Netflix rolled out Song Exploder Volume 2 on December 15.
A quartet of diverse talents showed their stuff on the popular streaming platform with British pop diva Dua Lipa as the docuseries’ lead-in.
Along with Dua, host Hrishikesh Hirway goes through the paces with Las Vegas-centric rockers The Killers, American industrial hard rock band Nine Inch Nails, and Mexican pop-rock and folk singer/songwriter Natalia Lafourcade.
Based on the podcast of the same name, Song Exploder’s knowledgeable host takes his guests on a quest to discover how they went about writing, producing, and performing songs that ultimately became bona fide hits.
Nearly all musicians quantify their work as a process, but some seem to get on with it easier than others.
Dua Lipa was in the former category with one particular single on Future Nostalgia. Other hit singles from her second studio album included Don’t Start Now, Physical, Break My Heart, Hallucinate, and Levitating.
Those songs weren’t discussed but Love Again was since the statuesque 25-year-old singer/songwriter said she was stuck before coming up with that cut.
She had been meeting with her talented team at a London studio with no movement forward for at least a few days.
On camera for Song Exploder Volume 2, Clarence Coffee, Jr., one of her favorite collaborators, said it best when he declared that Dua “had lost her power.”
Dua Lipa was down before Love Again came along
Sadly, Dua was down at the time she was supposed to be working on her next song.
She had recently been in what she termed “a long-term relationship” with a person who had been “dishonest” with her.
To “manifest a new positive energy in her life” with her next effort.
“I have to write from things that I know,” Dua explained during the docuseries.
“It’s the only way I can truly express myself and really get a song that is honest and real,” she added.
This concept may seem trite to some, but with Love Again, that groundwork is germane to the project.
Not only that, but so many fans who follow Lipa can attest to going through a similar story whereupon they’re losing at love one moment and then winning love back again the next.
Dua exists in two places at once
One dilemma was quite prevalent for the accomplished artist.
Dua Lipa admitted on camera for the Netflix docuseries that she has often wanted to be in two places at the same time, something she achieved with Love Again.
The dancey tune brought her back to her childhood during which time she moved around a lot. She started life in London but her family took her back to their native Kosovo and then Dua finally returned to London when she was 15-years-old.
Not necessarily as a way to literally bridge that gap between homes, Dua is proud of her dual nationality. In fact, she did find she could live in both towns with Love Again specifically and with Future Nostalgia in general.
Love Again was also a way for her to bring in the influences of Blondie and Prince — artists her parents loved to listen to when Dua was little — to marry with her acquired taste for dance music. This aspect probably came along when she was arguably a bit older during her former life as a model.
Additionally, Dua wanted to build on her memories as a minor while also coming up with a fresh modern twist and then building the song — and the rest of the album — onto that.
For Love Again, she went for a juxtaposition between happy and sad that ended up being joyous. Even listening to the tune without any visuals can bring a smile to your face.
Dua Lipa and company get the job done
The process for making Love Again happened when Dua showed up at the studio to really roll up her sleeves and get the job done.
“Hot damn, you got me in love again,” Coffee and his cohort, a Liverpudlian talent called Chelcee Grimes, sang.
Immediately, “hot damn” became “g*d damn” because the original expression was not in Dua’s wheelhouse.
What was in her wheelhouse was the feeling that came from what would become the chorus of Love Again. The song depended upon a rudimentary chord progression according to producer/co-writer Stephen (Koz) Kozmeniuk.
To that end, this was a compliment. After all, to become rudimentary means acceptance on so many levels.
As for how the top of the song came about?
In the recording space, Coffee repeatedly hummed a simple rift that reminded Dua of the Star Wars theme.
This anthem — sampled from Al Bowlly’s My Woman and used in the White Town tune Your Woman from 1997 — became the song’s wordless beginning.
This dramatic entrance earned the nu-disco tune an entrance similar to the way Donna Summer hits started back when Studio 54 was on fire and so was she.
As a way to bring richness and class to the song, Drew Jurecka played the violin in a series of yearning notes that also added an element of eerie.
Now the track was beginning to take shape but the structure was not settled until very late in the writing process. This proved difficult for all involved as putting Love Again together was a group effort, for sure.
Does Love Again satisfy?
So is Love Again a stellar effort from shining star Dua Lipa?
Apparently, her parents always knew their daughter would land a hit with this particular tune. After all, they named her Dua, the Albanian word for love.
Song Exploder Volume 2 has been streaming on Netflix since December 15, 2020.