Songs From the Lineup is a series that unpacks the musical lineup of the Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival through individual songs by the featured artists. Look for weekly installments right up through the festival.
Born in London, spending adolescence in Kosovo and moving back to London on her own when she was just 15 years old, new British pop princess Dua Lipa had to grow up fast. But living by herself gave the aspiring artist the freedom to focus on her music career, which began with a YouTube channel. Lipa would post videos of herself covering songs by singers such as Jessie J and Joss Stone, and those videos eventually led to a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 2015. Fast forward two years, and Lipa has rightfully earned her place in the spotlight with the release of her debut album.
On the self-titled release, Lipa sings about going through the stages of love—but it’s her song about a bad breakup, “New Rules,” that stands out most. How does Lipa deal with heartache? With a set of rules.
“One, don’t pick up the phone / You know he’s only calling ‘cause he’s drunk and alone / Two, don’t let him in / You’ll have to kick him out again / Three, don’t be his friend / You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning / And if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him.”
The mental list helps Lipa stay away from the toxic relationship she was in, and through the strength of girl power and friendship she finds herself getting over her ex by finding and building her self-confidence. Instead of going back for more, she challenges herself to do better.
It’s a refreshing twist in a world full of sad breakup songs that paint the picture of one feeling hopeless and alone. “All the sad things that happen are the things that linger on my mind the longest, the things that I feel like I want to write about. But then at the same time, I like dancing to it,” Lipa told The New York Times. “So it’s finding that mixture between lyrically it being very personal and inspired by events, and then being able to also listen to it and dance along and not think about what the lyrics can mean.”
With solid lyrics backed by powerful vocals and an upbeat melody that will be stuck in your head for days, songs like “New Rules” are what we need more of.