It has been nearly a year since Dua Lipa won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist following the incendiary arrival of “New Rules,” and the British pop star’s video for “Physical,” released Friday, embodies the fullness of being an artist. Beyond the urgency of the song’s synth beat and anthemic chorus, the accompanying video elevates the standard for pop videos. Dua Lipa races through a bustling technicolor world designed by the production company CANADA, the masterful team behind the iridescent Louis Vuitton 2020 promotional video.
The choreography for the “Physical” video has all of the elements of a runway show: model-types flood the moving set in high-fashion polychromatic wardrobes, waltzing and dashing around in perfect synchrony. Stunning anime-style graphics punctuate transitions throughout the video, mimicking the popular style’s dramatization of emotion and bright colors. What’s more impressive is the whimsical elements of the physical set, which include fluffy clouds popping out of the ground and gems hanging from the ceiling.
Dua Lipa doesn’t overcomplicate the narrative when translating the relatively simple lyrics to video format. As she repeats the line “Let’s get physical,” she plays tag with her love interest, whose heart she pulls out of his chest in an anime clip at the beginning of the video. Cameras zoom in and out as they stop to perform brief dance numbers, and overhead shots give the viewer a sense of the ordered chaos surrounding the couple.
In the past, Dua Lipa’s choreography has been satirized by TikTok users, who latched onto the “Dua Lipa dance” after a clip of her performing “One Kiss” went viral. A boy who goes by @zinccx on the platform has amassed over 230 million likes on his videos, many of which show him doing the dance, which mainly entails moving his hips back and forth. Although @zinccx has already uploaded a video of himself doing the Dua Lipa dance to the “Physical” chorus, the music video’s actual choreography shies away from any oversimplified movements that would be likely to catch on as a TikTok trend.
The “Physical” video follows the release of the masquerade-ball-turned-club-rave music video for “Don’t Start Now,” the first single from Dua Lipa’s upcoming sophomore album Future Nostalgia. Due out in April, Future Nostalgia’s debut could solidify Dua Lipa’s place as a leading pop artist of the new decade.
“It’s still a pop record—I love pop, it’s what I do,” Dua Lipa told Zane Lowe during a Beats 1 interview in December. “But it’s nostalgic—it has a disco influence to it, like the whole album is quite different from the first.”
Featured Image by Warner Records