Monday, February 11th, 2019

Dua Lipa – Swan Song

Exit music (for a film)…


Katie Gill: You know the song that plays over the credits of a movie while all the stars’ names flash by over some CGI graphics or stylized atmospheric movie scenes? Yeah. This is it. It aimed for “All the Stars” and ended up somewhere short. Not that it’s bad, of course. Just that it’s boringly there. It’s a perfectly serviceable credits song for what is probably a perfectly serviceable action movie and 100 per cent not as deep as Dua Lipa thought it was.

Vikram Joseph: Must be a tough gig to come up with a song that fits onto the soundtrack a fairly generic-sounding action/sci-fi movie and still stands in its own right; “Swan Song” sounds muddled and oversaturated from a production point of view, and underwritten as an actual song. There’s an unexpected reference to ACT UP, of all things, but the rest of the song is so vague in its allusions to resilience that it just sounds very awkwardly shoe-horned in. The attempts to build a sense of drama — tumbling brass, that numbingly persistent percussive patter — are obvious and irritating, and the chorus falls very flat.

Julian Axelrod: Big, shiny, and somewhat disconcerting if you look too deep into its void — much like the eyes of a certain battle angel.

Alfred Soto: It has steel, thanks to Dua Lipa and the context; writing a video game isn’t any more suspect than a Marvel Comics adaptation. When she glides across “swan,” it’s one of the new year’s more indelible pop moments. Credit Mattman & Robin for some of the help. Blame them too for an arrangement that won’t let up — it’s as if she’s at the Dolby Theater, belting this while in a cutaway Bradley Cooper politely claps.

Crystal Leww: I still don’t know what a Dua Lipa is — a Rita Ora for the new generation. Listen, “New Rules” is a bop but Rita had a couple of bops, too. 

Thomas Inskeep: “Swan Song” has some thrust to it, thanks mostly to Lipa’s vocal — she’s really one of the best pop singers we’ve got right now — but this fails in that you can clearly hear how it was written to soundtrack a forceful strut by the female lead character in a film based on a video game. It’s not bad by any means, but it ain’t special either.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The percussion is supple but persistent — like someone’s kneading their hands against your back. It acts to soundtrack the mental preparation one has before a big event. The cinematic horns and chanting make clear its impending nature, and Dua Lipa’s able to sell the generic lyrics as best as she can, dramatizing the hell out of the titular line with a resplendent glissando. Soundtrack work has been much worse.

Will Adams: There’s some nice drama via the orchestral stabs — taken from Junkie XL’s score for Alita — but unfortunately it’s wasted on a song that’s modeled on other blockbuster-pop fare and manages one of the most awkward hooks imaginable with: “swan song, swan song, SWAN DIVE.” Belly flop, more like.

Stephen Eisermann: It’s not a swan song, but it’s also not a good song. 

Reader average: [2.5] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Dua Lipa – Swan Song”

  1. There was an Alita video game adaptation (or at least a Gunnm one) but I’m pretty sure the film is based on the original manga, since it remains the case that not all Japanese things are video games.