UK markets close in 3 hours 35 minutes
  • FTSE 100

    7,212.05
    -21.98 (-0.30%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    22,948.23
    -36.01 (-0.16%)
     
  • AIM

    1,235.19
    +6.09 (+0.50%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1841
    +0.0056 (+0.48%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3728
    +0.0051 (+0.38%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    44,353.48
    -388.14 (-0.87%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,421.57
    +46.35 (+3.37%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,471.37
    +107.57 (+2.47%)
     
  • DOW

    35,294.76
    +916.96 (+2.67%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    83.57
    +1.29 (+1.57%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,763.30
    -5.00 (-0.28%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,025.46
    +474.56 (+1.66%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    25,409.75
    +78.75 (+0.31%)
     
  • DAX

    15,495.25
    -92.11 (-0.59%)
     
  • CAC 40

    6,673.38
    -54.14 (-0.80%)
     

Nao: And Then Life Was Beautiful review – soaring to new heights

·1-min read

Last year was tricky. To the global pandemic add a major breakup and a baby – events that shaped And Then Life Was Beautiful, a gamechanging third album by this Grammy- and Mercury-nominated soul singer. Since her debut in 2016, Nao has combined aerated, spun-sugar tones – think Aaliyah, but with east London glottal stops – with eclectic backings.

ATLWB feels like a step up, detailing an emotional journey that refreshes tired tropes with hard-won insight and musical self-assurance. Not settling for unhappiness is the theme of album taster Messy Love. Even better is the 90s-leaning Glad That You’re Gone, which piles heavenly harmonies on to Nao’s deceptively featherlight vocal. Tremulous strings and a restrained guitar solo add to the feeling of classy unconventionality here.

Eager to pick and mix source material, she is bang on trend with a mainstream-facing Afrobeat track – Antidote, featuring the Nigerian high life singer Adekunle Gold – in which the optimism of new parenthood powers a love song. Even the album’s obligatory piano ballad – Wait – manages to dodge cliche. Nao’s voice slips down from a celestial soprano into her lower register without grandstanding, echoing the album’s unshowy skilfulness.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting