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Dua Lipa’s best songs, from Don’t Start Now to New Rules

The chart-topping, award-winning artist has been confirmed as the most played musician of the past year in the UK

By
09 June 2021
D

ua Lipa has had a very big year. She hoovered up two BRIT Awards, one Grammy, a number one album with Future Nostalgia, and even a Guinness World Record for most tickets sold for a livestreamed concert by a solo female artist.

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that Lipa has now been named as the most played artist of the past year in UK. She came top of a list compiled by Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), and saw off the likes of Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Calvin Harris and even Ed Sheeran, who’s been top of the pile since 2017.

The success of her second album Future Nostalgia was the rocket fuel that took things stratospheric for Lipa, with most fans and critics agreeing that it was her finest work to date. But when it comes to the best songs from across her discography, which tracks make the cut? We looked back across her career and picked out the essentials.

Don’t Start Now (2019)

Don’t Start Now was the lead single on Future Nostalgia and arrived way back in October 2019 (feels like a long time ago, eh?). That meant it was the first inkling that something special might be on the way, but even by itself, this is one of Lipa’s best ever tracks: that bass is positively pneumatic, the piano-y pre-chorus is perfect and the use of cowbell is nothing short of sublime.

Physical (2020)

You can barely move for 80s-style pop bangers right now, but it’s worth wading through all the revivalism to seek out Physical. With a bassline straight out of a cheesy cop movie and even an accompanying workout video, it was knowingly retro, but had enough new energy to justify all of the throwback fun.

Levitating (2020)

This might just be the grooviest track on Future Nostalgia — a pretty hotly contested title — and it’s a perfect example of Lipa’s ability to fuse classic pop sounds with slickly modern songwriting. The remix with DaBaby helped her to unlock the American market, too, which is always easier said than done.

New Rules (2017)

Less of a pop song and more of an instruction guide on how to avoid a regrettable rendezvous with your ex, New Rules was the biggest track off her self-titled debut album. The advice is watertight — don’t pick up the phone, don’t let him in, don’t be his friend — and the track took Lipa to the top of the UK charts for the first time. A sign of things to come.

Be the One (2015)

Looking back now, Be the One feels like a million miles away from the tightly wound nu-disco style of Lipa’s latest material. It was a breezy, pastel-coloured piece of dream-pop, with a relatively low-key vibe that meant it wasn’t initially a hit — when it did finally pick up though, it showed Lipa as a force to be reckoned with.

Break My Heart (2020)

Break My Heart certainly wears its influences on its sleeve — you wouldn’t think twice if you heard that bouncy bassline on a classic Chic track, and INXS members Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence are credited as writers due to similarity to their hit, Need You Tonight — but it all crystallises into something special.

Cool (2020)

It might seem a bit silly to label a song with 84 million Spotify streams as a deep cut, but in amongst all the other megahits on Future Nostalgia, Cool probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Awash with glimmering synths, punctuated by a whip-crack snare and — you guessed it — another killer bassline, it definitely would’ve worked as a single.