Culture

Dua Lipa's vocals don't waver

Descriptive Text

It would be incorrect to say that Dua Lipa is entering the era of her decline. The songs of her upcoming album, "Houdini" and "Training Season", are currently in the top 20 most listened songs in the world on the "Spotify" platform. But there's something else about the way they're written—captivating for the bleak, unnatural way of writing—that makes them hard to love. Some media outlets are speculating if she might be on her way down the other side of the hill of fame.

This performance should calm them down a bit. In her second outfit of the evening she launched into "Training Season" and while I find the song quite slow-paced and non-depressing on this recording, Lipa delivers a truly powerful vocal performance. She sounds like she absolutely must be in the mood she's singing about. Her voice does not waver even as she crouches around a large troupe of acrobatic dancers. This is the kind of vocal training that only big pop stars can put themselves through – and it results in a powerful opening.

The UK may be a radically rude little island - but some things make me wave the British flag like I'm the admin of a Spitfire maintenance Facebook page, and our love of rhythmic music is one of them. More than rap and indie-rock, more than Dua Lipa trying hard, commercial dance is our national pop music, and how we came together around Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding's Miracle song to make it number one for eight weeks, it had me peering slyly from the white cliffs of Dover.

My millennial nostalgia was quintessentially squeezed by Harris with the classics "Tell it to my heart", "Castles in the sky" and "Seven days and one week" while Goulding's age made her the perfect "trance" vocalist. But we don't get a kick out of this achievement just through nostalgia: in the latter part it's a kind of less-than-perfect songwriting.

Goulding stays in that ethereal tone throughout, rarely bringing out that harsher note that so differentiates her voice from the rest of her peers — and definitely the disinterested Harris hits some gear that may or may not be related. But when the performance starts to feel out of place, he gives it the full treatment with a hard-hitting "trance" break taken from Hardwell's remix of the song, as Goulding harmonizes with her back-up dancers like they're a bunch of kids who've just been put on a toilet on fire at the "Leeds" festival.

Even a year ago, this booking may have felt a bit B-list, but McRae has become absolutely so huge in the interim that it now seems dangerous. Enviably, for the best international song, it has been a huge success on air. Anyone who pegged her as a Billie Eilish clone after her piano ballad "You broke me first" has been proven otherwise: some of her best performances have been around deep house (You), the techy genre EDM” (10.35) the brilliance of a new wave (She”s all I ëanna be).

There's a lot of purposeful movement while she lets the background beat do the heavy lifting. It's definitely a segment intentionally left out to make her choreography go viral as a street dance — and while my heart rates are such that I can barely say my name after doing all of this, she doesn't hold back. firmly in her vocal comfort zone. It can't help but feel disappointing considering this is the biggest star across the pond the Brits have come across. Meanwhile, I'm also having a full-on new dad moment to be confused by her outfit choices.

If you need a run down of who Jungle are, they named themselves after some of the UK's music visionaries, and then went on to make some of the most wicked music in Britain. They started on the Fifa-14 screen with the likes of 'Busy Earnin'' and have since graduated to what sounds more 'live, laugh, love' funk and soul music with less angles than kitchen tried by small children. Their album "Volcano" sounds like a mix of other artists with everything that makes them good artists - it's not sodium salt. Not as tempting as “Oof no I musn”ts”. Or if someone requests that Adobe AI music software make a song for J Dilla fot Tory barbecues. The interiors are so useless that it should probably be put on an Arts Council watchlist for artists most threatened by artificial intelligence replacement. They look nice and one of them cried a little when he won for best group and I'm not that tired to cheer - but anyway, Young Fathers are right up there.

They are playing their hit "Back on 74" which has a very nice, if not trivial, chorus melody and the dancers lift the cruise ship that feels just a little. But this is one of the most forgettable performances I can remember from the Brits, which is to say that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have jammed the Guardian's fuse and hit him in the mind's beam with "Men in Black". The earth rolls forward and leaves this behind.

There's fairy dust throughout this performance, a crowning moment for a Cinderella of "pop" who at this point wasn't so much invited to the ball, and was left to drift from the depths of a major musical group for years. She broke away from that flat deal and became one of the UK's most successful independent artists. A remarkable turnaround: out of her record seven nominations, she got six wins.

First she performed "Ice cream man" on the piano: a song about being sexually assaulted during a recording session, and it's the kind of raw, honest songwriting that sounds like she wouldn't make it under Polydor Records. ". Then she brings the orchestral version of "Prada" her mega hit that made her nominated with one of her two songs. Then came the intro to "Escaspism" – her other nominated song this year – before moving into a big band arrangement.

Then it's on to an orchestral version of Prada, her mega-banger that earned her one of her two song of the year nominations, and then a 1920s lindy-hop intro to Escapism – her other song of the year nomination – before moving back into a sumptuous big band arrangement.

In my opinion, it's the freshness of the original version's "rap drum" programming that gives the song urgency and makes it feel like a nihilistic "bacchanalia" affair considering it's something you might actually hear in a battle of such. I don't think it needs the very telegraphic classicism of the orchestral version - at least not this unique, haunting song, or perhaps it doesn't fit its format. But there's no doubting the conviction about Rayes' qualities and her ability to put her pain behind the bigger stages.

(Taken from "The Guardian")