I fell in love with Nao in the summer of 2016, when ‘Fool to Love’ was all I could play. Naturally, I was really excited for the release of Saturn, and sure enough, the electronic-soul goddess did not let me down.
Saturn has everything an audience wants in a second album; it has all the funky electronic goodness Nao fans loved about her debut album For All We Know, while exploring new territory.
While the songs ‘Don’t Change’ and ‘Another Lifetime’ show off her unique voice and impressive range, this album shows Nao as a producer first and foremost. Her ability to blend funk, soul, R&B and to make electronic music that doesn’t rely on danceability makes her one to watch, with standouts like ‘Curiosity’ showing instrumental beauty on par with artists like Flume.
Lyrically, Saturn can be described as a break-up album, and yes, it could be said that this trope has been done to death. But if you think that there is nothing else to say about losing love, think again: against a backdrop of smooth soul-driven R&B, Nao explores not only the theme of love but the feeling of post-break-up transformation.
The album’s title comes from the idea of the ‘Saturn return’, which is known as a period of transformation in your late twenties and early thirties. The record itself sounds like it came from outer space, and Nao uses the idea of the cosmic to explore periods of change. Opening with “I hope you find your way, sorry we couldn’t make it”, she sets up an album that is driven by her honest and original point of view. From ballads to bops, Nao captures the pain of realising a relationship is not meant to be, and the hope that can be found in exploring what else is out there.
But while being lyrically meaningful, Saturn also has no shortage of feel-good songs, with tracks such as ‘Love Supreme’ and ‘Yellow of the Sun’ providing the summertime feeling I desperately need as we approach the end of the year. As far as second albums go, Nao has knocked it out of the park.