Behind the Meaning of Dua Lipa’s “Maria”

Not everyone wants to think about their partner’s last relationship, but not Dua Lipa. The Radical Optimism singer says as much in her recently released song, “Maria.” Maria, I know you’re gone / But I feel ya when we’re alone, she sings. Why does Lipa feel the remnants of her partner’s last relationship? Uncover the meaning behind this track, below.

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Behind the Meaning of Dua Lipa’s “Maria”

I’ve had love, but his is the deepest, yeah
Says he’ll never leave, he means it too, yeah
Ooh, I owe it to you

Lipa has no problem giving thanks to her partner’s ex-lover. It’s not only a healing track, but a self-empowered one. It takes a confident woman to feel comfortable acknowledging how a previous girlfriend shaped their current partner.

Maria, I know you’re gone
But I feel ya when we’re alone
Even when I’m here in his arms
I know you’re somewhere in his heart

Maria is one of Lipa’s most candid and introspective tracks. While the song still makes use of Lipa’s trademark floor-filling beat, Lipa lets herself go far deeper than ever before. I’m better too from the ones that I’ve lost / Now he is everything I’d ever want, she sings.

The feeling Lipa sings about in this track is surprising even to her. Never thought I could feel this way, she sings. When considering the album title, Radical Optimism, this song seems to be the thesis of that idea. It takes a truly optimistic person to find the positive in the negative–especially when it comes to relationships.

Never thought I could feel this way
Grateful for all the love you gave
Here’s to the lovers that make you change
Maria, Maria, Maria

Check out this track, below.

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for TIME)

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