U.K pop-icon and 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras headliner, Dua Lipa, has released the high energy workout video for her most recent single “Physical“ taken from her forthcoming album Future Nostalgia.
Set for release on April 3 this year, Future Nostalgia delivers on its name-sake, paying homage to the aerobics-craze of the ’80s but featuring modern undertones of intersectional-feminist-empowerment and rewritten narratives of gender.
The video, featuring Dua Lipa in a sporty yet streamlined leotard has already racked up nearly 7 million views on YouTube, with fans drawing comparisons between the pop star’s 1980s-renaissance workout video and Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 aerobic masterpiece of the same name, Physical.
Self-proclaimed 1980’s expert and founder of Sydney’s retro-fitness workout boutique, Retrosweat, Shannon Dooley, gave Star Observer her thoughts on the video. She noted that unlike Dua Lipa’s workout track, Newton-John’s Physical was designed to accentuate comedic aspects, so as not to tarnish Newton-John’s “virginal” reputation or synonymise her with homosexuality.
“They had to change it at the last minute to make it more comical. There’s a lot of overweight men and a lot of slapstick comedy, but that wasn’t actually the original vision,” she said.
“It was meant to be something sexy, and definitely a bit gay, but producers and her record label got scared at the last minute and decided to counteract something that was meant to be quite sexual.”
“Dua Lipa’s video still keeps those comedic aspects of aerobics which fits the nostalgia-vibe perfectly, but I don’t think it’s apologetic at all for displaying sexuality, which you can see in both the men and women. The big difference between the two is that one couldn’t be racy, God forbid, while the other is freely-expressive.”
Dooley noted the importance of Dua Lipa’s workout video debuting after pop-culture’s “great-awakening,” – the period where movements such as intersectional feminism, and the queer-rights movement gained a mainstream discourse.
She also commented on how the video pays homage to the revival of ’80s nostalgia , and a need to go back to “a safer time.”
However, Dooley also believes that this revival simultaneously rewrites the 80’s through a post-awakening lens.
Dooley pointed out that other artists such as Lizzo in her music video, Juice, have also created ’80’s inspired music videos that are nuanced in their intersectional representations of gender, race, and sexuality.
“When people are stressed, seeing economic and politically hard times, they want to escape to a world that felt safe and brought them joy.
“Who wouldn’t want to go back to 1983 when it’s just Prince and Bananarama and no internet?
“However, unlike the 80s everyone can now wear a G-string leotard if they want. It’s almost like we’re updating that decade between 1980 to 1990. There are no rules today as far as ‘what boys and girls are supposed to wear’ so now everyone can get their toosh out, which they do in the video. That’s something that was only on the horizon 40 years ago.”
Future Nostalgia will include Dua Lipa’s Number one global hit single “Don’t Start Now”, as well as “Physical”. The new album will be available for download in April on all digital platforms as well as physical formats, including a fitting neon-pink vinyl record.