We’re just shy of a year since NAO stepped back onto the scene and into our hearts with the single and video for “Woman” featuring fellow British soul sister Lianne La Havas. But over the past few months, she’s increased her output dramatically. June brought the single “Messy Love,” then “And Then Life Was Beautiful” dropped in July and now she’s debuted her newest entitled “Wait.” Sure enough, all these back-to-back drops are leading up to NAO’s forthcoming third album, And Then Life Was Beautiful, and she’s finally shared the release date and tracklist.
The project’s title track reflects on the past year and all the struggle and strife that came with it. “Change came like a hurricane / 2020 hit us differently,” she sings, hitting us with the truth from the first lyric. As devastating as the global pandemic has been (and is unfortunately nowhere near over), NAO’s optimism cuts through the clouds like sunshine on the chorus. “And then life was beautiful / Feel the waves ’til we rise / And then life was beautiful / A beautiful life,” she shares with a smile in her voice.
On “Wait,” NAO slows things down to have some real talk with her man. “We’re emotional, but we’re worth it all,” she sings, summing up the track. They need to take a moment, step back, breathe and look at their relationship for what it is and what it could be. This message is delivered atop a barebones sound bed of piano and strings. While NAO has said that her fans probably haven’t heard her this stripped-down, the track is very naturally her. The song would feel right at home with some of her other works, such as “Orbit” and “Saturn.”
The music video for the track is equally minimalistic. NAO, naked, with just her sweetest parts hidden by flowers, foliage and the pitch black of the set, bares her soul. It’s a simple visual but executed extremely well. Each scene feels like an old-school velvet painting come to life.
And Then Life Was Beautiful is due for arrival on September 24th. The project features the aforementioned tracks and previously released single “Antidote” featuring Adekunle Gold and will include additional guest appearances from Lucky Daye and serpentwithfeet. Considering everything we’ve heard from the album thus far, we’re positive that we’re in for another masterpiece from NAO.
NAO And Then Life Was Beautiful tracklist:
1. And Then Life Was Beautiful
2. Messy Love
3. Glad That You’re Gone
4. Antidote (feat. Adekunle Gold)
5. Burn Out
7. Good Luck (feat. Lucky Daye)
8. Nothing’s For Sure
9. Woman (feat. Lianne La Havas)
10. Better Friend
11. Postcards (feat. serpentwithfeet)
12. Little Giants
13. Amazing Grace