybe focus more attention on other ways the camera can be utilized to convey [anything]. It’s pretty but it also pales in comparison to its influences (are we really gonna say it’s up there with Demy? COME ON). The final sequence is cool, but it was also the exact moment in the film where I realized the romance depicted was extremely trite and needed a manipulative “what if?” montage to do what a great script and great acting could’ve done.

  18. @Joshua, I went into it more looking at it as an Emma Stone Oscar vehicle so I was pleased. I definitely agree that the songs were meh (especially COS – wowza is that song trite, boring, and poorly sung) and that neither is a stellar singer/dancer, but I never really expect much from Gosling (overrated as hell) and I felt Emma’s emotion in the fight scenes and audition through and through.

  19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLjNTTCVat0