People on Twitter do not like Dua Lipa & The Blessed Madonna’s Club Future Nostalgia.
As in, they hate it.
And there’s a thousand more where these came from; I remember my timeline on the album’s release night being saturated—saturated, I tell you!—with scathing reviews of the album and vitriol directed at The Blessed Madonna (seen in the latter two tweets as The Cursed Madonna).
I, on the other hand, was dancing around my apartment like there’s no tomorrow.
It’s definitely perplexing to see so much hate leveled at an album that is, by all accounts, a triumph: it’s a remix album which exists as a cohesive, conceptually-unified work, a far cry from the hodge-podge single-heavy collections artists often put out. And the seamless mixing throughout is stellar, creating a truly unique dance party experience that hasn’t been (to my knowledge) attempted by an artist of this caliber since Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor. Plus, it’s critically acclaimed. Checkmate, stans.
But with that said, it’s not entirely unexpected. After all, stan Twitter loves the parent album Future Nostalgia, and for good reason. It’s one of the best pop albums in recent memory, and its disco-adjacent pastiche is nothing short of thrilling. Singles like “Don’t Start Now” are huge, and had it not been for the pandemic starting right around the album’s release, Future Nostalgia would have been an absolutely colossal era for Lipa.
Not one to let things as minor as global pandemics with no end in sight discourage her, Lipa announced Club Future Nostalgia on August 4, 2020, with a remix of “Levitating” featuring Madonna & Missy Elliott serving as the lead single. Stans were thrilled.
And then they heard “Levitating (The Blessed Madonna Remix).”
A far cry from the bouncy poptimism of the original track, the “Levitating” remix is dark and intense, with the ambience of a dimly-lit club saturated with sweaty strangers, all of whom (including you, let’s be clear) are so far from sober it’s not funny.
Well, Twitter was not having any of that.
People were particularly upset with Madonna’s (admittedly somewhat inconsequential) contribution to the track. After all, who could be mad at that killer Missy Elliott verse?
I’ll admit that I also wasn’t too keen on this remix the first time I heard it. In fact, I distinctly remember texting a friend that it was a “boot.” Ouch.
And then it started to grow on me. At first, like a rash. That propulsive beat found its way into my head infuriatingly often. I started learning the Missy verse. But I still wouldn’t claim to like the song until about a week later when I started playing it voluntarily, never confessing my sins to the Twitterverse.
By the time the entire album came out, the arrival of the “Levitating” remix in the tracklist was the purest shot of dopamine I’ve felt in a while.
Part of what makes Club Future Nostalgia so effective is the DJ Mix format it was first released in; every track transition is seamless, creating a nonstop 51-minute dance party. Listening to it feels like, well, being in a club (foreign concept these days), channeling the unique euphoria of realizing the DJ is playing a song you love to extraordinary results.
As far as the remixes themselves go, they’re admittedly a mixed bag. Some are among the best work of Lipa’s career (“Love Is Religion,” “Break My Heart / Cosmic Girl,” and “Levitating” are all standouts), and some are… “Pretty Please.” But weirdly, I don’t think having a miss or two in the mix is a strike against the album, particularly. If anything, it helps to really nail the club atmosphere: I’m sure a lot of us have been at clubs and parties where the DJ makes a, let’s say, choice with remixing a song.
The thing that makes Club Future Nostalgia work — and the thing that probably made stans hate it with such ire — is its utter refusal to function in the same way as its parent album, or even as most remix albums have. This, rather, is a work in its own right and seeks to achieve a different sort of high.
There’s been a major trend of (mainly white) women in 2020 pop evoking ideas of disco (Lady Gaga, Jessie Ware, and Kylie Minogue, just to name a few). It’s admirable, then, that Lipa is so committed to the bit to release a mix such as this in the vein of 12″ extended versions of the disco songs of days past.
If you’re remotely a fan of club music, if you’ve missed the feeling of being at a club well past midnight, or even if you just wanted to revisit Lipa’s album under a different circumstance, I urge you to give Club Future Nostalgia a chance. It’s a blast.
You can stream Club Future Nostalgia below.