Nao has been a smash hit on the UK scene and it’s hard to believe that three years have passed since her second album, Saturn, hit the scene and brought her a Mercury prize and a nomination for a Grammy too.
And Then Life Was Beautiful is not a retread of the themes and musical conventions of Saturn but instead, it strikes its own tone. This is pretty impressive when you consider that for 9 months of this year, Nao was also pregnant.
“Maybe we should stay / I know that it’s worth it if we stay / the only way to feel it is to break / trying to run away is only human / but if we stay then we might make it home”, she sings on “Wait” which is possibly the best ballad track of the year.
Most of all this album is about healing and she extends the opportunity to the listener on the title track when she offers, “Here’s a moment just to think about, think about all that is you / Take a second just to breathe it out”.
But most of all, it’s her clever blend of jazz sounds into her R&B style that makes this album really stand out and it doesn’t sound like any other R&B album this year, it’s hers, it’s unique and it’s the ideal companion for some personal introspection.
You can grab a copy online here.