From the very introduction of For All We Know, NAO uses her lush voice to entrance you. Her vocals embrace you like the first warm blanket placed upon a newborn child. It gives you a sense of safety and newness. She is saying, “Trust me! You are going to love this musical journey, and you are going to love me!”. To which I say, “Yes!”.
I reviewed NAO in concert, and she mystified me with vivid theatrics and simple grace. She has a powerful presence and uses music as a strategic, artful platform into her soul. To her, the stage is a foundation for revelation on her innermost thoughts and sentiments, and, luckily, she uses For All We Know to do the same. Admittedly, I had a hard time reviewing this album because it was so immediately likable. My whole review can be pretty much be summed into this statement, “Amazing! Buy it NOW!”.Yet, you want to know the flavors and unique stylings of artists, and NAO has so many to enjoy. For All We Know is so cleanly and clearly good that I promise every reader it will land on their Top 5 albums of 2016. After hearing this album, NAO feels like my “go-to” for good music. Her fantastical, high quality rhythms hug her illustrious, soft voice like a pair of eternal lovers embracing.
After a hypnotic opening, NAO asserts that you will dance and feel blissfully good through Get To Know Ya. The track introduces the electric 90’s R&B/80’s funk feels that run throughout this masterpiece, and will turn NAO into a female, Millennial version of Prince. This track, like many of this album, is destined for the club. It surges with a sultry confidence that will make any listener want to call his or her friends and say, “Get Ready! We are going OUT!”. Tracks like, Happy and Trophy, continue the “bumping” bassline of this album to solidify it is one of the most danceable records of 2016. I can picture everyone listening to Feels Like (Perfume) on their way to work, and finding it impossible not to smile and sway. Even as I write this review, I am clapping and moving to the rhythms of Give Me A Little; another song that elaborates the more sensual undertones of NAO’s voice. Beyond the synthetic beats sophisticatedly made to enter your body, NAO’s vocals were created to take over your mind and heart. She creates songs that are not about being sexy with your body but empowered by it. Hence, the sultriness of her songs feel like an inner confidence booster telling every young man and woman, “Put on your nicest outfit, and feel gorgeous!”. The album is truly a wondrous. whimsical journey into unadulterated joy. Yet, NAO does know how to bring down the soul mix to summon quieter spirits.
Songs like, Blue Wine and In the Morning are beautiful and heartbreaking. They show NAO’s capacity to embody the brokenness of a love stricken heart. Both tracks are piercingly vulnerable. While Blue Wine seems like an ode to “pretty” with oceanic, sonic waves running throughout, In The Morning is a powerful, gut-wrenching declaration that love cannot conquer all. Sometimes, you “got to let him go”. This entire album was made with a love and intelligence, which can be experienced in each track’s ability to stand alone as a #1 hit.
I am so genuinely happy for NAO. In concert, she seemed like a bright, humble soul, and I am sure she will relish the merited applause this album will gain. It is one of the few albums I have heard where I cannot even make a list of favorite tracks. They were all magnificent and can enliven any moment or mood in your day. I am proud to say NAO has gone beyond living up to her “new artist” hype. After For All We Know, she is not just “another singer”. She has elevated herself into an “Angel of Music”. Congrats!
NAO’s For All We Know will be released on July 29, 2016. Click HERE for mor information on the artist and to buy the album.