Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” may be the theme song for social distancing during coronavirus (“don’t show up / don’t come out” embodies what we’re all supposed to be doing under NHS guidelines) but there’s another standout from her new album Future Nostalgia. Lipa’s new song “Love Again” is a total bop — and it’s possible the track felt familiar to you upon your first listen.
There’s a simple explanation as to why. The trumpet hook at the beginning of “Love Again” is a sample of the 1997 hit by White Town called “Your Woman.” The song has a crazy backstory: it was written by White Town's sole performer Jyoti Prakash Mishra, a self-described straight edge Marxist, as a gender flip in which he sang from the point of view of a woman in a bad relationship. It's surely a track Lipa would have grown up listening to.
The lyrics of "Your Woman," though sung by a man, are from the perspective of a woman who wants the person she's with to break up with her and put her out of her misery.
"Now I know your heart, I know your mind / You don't even know you're bein' unkind / So much for all your highbrow Marxist ways," White Town sings. "Just use me up and then you walk away / Boy, you can't play me that way / I could never be your woman."
The chorus line, "I could never be your woman," lent itself to the title of the 2007 Amy Heckerling-directed film, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, about a divorced woman who starts going out with a younger man.
"Your Woman" was originally recorded in Mishra's bedroom. Mishra sent out five EPs to radio stations. Four weeks later, "Your Woman" hit number one on the UK charts sans any promotion, according to Wired.
Mishra described his decision to write from a woman's perspective in an interview with Dazed in 2017, saying, "I hate most male songwriting. A lot of it falls into two camps: it’s either twee indie songwriting where it’s about some girl who’s perfect and runs through fucking flowery fields, or it’s like, ‘She done me wrong, she’s a bitch-whore.’ It’s basically the paradigm of virgin or whore made into male songwriting."
White Town was essentially a one-hit wonder, but things could have gone very differently for the musician. Madonna reportedly wanted him to write songs for her, though he ultimately never met with her, he told Dazed.
"I was being pursued by Sony, EMI, Universal, and Maverick. I went over [to Los Angeles] to meet them. In the end, I sadly signed to Universal – and I say ‘sadly’ because for two decades they’ve done nothing but sit on the money," Mishra told the outlet.
Mishra sampled the horns in his song, which also feature in Lipa's song, from a 1932 recording by Al Bowlly. That's right, there's a 2020 hit that actually uses music from 1932.
The song also appears in David Robert Mitchell’s 2018 film Under the Silver Lake, around the one-hour mark, in a scene where Sam (Andrew Garfield) is at a club. It’s also on the Daria soundtrack, played in a 2000 episode titled “Legends of the Mall” (the animated MTV series was notable for giving ‘90s bands a platform for their music). “Your Woman” was also sampled on Naughty Boy’s track “Never Be Your Woman,” featuring Wiley and Emeli Sandé, which was released in 2010.
Though “Love Again” may be one of Lipa’s hidden gems on Future Nostalgia, she was more surprised about the overwhelming response to her song “Physical.”
“I was in the studio writing and then it was really kind of the last nine months honing it in and just sessions everyday and just trying to finish it up...I'm just so happy with the response,” Lipa told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in a new interview. “And I actually can't believe how much people like ‘Physical'. Not because obviously I don't believe in the song, like I love the song and it's my baby, but I also felt like...it's so in your face. I didn't think everybody would be into it.”
Listen to “Love Again” below.