Dua Lipa’s ‘Radical Optimism (Extended)’ Is A Psychedelic Excursion

A completely different take on the record...

When Dua Lipa shared her new album ‘Radical Optimism’ earlier this year it sparked celebration from fans, but also confusion in some quarters. The pre-release narrative held that this would be a psychedelic statement, co-piloted by Tame Impala guru Kevin Parker. The final record, however, was a slick, finessed pop record – somewhat different from the expectations we’d been fed.

Released overnight, the extended version of ‘Radical Optimism’ feels like the weighty psychedelic mission we’d been expecting. A solid hour of funky bass lines, ridiculous synths, and lysergic textures, it blends the pop suss Dua has long since made her own with markedly different landscapes.

It dials into the statements the Kosovo-born, UK-raised artists made to the press a few months back. “No one’s really making Britpop at the moment,” she told the Face in February, “but I have a feeling 2024 is gonna be the year.” 

The multi award-winning star added that she was “looking through the music history of psychedelia, trip-hop and Britpop…”

These words frame the Extended edition much more effectively than the standard edition, the No. 1 smash that was delivered earlier this year. It’s a reminder that disco was – in effect – a truly psychedelic form of music, and that Dua Lipa has always had a multitude of threads on her studio locker.

The release has already sparked fan theories of their own. Scanning through Reddit threads and social media, it’s clear that some believe this was the original ‘Radical Optimism’, and that the earlier release was perhaps modified by the label. It’s hard to imagine Dua Lipa submitting to those type of industry commands, and it also trims back the agency she’s fought so hard to achieve, but that theory speaks to the quality of music on show here, and how effective these arrangements suit the songs.

Tune in now.

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