The Nottingham-born, Grammy-nominated Nao has her work reduce out on the subject of following the beautiful ‘Saturn’. A serene, business physique of labor, that second album noticed her easy and uniquely pitched vocals assume their inimitable place within the worlds of R&B and pop music. Nao has skilled rather a lot up to now three years, from turning into a mom to struggling extreme burnout. ‘And Then Life Was Stunning’ captures a way of therapeutic, and gives hope.
The opening title observe is paying homage to the soulful age of early 2010s R&B, when stars reminiscent of Elle Varner thrived on bluesy chords and deeply emotional lyrics. Nao offers us a second to catch ourselves: “Right here’s a second simply to consider, take into consideration all that’s you / Take a second simply to breathe it out”. The observe utilises fluttery mandolin loops like these heard on ‘Pink + White’, a observe from Frank Ocean‘s second album ‘Blonde’; Nao has cited the report as an inspiration for her natural and extra acoustic sound this time round.
Chatting with NME about this subtly exploratory album, she not too long ago defined: “It’s an opportunity to discover your individual voice, your individual musicality and songwriting. It’s an opportunity for me to check out a load of various kinds.” Certainly, she takes it upbeat with the afrobeats-inspired ‘Antidote’, that includes Nigerian rising afropop famous person Adekunle Gold. With its infectious sound, glockenspiel chimes and hissing shakers, it’s one to be taught for when Nao goes again on the street.
What she does finest on this report – in a departure from her earlier work – is evoke the sultry nature of jazz. That is nowhere extra evident than on ‘Good Luck’, that includes rising R&B legend Fortunate Daye; it’s an ideal male-female ballad, the duo sustaining their airs and graces as if in courtship. ‘Girl’ exudes a smoky Motown really feel, as Nao and neo-soul singer Lianne La Havas craft a cool, empowering observe for the women. “If God is a girl, on Sundays I’m’a worship us,” La Havas sings.
At the beginning of her profession, Nao performed round with digital synths, earlier than shifting to the extra business pop-R&B of ‘Saturn’. With this album, there’s a deeper appreciation for the style. ‘And Then Life Was Stunning’ really is a real celebration of R&B, but – regardless of its nostalgic nods – Nao has nonetheless created a report that doesn’t sound like anybody else. If you’ll want to do some soul-searching your self, this soulful report is an efficient place to begin.
Launch Date: September twenty fourth
File Label: Little Tokyo Recordings