With ‘Swan Song,’ Dua Lipa Pays Homage To Legendary AIDS Activists

Audiences got their first taste of the “Alita: Battle Angel” soundtrack last week, when Dua Lipa released “Swan Song.” 

The midtempo track is a defiant anthem of self-empowerment. Its video, which takes visual cues from the forthcoming film, shows Lipa traversing a dystopian landscape in steampunk warrior mode. 

“I won’t stay quiet, I won’t stay quiet, ’cause staying silent’s the same as dying,” the two-time Grammy nominee sings. “This is not a swan song.” 

Lipa, who wrapped her 2018 Self-Titled Tour in Colorado last month, wrote about the impetus for “Swan Song” on social media on Sunday. The pop star noted that Alita “fights for the rights of marginalized people” and said the track was largely inspired by ACT UP, a global advocacy group that formed in 1987 in response to the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis. 

“Hopefully we all find a part of ourselves in Alita’s character and see that we mustn’t ever quit our battle against the injustices of the world,” she wrote. “Even in the hardest moments we must speak up.” 

ACT UP has influenced the way doctors interact with HIV-positive patients, and it played a key role in the development of antiretroviral drugs that slow the progress of AIDS. The organization’s early days were the subject of the 2012 documentary “How to Survive a Plague.” 

Exactly how “Swan Song” will tie into the plot of “Alita: Battle Angel” remains to be seen. The film, written by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez, is based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga and follows cyborg Alita (played by Rosa Salazar) as she discovers her unique fighting powers.   

But the track likely hints at the direction Lipa will take on the follow-up to her 2017 self-titled debut album, which is slated to drop later this year. 

Watch the full “Swan Song” video below. 

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