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Singer Dua Lipa exposes how much fun the game of pop is to play

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According to the podcast and arbiter of celebrity minutiae Who? Weekly, famous people can typically be separated into the “thems” and the “whos”—the omnipresent ones you recognize and the obscure ones you probably don’t. In the current sphere of pop music, singer Dua Lipa undeniably qualifies as a “who.” She’s not ironic enough to ingratiate herself with the indie crowd like Marina & the Diamonds, and she’s not quite direct enough to suck in the soccer moms and dads. For the rest of us, though, that’s just fine. What we get is a sincere sneer from an aspiring celebrity who revels in exposing just how much fun the game of pop is to play. A single like “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” scans first as a braggadocious come-on but ends up doubling as a clear confession of her aspirations toward stardom—along the same lines as Charli XCX but without the need to indulge arty impulses. Lipa’s arsenal is straightforward post-Teenage Dream pop fare, with a gauze of synths stretched out over each track and a jigsaw puzzle of drum machines and sampled melodies that’s reliably pleasing if a tad confining. She opts to dance atop it all, respecting the craft of pop even as she pokes around within it while winking back. It’s unclear whether all this will make Dua Lipa a “them” when she releases her eponymous debut full-length via Warner Bros. this June—but it sure makes her interesting.   v

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