"New Rules" is a tropical house, EDM and electropop song with a drum and horn instrumentation. In the lyrics, the singer states a list of rules to get over a former boyfriend. It has received positive reviews from music critics, with many of them labelling it as a break-up and female empowerment anthem. It reached number one in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Ireland, Israel and Romania, while peaking within the top ten in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and several other countries. "New Rules" became the singer's third entry and first top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number six.
An accompanying music video for the song was directed by Henry Scholfield and premiered through Lipa's YouTube account on 7 July 2017. It shows the artist staying in a hotel room with her friends, who prevent her from getting back together with her former boyfriend. The visual gained the attention of many music critics, who commended its themes of female empowerment. It was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Choreography at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. The track's commercial success has been attributed to the popularity of the music video. Lipa has performed "New Rules" during awards ceremonies such as the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards and the 2018 Brit Awards, and also included it on the set list of her tour, The Self-Titled Tour (2017-18).
Dua Lipa performing in 2017
"New Rules" was written by Caroline Ailin, Emily Warren and its producer Ian Kirkpatrick during a writing camp for English girl band Little Mix. Kirkpatrick also engineered and programmed the track, while Chris Gehringermastered it and Josh Gudwin mixed it.
According to Warren, she was told in the early years of her career to never write a song where the male partner will not "get it", but later stopped following that because she thinks the "best writing" happens when she stops worrying about what to do and just expresses herself. She added that she applied this approach with "New Rules", whose lyrics were inspired by Ailin's struggles with the temptation of getting back together with a former boyfriend. The song was passed down by a few artists, including one who thought it did not have a notable hook.
In January 2017, Lipa announced through her Facebook account that she was postponing the release of her eponymous debut studio album to 2 June of that year in order to record more songs. After this, she traveled to Los Angeles, California, where Kirkpatrick played her "New Rules" and she recorded it. When asked about the fact that she did not write the song after saying in past interviews that she preferred to write her own music, Lipa stated that her perspective had changed and that:
I still take a lot of pride in being able to write my own songs. My story's coming from me. But 'New Rules' is a song that I felt like I had been in the room and written. I'm so close with Emily [Warren] and Caroline [Ailin] and Ian [Kirkpatrick], who had worked on it, that I feel like it was a song they had written with me in mind. I'm proud of it as if I had been in that room. I just feel so closely to it. I guess I don't have that perspective anymore. But like I said, I still love writing everything. And I'm still going to do it. But it's a song that I feel like I can relate to on a personal level, that I also feel that when I do perform it, it becomes mine and I embody it in a different way.
Composition and release
"New Rules" has been described as a tropical house, EDM, and electropop song with elements of bashment, featuring a drum and horn instrumentation. According to the digital sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Faber Music, the song is composed in the key of A minor, and has a tempo of 116 beats per minute. Lipa's vocals span from the low note of A3 to the high note of E5. In the lyrics, the singer sets a list of rules to prevent her from getting back together with an ex-boyfriend. The rules are: "One: Don't pick up the phone, you know he's only calling 'cause he's drunk and alone / Two: Don't let him in, you'll have to kick him out again / Three: Don't be his friend, you know you're going to wake up in his bed in the morning."  Lipa confessed in an interview with NPR that "[t]hey're not necessarily rules I've been able to stick by. But [they're] rules that I feel like it's important to be able to tell yourself, to tell your friends... There's a reason people break up, and it's probably the same reason why you shouldn't get back together." Warren explained through an annotation on website Genius that the track was a self-reminder for people recovering from a break-up to not succumb to a momentary temptation since it is not "a good idea in the long term".
Talking about the song, the artist explained that "'New Rules' is quite different to a lot of tracks on the album. I wanted it to feel very new [...] It's the breakup song that I wish I had when I was breaking up with someone" and that "It's about keeping your distance from someone who's bad for you. I'm setting some rules down so [that I] won't go back to that person." "New Rules" was sent to contemporary hit radio in the United Kingdom on 15 July 2017 as the album's sixth single. It impacted the same format in the United States on 22 August 2017. Three days later, a remixed version by Australian DJAlison Wonderland was released on iTunes.
"New Rules" received mostly positive reviews from music critics. AllMusic's Neil Z. Yeung called it a "house-inflected shine" in which Lipa makes "a cautionary list". Writing for Clash, Alex Green felt tracks like "New Rules" demonstrate "exactly why critics picked Lipa out as one to watch [the previous year]." Dayna Evans of The Cut labeled it a "breakup anthem", while Melinda Newman of Billboard considered it a "female-empowerment anthem". Anjali Raguraman of The Straits Times also called the song a "breakup anthem" and an "addictive, horn-laced pop tune", adding that, "The track, with its slick production and stellar vocals, oozes self-confidence and sass." Ben Hogwood of musicOMH stated that the song had themes of "assertiveness and outright feminine power" and that it felt more convincing than "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" (2016). Beat Media's Ryan Cole commended the recording's lyrics, and considered the production its "most distinctive element". Rachael Scarsbrook of Renowned for Sound opined that "'New Rules' and 'Begging' make sure the upbeat melodies continue long into the final moments of Lipa's record, the album may almost be over but the party is just beginning."
Larisha Paul of Baeble Music deemed it as an "absolute banger" and a "timeless song". On his review of the album, Sebas E. Alonso of Spanish website Jenesaispop noted that "New Rules" had influences of the music of the 1990s. Alonso further included the track on his list of the best songs of 2017, calling it a "summer hit". Hannah J Davies of The Guardian stated that it was "infused with EDM and tropical house without sounding too consciously trend-chasing", while Luke Holland of the same publication called it the track of the week and praised the lyrical content, though he further stated that "disposable pop is now actually this good". In a more negative review, DIYs Alim Kheraj stated that the song "is a flat tropically-tinged empowerment track that already sounds dated."Billboard editor Patrick Crowley ranked it at number four on his list of the best gay anthems of 2017, while Raisa Bruner of Time selected it as the best song of the year, writing that, "'New Rules' works so well because it's both stylish and layered: As an escapist fantasy of girl-power, it's a triumph, but as a rallying cry to buck the status quo, it's even better." Other publications that included the track among their lists of the best songs of 2017 were Entertainment Weekly,Esquire, and The New York Times. "New Rules" won the Best Single Award at the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards in 2017. It was also nominated for the British Single accolade at the 2018 Brit Awards, but lost to "Human" by Rag'n'Bone Man.
The track's commercial success has been attributed to the popularity of its music video. In the United Kingdom, "New Rules" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 75, on the issue dated 14 July 2017. On the week of 4 August, it reached the ninth position, becoming her third top ten on the chart, after "No Lie" and "Be the One". Two weeks later, it rose to number one, becoming Lipa's first chart-topping song in the United Kingdom. In doing so, it also became the first song in almost two years by a female solo artist to reach the top, since "Hello" by Adele in 2015. It remained at number one the following week, and was certified two-times Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 2 February 2018. In Ireland, it spent eight non-consecutive weeks at number one on the singles chart. In the Netherlands, it reached number one on both the Dutch Top 40 and Single Top 100 charts for the week ending 16 September 2017. The song also topped the Flemish Ultratop 50 in Belgium, making it her second number-one single in the territory after "Be the One" reached number one in March 2016. "New Rules" further peaked within the top ten in Finland, Germany, Norway, and Sweden.
In the United States, after spending two weeks on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, "New Rules" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 90, becoming her third entry on the ranking, after "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" and her collaboration with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix "Scared to Be Lonely" (2017). The track later peaked at number six, becoming Lipa's first top 10 hit in the United States; it also became Lipa's third number one on the Dance Club Songs chart. "New Rules" also topped the Pop Songs chart for four weeks in February 2018. On the list dated 23 June 2018, it spent its forty-second week, becoming the track with the most weeks on the chart. "New Rules" has been successful in Oceania. On the report dated 29 July 2017, it debuted at number 46 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart. In its ninth week on the chart, it reached number two. The track entered the New Zealand Top 40 Singles chart at number 26 on the report dated 7 August 2017. On the week of 11 September, "New Rules" reached the third position. It was certified double-platinum by the Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ) for sales of 60,000.
"[I wanted to] show [in the music video for "New Rules"] that you and your friends are kind of helping each other. Your friends are the rules, they are the ones that are preventing you from making a mistake with this guy".
--Lipa talking about the music video's themes.
The music video for "New Rules" was directed by Henry Scholfield, who also shot Lipa's previous visual, "Lost in Your Light". The singer invited Scholfield for a cup of tea in London in order to discuss her ideas for the clip. Lipa had saved a picture of model Naomi Campbell holding another woman in her back during a campaign in the 1980s as a "reference point", explaining that, "I loved the idea of girls looking after each other like that, holding each other, that sense of humility, that sense of strength." Lipa also had the idea of including a group of flamingos into the clip, as she considered them a good representation of female friendship. The director contacted Teresa Barcelo to choreograph the dance routine and bring that "narrative of togetherness and empowerment" into it. Barcelo also took inspiration from the flamingos' movements while planning the choreography. More than 200 women auditioned for the video, with eight being selected.
The filming took place in June 2017 at The Confidante, a hotel located in Miami Beach that is part of the Unbound Collection brand by Hyatt. Hyatt's vice president of global brands, Sandra Micek, stated that the collaboration between the artist and the hotel made sense to her because "[The Confidante's] inspiration and its name came from the notion of being a trusted friend". Regarding the shooting, Scholfield commented that the camera was quite near during the dance routines, in order to film more uninterrupted single takes. During an interview with NPR, Lipa commented that, "What I wanted to convey in this video is the unity and togetherness of women supporting each other, helping each other and looking after each other in a situation." The visual premiered through Lipa's YouTube account on 7 July 2017. After this, Hyatt released two behind-the-scenes clips of the shooting.
Lipa (far left) and her on-screen friends on the music video for "New Rules". The women are holding each other during the sleepover scene. The clip has been praised for its themes of female empowerment and friendship.
The video starts with a shot of the outside view of The Confidante hotel and two flamingos. In the next scene, and in the context of the track, Lipa is lying on a bed, thinking of giving her ex a second chance, while her friends are by her side. As the song continues, the artist heads towards the phone to answer his call, but is stopped by one of her friends. Then, she keeps receiving advice from the women, but manages to escape to the hallway. There, they perform a choreography, and return to the room. In the next scenes, the women start a sleepover, brushing each other's hair and applying lipstick on each other. They change their outfits and head towards the pool, where they walk over the water.
After the song's bridge, one of the women makes plans of reuniting with her former boyfriend, but is stopped by Lipa, who gives her the advice she received at the beginning of the visual. After this, the group perform a choreography in front of the pool, in which they pull "each other in closer, in an unbreakable ring of limbs". This is Lipa and Scholfield's favorite scene, with the latter stating, "That wrapped up the whole story for me. The viewer is on the outside, but that choreography pulls you into them, and makes you a part of that connection, too." The video ends with the women standing in front of the pool, with the camera turning upside-down and then showing a group of flamingos at the same location.
After the release of the music video, Lipa debuted on BillboardSocial 50 chart at number 26. It was nominated for the British Music Video of the Year accolade at the 2018 Brit Awards, but lost to "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles. In February 2018, the clip surpassed one billion views on YouTube, making Lipa the youngest female artist to accomplish that. As of June 2019[update], it has received over 1.8 billion views on the website, and is one of the site's 50 most-viewed videos. The music video for "New Rules" gained many positive reviews from critics, who praised its themes of female empowerment. Aliza Abarbanel of Refinery29 commented on the visual, "'New Rules', and all the epic outfits in it, perfectly encapsulates the joy of female friendship--and the joy in getting dressed up together."Papers Claire Valentine labelled it Lipa's "strongest video so far." Hafeezah Nazim of Nylon called it "a empowering visual", while New Statesman writer Anna Leszkiewicz described it as a "colourful and acutely choreographed video", as well as considering it one of the best clips released in July 2017. Alessia Scappaticci of The Loop praised the visual's themes of self-esteem, diversity and friendship, adding that it "definitely deserves all of the positive attention it's been getting". T.L. Stanley of Adweek noted that in the plot, the women are "standing together, mirroring a current trend in pop culture and entertainment that shows women supporting each other (catfights are so yesterday)." BBC reporter Mark Savage wrote that the video is "unquestionably brilliant" and should have won British Video of the Year at the 2018 Brit Awards.
The music video also received positive comments from artists like Lorde, Charli XCX and Tegan and Sara through their respective Twitter accounts. On 12 July 2017, Lipa thanked her fans for the visual's popularity, and recommended them to use the hashtag #DuasNewRules when uploading covers of the track in order to include them on a compilation video. The next day, Filmmaker Jake Wilson uploaded a gay parody of the music video using the hashtag, which drew the attention of some blogs and the artist herself. On 4 August 2017, the singer released the compilation video of covers and parodies of the song and the visual on her YouTube account. Owen Myers of The Fader praised the female-empowerment themes of the clip, and furthermore commented on its importance on Lipa's career, stating that, "The release of 'New Rules' gave Lipa something else that until then mostly eluded her: credibility. She has often talked in interviews about her feminist beliefs, and taking pride in her involvement with every aspect of her music."
Dua Lipa performing "New Rules" during The Self-Titled Tour in 2018.
On 3 February 2018, Lipa sang "New Rules" and "Homesick" on Saturday Night Live. Alex Robert Ross of Noisey reviewed positively the performance, calling it "ultimately professional" and praising Lipa for her vocal rendition. Ten days later, she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she performed "New Rules" accompanied by a group of dancers wearing sleepwear similar to that of the music video. The next day, Lipa sang an acoustic version of the track on BBC Radio 1s Live Lounge segment. On 14 February, the artist performed "New Rules" and "IDGAF" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The performance was not aired until 19 March 2018, around the time the singer cancelled two shows in Australia to remove her wisdom teeth. This led journalist Richard Wilkins, thinking the performance occurred on the air date, to accuse the singer of lying on Nine News. Lipa responded through her Twitter account, indicating the difference between the dates and stating that she was still recovering from the surgery in Australia. Although Wilkins apologised, the artist later told KIIS FM that she have found his comments "dangerous" and "really upsetting". The singer performed "New Rules" during the 2018 Brit Awards on a summer-styled stage, moments after winning the British Female Solo Artist accolade. Billboards Rachel George deemed the performance as "girl-power inspired". Lipa's appearance helped her eponymous debut studio album, which had previously peaked at number five, to reach number three on the UK Albums Chart. On 20 May 2018, the artist performed "New Rules" at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Six days later, Lipa sang the track as part of a medley of her most successful songs during the opening ceremony of the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final in Kiev, Ukraine.
^"Media Forest - Weekly Charts. Media Forest. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018. Note: Romanian and international positions are rendered together by the number of plays before resulting an overall chart.
^"Media Forest - Weekly Charts. Media Forest. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2018. Note: Select 'Songs - TV'. Romanian and international positions are rendered together by the number of plays before resulting an overall chart.