Monday, December 14, 2020

Behind the Sample: Dua Lipa's "Love Again"

If 2020 was a person, it would've been named "Year Least Likely for a Dance Club Banger" in your high school yearbook.

This year, COVID-19 actively halted large gatherings, concerts, and--understandably--sweaty nightclub dalliances. 

However, that didn't stop Dua Lipa from putting out one of the year's most (dare I use the term) infectious pop albums with Future Nostalgia.

Even the album's title nails the mood of 2020--remember back when we could just pack a bunch of random people into to a tiny room and dance it out, breathing in one another's oxygen without a care in the world?  Who knew how much we'd take that for granted.

Lipa's major singles, like "Physical," have been blowing up the charts, even if her chants of "C'mon, let's get physical" seem weirdly out of place when you're manically bouncing around your bedroom by yourself.  But, it's that innate human desire for personal connection that's still striving to break out from the confines of your socially-distanced lifestyle.  So, in many ways, it's just the kind of album we needed.

Admittedly, I'm a fan.  Sure, I'd say I most typically gravitate towards the Rock genre, but I've always had a soft spot for a catchy Pop song. That's why if you saw my Year Wrapped list on Spotify, you'd see Dua Lipa holding her own right up there with the new Deftones album.

Upon my first full listen to Future Nostalgia a while back, I instantly picked up on a familiar sample from my youth in her song, "Love Again".

I paused the song and thought to myself, "Wait. Is that White Town?"

That's right, White Town.  Talk about some nostalgia...  Dua Lipa had me going all Marty McFly back to the year 1997 when my little sister owned the album Women in Technology based solely on the success of the one-hit-wonder, "Your Woman".  It's safe to say I've heard that song a few times, so  I'd recognize that little trumpety sample anywhere. But, what I didn't recognize was the rich history of its use, until I went down the proverbial rabbit hole.

According to, the Dua Lipa song does in fact owe a nod back to White Town, but that signature loop actually dates all the way back to a 1932 big band rendition of Bing Crosby's "My Woman," as performed by Lew Stone & the Monseigneur Band feat. Al Bowlly.  

Right off the bat, you can notice the familiar sample, which was originally performed by trumpeter Nat Gonella on the 1932 recording.  Do you think Gonella would've imagined a bunch of millennials going nuts over his trumpeting in 2020?

After being picked up and repopularized by White Town nearly 65 years later, that memorable trumpet sample has continued to find an audience.

Just 3 years ago, it found its way into another dance anthem, "Fight Back with Love Tonight" by German electronica duo, Kush Kush.  

Perhaps the Kush Kush sample more directly influenced Dua Lipa than White Town? After all, Lipa was only 2 years-old when White Town hit the charts (which subsequently makes me feel really old).  Or, who knows, maybe Lipa is a closet Big Band aficionado...? 

No matter the case, I always enjoy hearing a familiar sample and tracing it back to its roots.  After all, passing along a song's rich history to a new generation is one of the true beauties of music.  In fact, when taking something old and making it new, one could even argue the result brings about a certain... Future Nostalgia.

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